At Barrow and West Streets, the Keller Hotel has been standing since 1898. Abandoned and boarded up, it is one of the last relics of the old age to remain along a stretch of Manhattan utterly glazed in luxury glitz.
The building was landmarked in 2007 and a residential conversion was supposed to happen, but it never did.
Now, a green scaffolding wraps around the Keller.
The scaffolding joins white X's in boxes, spray painted by the door to indicate that the building is unsafe, possibly with floors collapsed.
Does that new scaffolding mean work will finally be done on the old sailor's hotel?
If the day of luxury conversion is upon the Keller, it is highly likely that we will lose that beautiful, beat-up old neon sign, a beacon from an Edward Hopper painting to tell us that the city hasn't all gone glam.
Here's the sign when it was new, on the Keller in 1940:
And here's a rare shot from 1975 when the hotel housed Keller's bar, possibly the oldest gay leather bar in the city at that time, opened around 1959.
In the upper right corner, you can see the bottom "EL" of the hotel's sign.
photo by Hank O'Neal