Monday, February 9, 2009

Elk Hotel

What's going on at the grand old Elk Hotel flophouse on 42nd and 9th Ave?

Grieve virtually visited the place last summer and discovered, via the Times, that "The Elk's miraculous -- some would say unfortunate -- survival stems from a real estate fluke (the building's owner doesn't want to sell)."



The Elk is still standing, but its first-floor businesses have departed. Namely, "Chicken Ribs" and a Dunkin' Donuts. Both have lost their awnings and the windows are covered or gated.

The "For Rent" signs are a good sign for the Elk, but I'm not sure this is the best time for anyone, especially a flophouse, to be looking for retail and restaurants to rent.

*UPDATE: February 13, 2012--the Elk has closed.

52 comments:

EV Grieve said...

Always amazed when a Dunkin' Donuts closes...Anyway, given the global economy, you'd think this might be a good time for the Elk. People looking for a bargain, etc.

Mykola Dementiuk said...

Back in the '70s my somewhat girlfriend slashed her wrists in there. Except for the new building on the left there it looked as decrepit as it did back then.

http://timesqueer.blogspot.com/

Anonymous said...

my mom and her family were in charge of the elk in the early part of the 20th century my mom had one sister, helen coen. she was in the navy, an officer. this day, may 9 back in 1948 she died in bermuda triangle on a pby flying boat with 12 other navy officers. my mom had good memories of a clean and good elk hotel.

Jeremiah Moss said...

thank your for writing about your history with the elk. if you have any stories or photos to share, please do.

Anonymous said...

tomorrow is the 19th of may and the date 70 years ago that my irish grandmother died, mary ellen gunning, former employer of the elk hotel. she came from sligo ireland. she had been here the head cook for the vanderbilts. she was sponsored off the boat at ellis island by them. the gunnings of sligo, ireland often referred to as the irish queens. and actually she was very beautiful. i will send a photo soon. she was a deep relgious woman, and a very hard worker.

Jeremiah Moss said...

thank you--seems like the Elk's history is taking shape

Anonymous said...

how about another history story? james coen the son of my grandmother died on the leopoldville ship Christmas eve 1944 and this was kept secret for decades. about 700 men died on this ship. and the story is much like the intrique of the titanic. a blunder they tried to keep secret, for decades. james coen was a very close friend of fr. frank duffy of the fighting 69th and the pastor of Holy Cross across the street from the Elk Hotel. Even George m. Cohan stayed in that hotel, my mom said. he and my grandfather were good friends!

Anonymous said...

George M. Cohan spent alot of time in the ELK HOTEL on W And, in fact, his residence was in another similar hotel on that street. 42 nd street (my mother told me that her dad and George were good friends) i looked up COHAN and read that he had a special interest in things that were a flop......THIS MEMORIAL weekend those at the elk can have a special pride that George was so often there at this now last flop house of times square!!!!!!(both my mom't only sister and only brother died in military uniform, may they be remembered this memorial day! james coen, and lt. cmder helen marie coen, Thank you.

Anonymous said...

yesterday the last survivor of the Titanic died. James Coen who grew up at the Elk Hotel went into the army. Christmas Eve of 1944 he died off the Coast of France, with about 700 other troops , most of whom were new york city boys! this sinking of the Leopoldville ship reads much like the Titanic story!!!!!!and was an embarrassment to the leadership and so it remained clasified till 1996/ the entire story can be found on the internet!!!!!!Yes the elk hotel had some fantastic residents!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

back to the old ELK memories!!!!The patrick coen family that lived there many decades ago was an interesting family. the only son, james p coen was an avid reader, often with his pile of books sitting on the church steps across the street from the old elk. he didn't bother himself with cheap novels, or books saturated with the obsession of immorality and sex. back then he like many others knew what wholesome books were, quality books! bad books and bad tv can so easily destroy a soul. just looking at photos of his face now one can see a wholesome reflection on his face. this as a result of avoiding things dangerous to his eternal soul. he would weep today for the souls there in NY so saturated with immorality on tv and in magazines. His soul left this world with many other new yorkers on the leopoldlville Christmas eve 1944, kept a govt secret till 1996 out of embarrassment. their last hours on this titanic like sinking were even peaceful, as that was their life-style. yes the elk is a building of HISTORY

Anonymous said...

