Monday, March 14, 2016

Keller Hotel Get Scaffolded

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:

via NYPL

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


Mitch said...

Odd that this was landmarked, as to my eye it doesn't look remarkable, whereas the Lunchbox diner, a building of a sort that is quite few and far between, was allowed to be demolished. I guess I am glad that we aren't getting another glass box here.

Kevin G said...

Wow, that beer-can Christmas tree outside Kellers brings back memories. I remember it well. Kellers was the kind of gay dive bar that doesn't exist today. Rawhide was the last of the breed. Now gay bars are just places where people go to stare and poke at their cell phones, if they go at all.

Brian said...

1. Edward Hopper did not paint direct representations of subjects as far as I know. So that sign is only a hyperbolized Hopper 2. Gottlieb,The prior long time owner really should have taken care of this building and it is his fault it is such a stinker. 3. It is an unremarkable building except that is all that has survived. 4. If it were revitalized into a small affordable apartment building it would be nice. Even though jealousy would reign toward those fortunates who got to live there, no matter how long it would take to get to a subway)

Unknown said...

Fascinating! All the more so after reading the entry about the location of Bob Dylan's "Blonde On Blonde" album cover shot, right across the street and half a block from the Keller: