Hotel Carter (Manhattan)
view from the east on 43rd Street
|Location||250 West 43rd Street,|
New York, NY 10036
|Owner||Tran Dinh Truong|
|Design and construction|
|Number of rooms||700|
The Hotel Carter was a hotel located near Times Square in Manhattan, New York City. The building is 24 stories tall, and at its opening, had 1,000 rooms, but was later downsized to 700 rooms. Opened in 1930 as the Dixie Hotel, it originally extended from 43rd Street to 42nd Street, although the wing abutting 42nd Street has since been demolished. The hotel has changed ownership numerous times throughout its history. In October 1976, it was renamed the Hotel Carter in an attempt to rehabilitate its image. The hotel closed and was offered for sale in 2014.
While it was operating, the Hotel Carter gained a negative reputation due to the crimes that took place there, as well as its general uncleanliness. At least nine deaths have occurred in the hotel, including four suicides and four murders. In addition, the Hotel Carter had previously been cited as being among America's dirtiest hotels, both by the media and via visitor reviews.
The Dixie Hotel was financed by a $2.2 million loan to Harold and Percy Uris by the New York State Title and Mortgage Company in May 1929. Excavation for the new structure began with the removal of six old tenements from the site in May 1929. Tenements were razed between 250–263 West 43rd Street along with a two-story taxpayer at 241 West 42nd Street. Several floors of steel work were added to the framework by mid-October. It was chartered for $10,000 by M.C. Levine, of 535 5th Avenue, on April 22, 1930. When it opened, the Dixie Hotel contained a thousand rooms (later downsized to 700 rooms).
A bus depot in the Dixie Hotel was opened in February 1930. The terminal handled 350 buses daily during peak summer seasons. The Central Union Bus Terminal had the largest enclosed loading space of any bus terminal in New York. It occupied the main floor of the hotel and was managed separately. It had entrances on 42nd Street and 43rd Street. The loading platform and waiting room were situated five feet below street level. Buses entered and departed utilizing separate ramps. A turntable with a diameter of 35 feet was employed to direct incoming buses to exits. Bus movements were governed by a dispatcher using an electric signaling device. It was called the Short Line Bus Terminal by July 1931. Another business which was located in the hotel was Max Bachner's laundry. It was given a lease for operation in August 1929.
In October 1931 a Federal judge appointed the Irving Trust Company as receiver in the bankruptcy of the Harper Organization, Inc., and Harris H., and Percy Uris, its officers. The defendant corporation owned the Dixie Hotel. James B. Regan, formerly proprietor of the Knickerbocker Hotel, was another appointed receiver.
The hotel and bus terminal were sold in March 1932, during the Great Depression, to pay a debt of $2,058,540. The property was valued at $2.3 million. In April 1932 the Southworth Management Corporation, headed by Roy S. Hubbell, assumed control of hotel operations. Hubbell formerly managed the Hotel Commodore and the Hotel Belmont in New York City. The Southworth Management Corporation was affiliated with William Ziegler Jr. The company had jurisdiction over the site of the demolished Hotel Belmont at 42nd Street and Park Avenue (Manhattan). Hubbell, whose primary residence was in Pelham, New York, died in October 1932 in his bedroom at the Dixie Hotel at age 55. The Carter Hotels Corporation took over management of the business in 1942.
In April 1942 the Dixie Hotel experienced an increase in the number of executives and business couples who selected its quarters as permanent residences. Management responded by redecorating and preparing one-room units for accommodation as living rooms during the day and bedrooms at night. Jacobowitz & Katz, investors, purchased the taxpayer which adjoined the hotel in July 1951. The building, located at 264 West 43rd Street, was formerly occupied by Loft's. The deal was brokered by Harry G. Silverstein. The property had a tax value of $35,000.
Later years and decline
The 255 seat Bert Wheeler Theater opened in the hotel, ten steps above its entrance, in October 1966. Autumn's Here, a musical comedy, was its first attraction. The theater was located in the hotel's Plantation Room. It measured 60 feet in length and 45 feet in width. It was formerly used as a nightclub and later as a restaurant. A circular bar, 50 feet in circumference, adjoined the theater, and was located behind glass doors. It was closed during performances, except for during a twenty-minute intermission. Food was served in the Terrace Room, the hotel's restaurant. In June 1967 Follies Burlesque '67 reopened at the Bert Wheeler Theater, after opening at Players Theater in Greenwich Village. The cast included Mickey Hargitay and Toni Karrol.