THANKS for taking all my comments!!It is a mixed blessing that my grandparent's hotel still standing Every poor lost soul staying there in these modern times also had a past heritage too. This wild flying with the passions is blinding them to a focus on their ancestral roots!!!It is sad that the rooms of the Elk Hotel are not clean and shining! When George M. Cohan personally played his music there,, it was only possible, because God was first and foremost in their lives They were not perfect, but they had joy. And they were big donators to the needs of fr. duffy. fr. duffy FED many many families during the Depression. If the Elk walls could talk, they would give a story for June 26, 1932, the day this holy priest died. James Cagney made this a movie Yes there is a STRONG FORCE up above in Heaven now keeping the ELK from the wrecking ball! May these present ELK residents feel the impact of the overflowing graces....

Anonymous said...

prior to getting married mary gunning was the head cook for the vanderbilts. then she and her new husband patrick coen took on the elk hotel!!!!there must of been fantastic cooking their in that kitchen, having cooked for THE vanderbilts.!!!!!sure wish i could ask the vanderbilts if they have her pictures in their arcives. Cooks often play a big role.....!!!!

Anonymous said...

According to my mom there were many many who made the Elk Hotel there first residence when they got off the boat at Ellis Island. So that means this would be of historical interest to their descendants NOW. The only thing most people too busy to realize the fulfillment they could have knowing about their ancestry. So this is another reason why it is indeed a BLESSING that the owner now of the ELK has protected this hotel, from the wrecking ball. The building now may look drab, but with imagination one can see it's beauty. Over and over i heard of the Elk's beauty while growing up in Grosse Pointe Michigan. I almost feel like sending it a care package of new sheets and towels and new laced curtains etc etc. Some time ago i had a dream that the present residents there were totally transformed into the joy of all joys.....

Anonymous said...

How many really know why Duffy Square really called Duffy Square. Each time they say this name they are honoring fr. FRancis Dduffy, a very holy priest whose enormous funeral took place one June day back in 1932 ACROSS THE STREET from The OLD ELK HOTEL. It was one of the biggest funerals ever ever seen in New York City ever!!!!!!!Now adays there iss lots of shame on priests, but when we say Duffy Square we are giving honor to a Holy Priest. To a priest who was passionate about the Sacred Heart of Jesus, passionate about saying the ROSARY. And so it is fitting that New Yorkers today know again the Story of fr. Duffy, and maybe even recite a rosary or have there a ROSARY PROCESSION in his honor. For many are honoring him every time they go to Duffy Square. So lwhy not go all the waay and have a rosary procession and see the miracles come!!!!!!!

Jeremiah Moss said...

hello anon elk hotel historian, thanks for your many comments. i'm happy to approve them, but i'd appreciate if you could limit them to maybe one per month. thanks again!

Anonymous said...

Hi friends... i'm writing you for a little request... how i can book a room in this hotel? i have only found the telephone number but my english speaking is not so fluent.. can someone help me? Thank you! :)

John Pertel said...

The Elk hotel is a small part of this Manhattan story:
http://thr-investigations.com/lebrewjones/

Anonymous said...

i am the so called elk historian. been half a year since made a comment. my aunt who lived there died in bermuda triange. but what amazes me is that that last comment was posted on her birthday. always have observed the mystical with regards to her!!!!!!!her full name helen marie coen. she was just about to deliver a thessis on st. thomas squinas when she met her fate, in active service in the navy as lt cmdr. there also is the mystical in her brother. his birthday is friday nov 20. he died in the Leopodville ship, a top secret for decades. 900 died on board, mostly new yorkers!

