Thursday, July 31, 2008

Ghosts of the Keller Hotel

NYT: "THE KELLER HOTEL, an old seaman’s inn, has seen a few tides come and go. An Irish coal merchant constructed it in the late 1890s along a salty stretch of the Greenwich Village waterfront, at a time when the docks there were some of the busiest in the world. During the Depression, the Keller served as a flophouse for out-of-work sailors, who boozed and brawled in its ground-floor saloon. As the decades passed and economic forces pushed ships toward other ports, the West Side docks rotted, the Village deteriorated and a new clientele moved into the Keller. By the 1980s, the city was housing indigents upstairs, while the downstairs tenant was a gay leather bar, reputedly New York’s oldest. Then, in 1985, a real estate investor named William Gottlieb purchased the property for $1 million."
Since then the Keller has sat vacant while neighboring buildings were granted landmark status. I love the old Keller ruin. Look closely at the fine architectural detail (can you spot the 666?), you can almost smell the ghosts of a thousand lives that passed through the Keller's doors. Reportedly the birthplace of disco, the Village People photographed their debut album cover here. Now, Keller's ghosts whisper as you walk by the corner of West and Barrow, their secrets most likely awaiting the wrecking ball.



13 comments:

kjpweb said...

Weird investment, ain't it? From the looks of it the windows of the 2nd floor a new - stickers still on them.
Talking of a missed opportunity, Mr.
Gottlieb!
Interesting Photos!
Cheers, Klaus

• Eliane • said...

And when renovated, appartments will sell so easily! That $1mio. investment will be quickly recovered.
I agree with you: it's a beautiful building with lovely details. the lamppost has great details too. The 1st floor is a shame.

ken mac said...

Yes, that is a wonderful location. Renovation started a year ago, then stalled.

Fredrik said...

Great pictures and story! There's something about decline I just can't resist. It makes time so concrete.

Ming the Merciless said...

The hotels must have seen some WILD times. Imagine if you were a fly on the wall. :-)

omami said...

great, I love old hotels, wonderful shots!!

-K- said...

Fascinating. Thanks.

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Anonymous said...

Jim Rosenquist said he and artist Ray Johnson used to hang out here in the day.

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