Through the mid-1970s, the hotel's restaurant was a daily gathering place for local and visiting professional and amateur magicians for lunch at the "Dixie Round Table" where they swapped tricks and stories. Famous regular visitors included Harry Blackstone, Cardini, and many others. The Carter Theater in the Carter Hotel presented Aesop's Fables in 15 theatrical styles in November 1979. The play was produced by the Theater Workshop and the Broadway-Times Theater Company. The off Broadway musical, Ka-Boom!, debuted at the Carter Theater in November 1980. The space is now occupied by Cheetah's Gentleman's club.
In 1976 the company allocated $250,000 for renovations and sign alteration in an effort to "clean up" Times Square. H.B. Carter, president of the company, wanted to change the hotel's name to give one of the establishments in the chain a corporate identity. The firm controlled four other hotels in Buffalo, New York and Boston, Massachusetts. At this time, the Dixie Hotel was named the Hotel Carter. Vietnamese businessman and former ship owner Tran Dinh Truong purchased the hotel in October 1977. The Carter was described as an establishment which caters to "middle-class tourists [and] has suffered with the decline of the surrounding area."
In December 1983 the Carter Hotel was home to 190 families. That month it was cited for its "consistently low rate of compliance in correcting health and safety violations". The city sued the hotel in 1983 and 1984 for its failure to correct numerous infractions. In March 1985 Truong was found in contempt of court and ordered to pay a $10,000 fine. New York City was using the hotel as a homeless shelter in June 1984. The hotel's 43rd Street entrance became a gathering place for teenagers and young children. By the end of 1985 the Carter had greatly reduced the number of homeless families staying in its rooms. The number of homeless families declined from 300 to 61. The city paid the Carter $62.62 to house a family in a small single room. In one instance the room was musty, with peeling wallpaper, and tattered carpet. The smell in the room was intense. The hotel began to make an effort to attract tourists once again. New York City removed all homeless families from the Carter in 1988 due to difficulties with plumbing, electricity, security, and vermin. In July 1990, the Penthouse Hostel operated with a lease on the 23rd and 24th floors of the Hotel Carter. The hostel sign was barely visible beneath the Carter marquee. Lodgings there provided an alternative to the American Youth Hostels organization.
In December 1998 the hotel was temporarily closed because an emergency fire exit was damaged.
Tran died in 2012, with his surviving family fighting over who got ownership of the hotel. GF Management took ownership of the hotel in April 2013, and the hotel was offered for sale in 2014 after an extensive renovation.
Incidents and issues
Sidney Miller, a store clerk at the Dixie Hotel, was arrested for violating a New York state antismut law during a raid on Square Books, at 584 7th Avenue, in April 1966. His accomplice, Edward Mishkin, was previously convicted of publishing obscene material. His conviction was upheld by the United States Supreme Court in March 1966.
Darrell Bossett, an unemployed laborer, was arrested after a scuffle with police in a fourth-floor room of the Carter Hotel, in December 1980. He was charged with first degree murder and second degree murder and possession of a weapon, in the shooting of New York City Police Department Officer Gabriel Vitale. 
William Lindsay Gresham, author of the noir novel Nightmare Alley, discovering he had cancer of the tongue, checked himself into the hotel known as the Dixie Hotel during that time, and committed suicide in Room 2023 by taking an overdose of sleeping pills on September 14, 1962.
George R. Sanders of Brooklyn jumped from the 14th floor of the hotel on March 13, 1931. His body crashed through the roof of a single story restaurant adjacent to the Dixie. He landed at the feet of two customers and the night manager. He left a note in his room identifying himself and citing mental depression as the reason for killing himself.
Olga Kibrick, daughter of a wealthy Brockton, Massachusetts insurance executive, committed suicide by leaping from the roof of the hotel to a third-floor extension on the west side of the building, in October 1931. She had been staying on the 21st floor. Police found a Brockton Musical Chorus card in her room, along with 15 cents in change, her gloves, and a pocketbook.
The body of James M. Fairbanks, a former office manager of the brokerage firm of Tucker, Anthony, & Co., was discovered by hotel employees on the roof of a three-story extension, in April 1932. Fairbanks committed suicide to avoid being sentenced for embezzling $290,000 from his employers. He was staying in room 2002 the night before he was to have been sentenced for between five and 10 years for that offense.
In September 1941 a young man from Wayne, Nebraska burned to death after falling asleep smoking on the 12th floor of the hotel. The story made headlines when reporters discovered that shortly after his arrival he received a letter from his father. Fredereick S. Berry Jr. was warned by his parent of a premonition his mother had of something dire happening to him. Berry was discovered by hotel employees seated in a chair, with the clothing on his upper body burned completely. He died after being taken to Roosevelt Hospital.
In 1987, a woman was thrown to her death out of a window from one of the top floors after witnesses heard arguing from room 1604.