Anonymous said...

This is Christmas Eve. This is the nite that the Leopoldville Ship was sank off the Coast of France in 1944, About 700 men perished needlessly on this ship, mostly from NY City This was a secret for decades Among the dead was James P. Coen, who had lived with his family at the Elk Hotel, in its better days. Almost all my life i have thought/remembered the Leopoldville Ship and the lost lives on it. Some, like myself knew the secret long before it was disclosed. Ask James intercession he really does help now!

Anonymous said...

i hope that the Elk Hotel continues to survive into the future. I have given many details on this blog of its past. There were many Irish who stayed there when first immigrated to America. My grandmother who ran that hotel was as i stated an Irish Immigrant. She was sponsored into America by the Vanderbilts. They fancied her and she became their head cook. I just wonder if there is anyway to know if the vanderbilts have pictures of long ago in their residences. It would of been sometime shortly before 1913 that my grandmother served the vanderbilts as head cook, Mary Ellen Gunning. Maybe this question could be addressed to Anderson Cooper, but i wouldn't know how myself.

Anonymous said...

Very interesting stories about the Hotel!! I happened to stay at the Elk, when I came first to NYC in 1997. Very shabby place at the time. The funny thing: The person on duty at the reception, a Mexican or Puertorican, had no idea, what an Elk is..
My question: How come it was called ELK?? Don't you call the big deer animals Moose in the US?
Anyway, I will never forget the place, since I spent my first ever night in the Big Apple there.

Anonymous said...

St Patrick's Day is appoaching. If the walls could talk at the Old Elk now. There was much good irish music played there in that building. People lived there devoted to their faith in God. It was very clean back then because they were God fearing. No doubt great devotions too to Blessed Mother there also. The demons will be driven out at some point and it shall return to a place of great cleanliness and innocence. St. Patrick pray and bless the Old Elk Hotel. The owners were Sligo, ireland people, devoted to Holy Mass

Anonymous said...

i first stayed @ the elk in 1966 when i came back from an overseas army tour. i live in florida now and travel to nyc a couple of times a year. the room rate has gone up to $50 or you can go 1 block east and spend $500/night at the hilton. it is bare bones, but when in nyc saving money is paramount. it it centrally located in the times square area. i have recommended it to my 24 yr. old god-daughter, so it is very safe. it is in the movie "jumper".

Anonymous said...

Helen Marie Coen was a Lt Cmdr in the Navy when she disappeared in the Bermuda Triangle, May 9, Mother's Day, 1948 She was the oldest daughter of the owner of the Elk Hotel, and grew up there in residence at the Old Elk Hotel. Had she not died she was destined it is said to have been the nation's first women Admiral. Though this has been said previous it is interesting this year, for Mother's Day falls again on May 9th A number called her like the Mother of the Navy. She was just about to turn in an awesome paper on St. Thomas Aquinas to Gerogetown Univeristy when death came on a PBY flying boat after leaving Puerto Rico, with 12 other navy men.

Anonymous said...

It is sad how Times Square gets targeted by evil. Remember the FAITH OF THOSE over 75 years ago. It was strong then. And this faith was centered on the Sacred Heart of Jesus. It would be wise to hang this picture up in many places there. IT WORKS It worked for my Grandmother who kept the Old Elk Hotel in perfect order, and CLEAN!!!

Anonymous said...

well today is the day May 19th, the top clleaning lady of the Old Elk passed away to her eternal award!!!!!!! She shined that hotel with always prayers on her breath. I can't help but think of a possible big miracle coming there today, from her. I had one big miracle today, so far! Praised be the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus. Try that sentence and see what good comes!!!!!!!

silverbullet said...

