As we reported last month, 2020 has not just beleaguered restaurants and cultural institutions—it's caught up with iconic hotels, too. Now, one of New York City's most iconic properties is the latest victim.
After 96 years, the Roosevelt Hotel, named for President Theodore Roosevelt, will close before the end of the year. "The iconic hotel, along with most of New York City, has experienced very low demand, and as a result, the hotel will cease operations before the end of the year. There are currently no plans for the building beyond the scheduled closing," the hotel’s management said in a statement.
Designed by Beaux-Arts architect George Post in 1924, the hotel was opened by Niagara Falls businessman Frank A. Dudley and operated by the United Hotels Company. Conrad Hilton later purchased the Roosevelt in 1943. Despite owning other properties such as the Plaza Hotel and the Waldorf Astoria, Hilton chose the Roosevelt's presidential suite as his home. Under his ownership, the Roosevelt became the first hotel to have a television in every room.
The hotel has also been the site of numerous contributions to American history throughout the years. Governor Thomas Dewey used the Roosevelt as his 1948 presidential headquarters, and it was also where he incorrectly announced the defeat of Truman. The New Year’s Eve tradition of singing “Auld Lang Syne” began here when Guy Lombardo and his orchestra were broadcasted in 1929.
The Roosevelt Hotel was also a popular backdrop for Hollywood films set in NYC, including "Wall Street," "Malcolm X," "The French Connection," and "Men in Black 3." The hotel was most recently seen in Netflix’s "The Irishman."
After undergoing a $65 million renovation from 1995 to 1997, Pakistan International Airlines, the hotel's former lessee, purchased the hotel in 1999. PIA had originally furloughed most of the hotel’s nearly 500 employees in March but have notified them this week of the Oct. 31 closure.
Sadly, The Roosevelt is far from the only notable COVID-related hotel closure reported in the city. Other hotels that have recently announced their closures include the Omni Berkshire Place in Midtown, the Hilton Times Square Hotel, and the downtown W Hotel.