The hotel is located in Manhattan, New York and a half-block away from Times Square. It was originally financed by a loan to Harris and Percy Uris in May 1929, then chartered by M C Levine on 22nd April 1930. Until 1976 the hotel was known as the Dixie Hotel and it is 24 stories high, when it opened it had 1000 rooms and now has 700. It was incredibly large but the wing on 42nd street has since been demolished.
Thanks to reviews from 2004-2008 the hotel gained notoriety because it was voted the dirtiest hotel in America for those four years in a row, numerous reports on Trip Advisor warned of bedbugs and unsafe conditions. As of 2012 it was still in the process of renovation and mixed reviews are on trip advisor of late with the location being it’s primary bonus but the reviews still seem to show that the hotel’s age and wear still show. I am a little frustrated that I found out about this after I had been, during my visit to New York I am sure I would have convinced my friend from Connecticut that we could have a nose around!
The hotel has seen several owners and so I am going to just pick up on relevant points for interest in regards to this blog. For instance the hotel and bus terminal were sold in March 1932 during the Great Depression to pay off a debt, Roy S Hubbel gained control of it and incidentally died in the hotel in his room October 1932, aged 55.
In 1942 The Carter Hotels corporation took over, they allocated money to it in 1976 for renovation and sign alterations as part of the project to clean up the Times Square area. They then changed the name to fit with the chain of hotels. The bus depot there was in used for 27 years, finally closing July 1957. At the peak it handled 350 buses per day in summer.
April 1942 it got an increase in people using it as a permanent residence, there was a 255 seat theatre there that opened in 1966 and was then used as a nightclub and restaurant. Food was served in the hotels restaurant and amateur magicians would drop in during the 70’s to sit around the “Dixie Round Table” to swap stories and tricks. The theatre is now occupied by the Cheetah’s Gentleman’s Club.
In 1983 the hotel was home for 190 families and in December 1983 it was cited for constantly failing in regulations for health and safety, the city sued the hotel and by 1985 the owner (Truong) was found in contempt of court and ordered to pay out a $10,000 fine. New York City used it as a homeless shelter in June 1984 and the hotels 43rd Street Entrance was in regular use for teenagers and children to gather.
By the end of 1985 the number of families there had been reduced from 300 to 61 and eventually the city moved all of the homeless families from the hotel in 1988. They moved the homeless families because of troubles with plumbing, electricity, security and vermin, yet despite this they continued to try and attract guests to the hotel. In 1990 the Penthouse Hostel operated leases on the 23rd and 24th floors and the hostel sign was barely visible, then in 1998 the hotel was temporarily closed because an emergency fire exit was damaged.
There are a few anecdotes for the hotel, such as the store clerk, Sidney Miller, being arrested for violating an antismut law and was convicted in March 1966. He had an accomplice and the two were printing dirty magazines. In 1980 Darrell Bossett was an unemployed laborer who was arrested in a scuffle with police on the 4th floor. He was then charged with first and second degree murder, along with possession of a weapon, for the shooting of Officer Gabriele Vitale.
Along with this are the deaths, George R Sanders from Brooklyn jumped out of the 14th floor on 13th March, 1931. His body went through the roof of a single story restaurant; he landed at the feet of two customers and the night manager. No doubt scarring them for life! Mr Sanders left a note in his room to identify himself and citing that he was depressed.
Olga Kilbrick committed suicide too October 1931, she was the daughter of a wealthy Brockton, Mass insurance executive and had been staying on the 21st Floor. Police found a Brockton Musical Chorus card, 15 cents in change, her gloves and a pocketbook in her room.
Another suicide was Mr James M Fairbanks, a former office manager and was discovered by hotel employees on the roof of a three story extension, April 1932. He was avoiding a $29,000 embezzlement from his employers, he was staying in Room 2002 that night, and he was due to be sentenced the next day which would have carried a 5-10 year sentence.
September 1941 saw a young man from Wayne, Nebraska meet his end on the 12th floor of the hotel when he fell asleep smoking. The story made headlines because just after he arrived he got a letter from his father saying that he his mother had a premonition of something happening to him. He was found by the hotel employees in a chair with the clothes on his upper body burned completely, he died after being taken to Roosevelt Hospital.
In November 1983 there was a tragedy too, a 25 day old infant was beaten to death by Jack Joaquin Correa, the father and resident. He was charged with murder and child abuse. In 1987 a woman was thrown to her death from a window on one of the top floors and then in July 1999 a clerk murdered a co-worker in a brawl near the front desk.
31st August, 2007 a housekeeper found the body of Kristine Yitref, 33 years old, who was wrapped in plastic garbage bags under a bed in Room 608. Clarence Dean, 35 years old, was a sex offender who was charged with her homicide. “Miss Kris” was a former member of the goth rock group, The Nons, and turned to prostitution to fuel a drug habit, sadly she met her end at Hotel Carter.
That leads me to the whether or not it’s haunted, well it seems that guests think so. A review on Trip Advisor from May 2010 tells you that the place was dirty and the staff weren’t too great either. What they did put was that the elevator would take you to the wrong floor, it might be wiring but happened to others they new, they say that they had a shower and hangers kept swinging uncontrollably and even flew off for some reason. They radio then turned on, they had checked and there had been no alarm set. The customer said that they feel it was haunted.
The second one that I found was from further back in November 2003, so just before all the bad reviews really kicked into the limelight. The customer again mentioned the rudeness of some staff. They had a nicer hotel to start with but wanted to save money and so picked the alternative 2 star, sensibly so they had more to spend on things to do.
The review goes on to say that they felt “creeped out” and they assumed it was just down to it being an old hotel. The guests in the party got very little sleep in four days and when they she did sleep she was awoken to the feeling that someone was there, like they had jumped on the bed with them. Lisa says that two of her friends felt good with the ghost but she felt pretty freaked out. She even felt that she needed to shower with the door open and that she warns people that whilst the hotel was great you needed to be aware of the spooks