Hey Anon, ask your mom if they ever used tokens at "ELK HOTEL"? I have one with "50" on the back. Just trying to figure out where it belongs. Thanks

Anonymous said...

well tomorrow June 26 is the big anniversary of death of Fr. Francis Duffy. I say big because if you look up the story you will read of NY's biggest funeral ever there, right in front of this old Elk Hotel. If the hote's walls could talk. a real IRISH ceremony and all faiths were in attendance, including planes overhead. History of June 26 should NOT be forgotten. It is well to be connected NOW with this. Rewarding for sure.....

Anonymous said...

Back in 1987 i had a dream in regards to the old Elk Hotel. I was quite impressed. Many many who had been into porno etc were no longer following this but were not in a procession with the Cross at the forefront. How beautiful if that should ever happen there, in Times Square!

Anonymous said...

Those Americans who don't learn their ancestry are more likely to adopt a religion foreign to this nation. And especially if it gives 'instant appeal' THOSE WHO THEN SET A NEW COURSE APART FROM THEIR FAMILY TRADITION are more likely to become less American. NY is steeped in history untapped into by the new movie/tv generations. Knowing of my grandparents prevents me from 'charting new waters'

cecilgrass said...

I have a lot of good (and strange memories of that place) but nowadays when I come back in town on a visit, The Intercontinental is one of the only Times Square hotels I'll stay at.

Anonymous said...

Mary Ellen Gunning who headed the Elk Hotel back in the 1920's was some woman. But if one reads irish history they will see that the name Gunnings in the West Coast of Ireland were a line of Queens. Mary Ellen sure was a beautiful woman, despite all her suffering! Her family tree also came from the famous Spanish Armada. She enabled a number of irish to have a home for a while after they left Ellis island. Somehow they just cannot now knock down the walls of the old Elk Hotel. But were she there now, it would be now sparkling clean. Sad it has fallen into a dirty place. But few see the value of the simple work of housecleaning, for the Glory of God.

The Real Fauxtographer said...

Was so inspired by this blog, that I've decided to sort of "follow you" and snap pics of some of the places you talk about and then edit or present the photos in a way so that they seem as if they were from a time when NYC didn't suck. Here's my latest, and first, examples of the Elk Hotel. I also link back to your blog in the entrance photo:

The Sign: http://bit.ly/grhb3w

The entrance: http://bit.ly/flsuDJ

Jeremiah Moss said...

nice shots. they definitely look like they come from an unsucky time. please add them to the VNY flickr pool so more people can see them. thanks for the stalking.

Anonymous said...

i would think that to preserve the Elk Hotel the NY Historical Society should be pulled in. i am concerned about the place getting torn down.

Anonymous said...

well tomorrow, mary 7, is the tradional feast date of st thomas aquanis. what does that mean here. well lt cmdr helen coen of this elk hotel wrote a thesis on this saint just before the bermuda triangle took her away. i have nothiced that things connected with her happen on feast dates connected to thomas aquinas. so maybe a milestone could be reached tomorrow at the old elk!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Here comes another March 17th. Would be fun for those who love history to read how much fun existed on w 42nd street back in the 20's, and 30's. and the elk hotel was large for the irish immigrants, so it was a time of great laughter and innocence with off people only in the few and the ELK HOTEL SPARKLED IN CLEANLINESS Maybe these days will return after the wear and tear of so much ruin and destruction at the Old Elk Hotel!!!hope and pray so!

Anonymous said...

approaching another aniversary date May 9. this the date that resident OF Elk Hotel, Lt Cmdr Helen Marie Coen died in Bermuda Triangle, 1948 The disappearance of the PBY floating boat with 12 navy officers en route back to wash dc from Puerto Rico disappeared

Anonymous said...

today is the 72nd anniversary of the death of the woman who so faithfully cleaned the old elk hotel, mary ellen gunning, from ireland. GOD REST HER SOUL time for me to put on some good irish music to remember her by. her favorite was THE MASS ROCKS it is now sung by leo mccaffrey, a great irish tenor.