In July 1999, a clerk who lived at the hotel fatally stabbed and beat a co-worker during a brawl near the front desk.
On August 31, 2007, a housekeeper found the body of Kristine Yitref, wrapped in plastic garbage bags and hidden under a bed in Room 608. Sex offender Clarence Dean was charged with homicide. Yitref, as Mistress Kris, was formerly a member of the goth rock group The Nuns. She had turned to prostitution at the time of her death to support a drug addiction.
On July 22, 2009 the Glenn Beck Program highlighted the reports of the filth and disrepair of the Carter Hotel. Beck covered the reviews that list over 500 very negative reviews. The Bed Bug Registry has listed many reports over several years citing former visitors' experiences with the hotel: Everything from mice and cockroaches to bed bug attacks. In 2011, TripAdvisor.com had Hotel Carter listed as no. 4 on their Top 10 of America's dirtiest hotels, based on reviews and user ratings. The hotel was also mentioned in the USA Today in relation to "winning" the title as the dirtiest hotel in the US in 2009.
In 2013–2014, GF Management made gradual modifications to the Hotel Carter in order to make it more desirable for guests, including increasing the frequency of housekeeping services from every 3 days to every other day; renovating 30 fourth-floor rooms; and replacing mattresses in rooms with reports of bedbugs. Prior to the improvements, the new owners recalled broken elevators; 40-year-old fire extinguishers; unlit emergency exit signs; no weekend doormen; "discarded hospital linens" atop beds; inadequate insurance; and overdue loans, according to The New York Times. As a result of these improvements, the hotel's satisfaction rating rose from 67.6% in 2012 to 73.7% in 2014.
- "Dixie, Off Times Sq., Now the Carter Hotel". The New York Times. 1976-10-23. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-09-06.
- "$2,200,000 Loan to Finance Hotel Dixie, Near Times Square". The New York Times. 1929-05-02. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-09-06.
- "LANDMARKS PASS IN TIMES SQUARE; Clinton Apartment, Home of Artists and Actors, Will Go This Week. OFFICE BUILDING ON SITE Work Also to Start This Month for Tall Hotel In Forty-second Street. Home of Artists and Actors. Business Takes Churches. Broadway Changes". The New York Times. 1929-05-05. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-09-06.
- "New Hotel Operations Reveal Modern Trend for High Buildings; Waldorf on New Site Wil Cover Entire City Block and the New Majestic May Rise to Forty-five Stories--Lexington Hotel Opens This Week". The New York Times. 1929-10-13. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-09-06.
- "NEW INCORPORATIONS". The New York Times. 1930-04-23. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-09-06.
- Oser, Alan S. (1994-02-20). "Hotels in West 30's Recover Their Aplomb". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-09-06.
- "BUS TERMINAL COMPLETED.; Central Union, in 42d Street, to Begin Operations on Friday". The New York Times. 1930-02-12. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-09-06.
- "Dixie Bus Depot Closes Its Doors After 29 Years". The New York Times. 1957-07-02. Retrieved 2017-09-06.
- "354 DEATHS IN NATION IS JULY FOURTH TOLL; CROWDS SET RECORD; Fireworks Kill Only 8, but All Other Causes Take Highest Mortality in Years. RUSH BACK TO CITY HEAVY All Travel Routes Are Jammed as Tired Holiday Throngs Return Home. 1,000,000 AT CONEY ISLAND Business Brisk at All Resorts-- Nine Drown Here in Day and Two Die in Auto Mishaps. Travel Burdens Rail Lines. 270 DEATHS IS TOLL OF JULY 4 IN NATION 1,000,000 Crowd Coney Island. Long Island Traffic Heavy". The New York Times. 1931-07-06. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-09-06.
- "BUSINESS LEASES". The New York Times. 1929-08-15. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-09-06.
- "RECEIVER FOR HOTEL GROUP; Irving Trust to Settle Affairs of Harper Organization, Inc". The New York Times. 1931-10-17. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-09-06.
- "JAMES B. REGAN DIES OP PNEUMONIA; One-Time Bar Boy Won Fame as Proprietor of the Knick- erbocker Hotel. HOST TO MANY NOTED MEN JHad Been Guest at Royal Party In LondonuInvented Automatic Train-Stopping Device". The New York Times. 1932-02-15. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-09-06.
- "Offerings At Auction Aggregate $9, 898, 900", New York Times, March 16, 1932, pg. 39.
- "UNDER NEW MANAGEMENT.; Hotel Dixie Taken Over by Roy S. Hubbell Organization". The New York Times. 1932-04-17. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-09-06.
- "ROY S. HUBBELL DIES; HOTEL DIXIE OFFICIAL; Had Been Managing Director Since ApriluLong Active in Hotels of New York". The New York Times. 1932-10-14. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-09-06.
