Monday, January 23, 2012

Keller Hotel

Keller Hotel, originally uploaded by margotwood.

After I got back to NYC from my Thanksgiving Day adventures with the big sis in Kansas City, it was an unusually warm Sunday afternoon in the Big Apple. I decided to take a long stroll from 34th Street and 9th Ave all the way down the West Side and then cut over to my East Village apartment.

(For those of you who don't live in the city, that's about a 50 block walk or close to about 4 miles.)

Anyways, I was strolling down the West Street highway which is a cesspool for abandoned buildings (and not-so-awesome Frank Ghery buildings) and I found this gem of a hotel.

Most of you know that I adore abandoned buildings, especially ones with their original signage. So naturally I spent a decent amount of time trying to capture this mysterious building. I took about 100 shots but this one was my favorite angle and the lighting was just right for editing.

When I finally got around to editing (last night!) I decided to do a little digging and find out what this place is. As it turns out it was once known as the Keller Hotel.

I found an amazing in-depth article on it in the New York Times (full link here) but here's the gist of what this place is:

"The hotel, built in 1898 as sailors’ lodgings, was one of many such places that once lined the West Side waterfront, offering a clean, safe alternative to the dens of ill repute that beckoned the unwary seafarer. It operated for decades but eventually became a single-room-occupancy hotel, and then a welfare hotel, before closing about 15 years ago.

Since then it has stood vacant, its ground floor marred by boarded-up windows and an accretion of graffiti, metal grills and faux stone cladding, though its lovely upper stories remain untouched. An early-20th-century sign — an Edward Hopper touch — hangs on the corner, announcing in faded capital letters, “Hotel.” The ghosts of the past breathe deeply here."

For anyone that is a history buff, particularly NY history I really hope you appreciate this photo. Any for anyone that isn't a history buff, well, I hope you enjoy it too.

Post Process: Black and White, played around with contrasts to get it just right, very slight vignette, increased detail sharpening.


  1. So cool! I love that you're sharing the history along with the beautiful photograph.

    Also, side note: isn't it amazing how densely packed NYC is, and yet how much space is abandoned or unused?