Anonymous said...

interesting choice of word for the elk- last FLOP house. i found this quote on internet regarding george m cohan: he invented a word, called Cohanizing "turning other people's FLOPS into hits" maybe this could happen at the Elk, George called another nearby hotel on 42nd street for a long time his residence. There is a REASON for the 'real estate fluke' of this old hotel i imagine a miraculous CHANGE at the old ELK...

Anonymous said...

Mary Ellen GUNNING OF Collooney, co Sligo, ireland was the woman who kept that hotel shining clean decades ago.. previous to that she was the head cook for the Vanderbilts. Another Gunning of Colloney, cousins/friends, was mary catherine gunning mcquire. Her married name became Colum. In modern Literature she is considered the BEST WOMAN CRITIC IN America, practically created the field of comparative literature.

Anonymous said...

Hello my name is pete, and I'm currently In the elk hotel As I write this . I've been coming here for the last 25 years, and this hotel hasnt changed much.there's a constant stream of prostitution and drugs flowing throughout the building. Ive read some of the things that people have said, and I truly wish that I was around back then to see this hotel at its best. The owners of this establishment, or the people who run this place are very nice and know how to treat people with respect.this place isnt the Plaza , but its clean and affordable.

Jeremiah Moss said...

Pete, thanks for writing in from the Elk. glad to know they're treating you well there and that there are still such affordable spots for people to stay in the city.

Anonymous said...

the best of the irish often left for america. the irish situation in ireland is being sadly exposed such as in documentary: Mad Pride and Behind the Walls. One would think ireland going down the tube. we sure need St Patrick again in Ireland to set things STRAIGHT. The old Elk was filled with the Irish during the great emigration era.

Anonymous said...

All,
Yesterday, a sign was posted on the front door of the Elk Hotel simply saying "Hotel Closed."

Despite the drugs, prostitution, and crime that dominated this hotel since the 1970s, its still sad to see the end of a forgotten NY.

Jeremiah Moss said...

thanks Anon. very sad indeed.

Anonymous said...

if this hotel started in 1925 my mother would of been age 7 when her family moved in there to be the family in charge of this elk hotel. now her mother was very devoted to the Rosary. saturday, the day the closed sign went up was the feast of Our Lady of LOURDEs, ST BERNADETTE OF LOURDES WAS VERY STRONG WITH THE ROSARY. there IS the answer for the Elk's future. look t history of the church of the Holy Cross, across the street from the elk, the streets were packed each week with devotion to the Miraculous Medal, with overflow from the church. the hallowed grounds are now to return to being sacred!!!!!THE ONLY WAY

Anonymous said...

THE BLESSINGS FROM HEAVEN FOR THE OLD ELK HOTEL HAVE NOT VANISHED> THE NEXT CHAPTER IS YET TO BE WRITTEN< FOR THE ELK< I SAW IT ALL IN A DREAM< BEAUTIFUL

Anonymous said...

since my grandmother who ran this hotel was head cook for vanderbilts, maybe the vanderbilts could buy the building and turn it in a place of new york history/museum or the like.

Anonymous said...

what would george m cohan do if he were alive, regarding 42nd st. he invented a word, cohanizing, "meaning other people's flops into hits" well he didn't know when he was living that his special ELK hotel would someday be called Time Squares last flop house! But i think he wouldn't want the building torn down for some cold money maker. i think he would want to hear again the heart beat of his era return to 42nd st as the song he WROTE what to do to get this to happen? pray. and do flyers about the good old past there on 42st. have music on the streets of the old era, have a st patrick's fest that would be innocent and good.

Anonymous said...

well it seems hope is almost gone, but not gone fully yet. people need to light candles and pray to the Mother of God in vigils outside of the old Elk Hotel. prayers will bring the past alive in a new and better way for year 2012 remember st patrick's day is about 2 weeks away, that is who led the irish in early years to laughter and happiness. start involing st patrick and the irish of long ago NOW

Anonymous said...

it is now sept 2012 what finally did happen to the old elk did the building get raised???