- "Midtown Suites In Demand", New York Times, April 26, 1942, pg. RE2.
- Owners Enlarge Plot In Midtown, New York Times, July 4, 1951, pg. 21.
- Zolotow, Sam (1966-10-04). "MUSICAL TO OPEN IN EX-RESTAURANT; Room in Dixie Hotel Ready for 'Autumn's Here'". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-09-06.
- "'Follies' to Reopen Uptown". The New York Times. 1967-06-01. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-09-06.
- "For Children". The New York Times. 1979-11-09. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-09-06.
- Lawson, Carol (1980-10-22). "News of the Theater Vivian Matalon Looking For More Marquee Space; Papp-Stevens Plans Off Ionesco Play Shut Down Actress Is Warned". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-09-06.
- Goodwin, Michael (1978-04-23). "Vietnamese Buys Two Hotels, Seeks More". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-09-06.
- Goodwin, Michael (1983-12-21). "STATE IS PENALIZING CITY OVER SHELTER CONDITIONS". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-09-06.
- Gottlieb, Martin (1984-06-01). "IN TIMES SQUARE, NEW WORLD TO TAKE ON NETHER WORLD". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-09-06.
- Basler, Barbara (1985-12-29). "HOTEL NEAR TIMES SQUARE CLOSES ROOMS FOR HOMELESS TO CATER TO TOURISTS". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-09-06.
- Saxon, Wolfgang (1990-01-13). "Court Allows New York City To Take Over Welfare Hotel". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-09-06.
- Alternative Hostels, Where the Price is Right, December 8, 1991, pg. XX3.
- "Corrections". The New York Times. 1999-09-10. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-09-06.
- Dunlap, David W. (2014-01-01). "A Cleaned-Up Hotel in a Cleaned-Up Times Square". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-09-06.
- Smut Case Figure Is Arrested Again, New York Times, April 6, 1966, pg. 13.
- Man Held in Slaying of Officer in Queens, New York Times, December 31, 1980, p. A2.
- Morehead, Albert H. (1962-09-25). "Bridge:; Death of Gresham, Writer, Loss to Bridge World, Too". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-09-06.
- "LEAPS TO DEATH AT HOTEL.; Brooklyn Man's Note Gives Name, Address and Cause of Act". The New York Times. 1931-03-14. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-09-06.
- "YOUNG WOMAN DIES IN LEAP FROM HOTEL; Miss Olga Kibrick, Daughter of Weathy Brockton Insurance Man, Ends Her Life Here. A WELL-KNOWN MUSICIAN Left Note Written With a Lipstick in Her Room in the Dixie to Notify Her Father". The New York Times. 1931-10-29. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-09-06.
- "EMBEZZLER SUICIDE ON EVE OF SENTENCE; James M. Fairbanks, Who Took $290,000 From Brokers' Firm, Ends Life in Hotel Leap. FACED FIVE TO TEN YEARS Body Found When Lawyer Phones as Requested in Note -- Money Lost in Worthless Companies". The New York Times. 1932-04-21. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-09-06.
- "THE CITY; Infant Is Slain; Father, 19, Held". The New York Times. 1983-11-23. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-09-06.
- "Woman Is Apparently Pushed From Window in Carter Hotel". The New York Times. 1987-01-02. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-09-06.
- "METRO NEWS BRIEFS: NEW YORK; Hotel Clerk Is Charged In Co-Worker's Murder". The New York Times. 1999-07-22. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-09-06.
- Lee, Jennifer 8 (2007-08-31). "Manhattan: Body Found in Times Square Hotel". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-09-06.
- "YOUTH BURNED TO DEATH; Mother in Nebraska Had Premonition of Tragedy Here". The New York Times. 1941-09-16. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-09-06.
- "Sex offender sought after woman's body found in hotel". NY Daily News. August 31, 2007. Retrieved 2017-09-06.
- "The Nuns' Kris Murdered In New York", Salvation Films website, September 19, 2007
- "Life of aspiring model murdered in August a tragic tale". NY Daily News. September 17, 2007. Retrieved 2017-09-06.
- Guterl, Caroline Field Levander, Matthew Pratt (2015-05-20). "Meet America's Two Grossest Hotels". Slate Magazine. Retrieved 2019-12-28.
- Bed Bug Registry report on Hotel Carter, New York, Bed Bug Registry website, August 10th, 2011
- "TripAdvisor list of top 10 dirtiest hotels in North America, TripAdvisor website, August 10th, 2011". Archived from the original on 2011-08-17. Retrieved 2011-08-10.
- USA Today, January 30th, 2009
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