The Greenpoint Hotel, Part I

August 13, 2007 by
Filed under: Crazy People, Greenpoint Magic 

Greenpoint Hotel

This is the Greenpoint Hotel. It is located at 1109 Manhattan Avenue. My buddy over at 11222 has written about it. Recently she and talked about it. Follows is one of the tales I told her.

The year was 2002. The season was spring. I was engaged in a task most people who lost their jobs (due to 9/11) did: running a load of laundry on a Tuesday morning. My neighbor Cat was with me. Bored with Telemundo, we directed our respective thousand mile stares out the window and onto Manhattan Avenue. Our bubble of ennui was quickly and summarily popped by all manner and variety of police officers— replete with meter maids driving glorified golf carts— storming the hotel next door. We looked at each other and said:

Holy shit!

I harbor a long-held fascination for this establishment. Any abject aspect of the human condition my mother attempted to protect me from as a child is pretty much a source of fascination for me (as an CONSENTING adult, mind you) nowadays, e.g;

  1. criminal activity
  2. sexual deviancy
  3. all around anti-social behavior

and the Greenpoint Hotel delivers. In spades. I know because I have been researching this place for some time.

Clay Street Wing, Greenpoint Hotel

This is the “northwest wing” of the Greenpoint Hotel. This plot of land (on Clay Street) once belonged to the Meserole family. It was auctioned by Jeremiah V. Meserole in 1881. Ten years later his son Darwin was brought up on murder charges for an adulterous love affair gone bad. Just like the patricians who owned it before, this parcel of land quickly descended into ill repute.

Before it was the Greenpoint Hotel it was known as the Edward’s Hotel. Before it was known as the Edward’s Hotel it was known as the International Traveler’s Hotel. I think. It doesn’t really matter because regardless of the name, this place has always been a dump. As you will learn.

Which brings me to the first of three installments of Greenpoint crime blotter goodness about this establishment. The inaugural item hails from the January 1, 1899 edition of the New York Times.

It Proved to be a Serious Joke

Manhattan Avenue was once known as Union Avenue— after the union of American states.

Greenpoint Avenue was once known as Lincoln Street— after Honest Abe.

The Monitor was built in Greenpoint just off of what is now known as Quay Street— hence why there is a street bearing the name “Monitor” here.

Greenpointers are good Americans. Sure, one of us tried to rob a person using chloroform, but at least he was patriotic about it. Mr. Rohr might have been the first person to commit a crime while waving the American flag, but he was/is hardly the last. Thirty five cents is child’s play compared to the shit out current regime has perpetrated. The only difference is Rohr found his way into a jail cell: his most recent criminal protégés probably won’t.

Miss Heather


15 Comments on The Greenpoint Hotel, Part I

  1. al oof on Mon, 13th Aug 2007 11:06 pm
  2. i’m glad i started reading these greenpoint blogs. after 7 and half years in this neighborhood i’d never known about the greenpoint hotel. i’ve never even walked that far up manhattan, but that’s because i am lazy and don’t like to leave my house.

  3. missheather on Mon, 13th Aug 2007 11:25 pm
  4. Manhattan Avenue from Dupont Street north was *quite* colorful ca. 2000-2002. Nowadays you can tread the stairwells (to the Pulaski Bridge) at Box Street without stepping on hypodermic needles, crack vials, crackheads and shit. Human shit.

    You wrote: i’m glad i started reading these greenpoint blogs. after 7 and half years in this neighborhood i’d never known about the greenpoint hotel.

    Are you serious? I’m not trying to be a cunt or anything, I’m just curious.

  5. Rebecca11222 on Tue, 14th Aug 2007 6:38 am
  6. This establishment houses (or used to house) some convicted sex-offenders of children. Go to the website that allows you to look up where sex offenders in your nabe live, photo, plus charges. Web address escapes me at present.

  7. jukeboxgraduate on Tue, 14th Aug 2007 8:56 am
  8. You’re braver than me, Miss H. I still won’t go near those stairwells – in broad daylight.

    The Greenpoint Hotel probably does house recent offenders. It also houses bus drivers, city workers, construction workers, plumbers. Like I posted on my blog, I used to have to go in and out of there (and wait around for a while) on a constant basis. I never went further than the lobby, mind you, but I was less concerned about the residents of the hotel when I actually had business in the hotel than I do now walking by it at night.

    This whole lack of interest about one’s neighborhood perplexes me. There was a reference to this in the blog – a woman ran into one of the Bushwick walking tours, claimed there was nothing to see in Bushwick, and “no cafes” – when there were THREE within immediate walking distance.

    New Yorkers get out and see their neighborhoods. They know their neighborhoods.

  9. d on Tue, 14th Aug 2007 10:50 am
  10. I always felt happier in NYC *because* of the community feel of the neighborhoods. I found these blogs because of doing searches on local businesses and info and they’ve been invaluable. I wish neighborhood blogs had been around when I first moved to NYC 10 years ago.

    Greenpoint is actually quite similar to my hometown in central CT, sarcastically/jokingly referred to by locals and otherwise as “hard hittin’ New Britain”, even down to the fact that both are known as “little Poland” due to the high concentrations of Polish immigrants (of which I am also descended – they used to live in Brooklyn when they came over on the boat, but I don’t know where, a few generations back).

  11. al oof on Thu, 16th Aug 2007 12:02 am
  12. yeah, i’m serious. why would I? i live in the other part of greenpoint, the one where drunken polish-speaking homeless men take their pants off and walk around drinking whiskey in the middle of the day across the street from an elementary school and no seems to care! over by mcgorlick park. i tend to stick to my route to work and back, so i’ve never had occasion to travel up manhattan so far, and i don’t know, it was never on the news or anything.

    i did once long ago look up local sex offenders on the sex offender list and one guy with two aliases was living somewhere way up on manhattan that i realize now was the hotel. but i didn’t give it much thought at the time.

  13. al oof on Thu, 16th Aug 2007 12:14 am
  14. not for nothing folks, but how much do you know aboutwhat goes on at apollo and driggs? i’m not oblivious to my neighborhood, i’m just a homebody. i don’t go to bars much, and i’ve got pretty much everything i need within 4 blocks of my house. and if i go to queens, i take greenpoint ave. not the pulaski. i know lots about greenpoint, in general. i just didn’t know about the hotel. as far as i’m concerned, that’s practically a different neighborhood.

  15. missheather on Thu, 16th Aug 2007 6:50 am
  16. I was not trying to single you out or anything, “al oof”. In fact I suspected that you lived over by McGolrick. It’s been my observation that north ‘Pernters and south ‘Pernters rarely cross paths. 😉

    That said, you’re not missing much re. the hotel. If you have an online subscription to the NYTimes, you should look it up. About a year ago the DEA initiated proceedings to close it down. It obviously didn’t work.

  17. al oof on Thu, 16th Aug 2007 2:55 pm
  18. i shouldn’t read the internet after drinking with my mom. my first response was to you, but the second was to the rest of the commenters. i just really didn’t like being compared to the woman mentioned on bushwickbk.

    and al is actually my name (though oof is not) so you don’t have to put it in quotes. and hi! i read your blog.


  19. missheather on Thu, 16th Aug 2007 3:33 pm
  20. In all seriousness folks, you were a little hard on Al. It’s one thing to simply be ignorant of something, it’s another to WANT to be ignorant of something and make that known in a very arrogant manner (as in the woman from BushwickBK).

  21. Beverly on Sun, 1st Feb 2009 1:42 pm
  22. Having been born at home on January 20, 1951 at 1116 Manhattan Avenue, I grew up across the street from this “hotel”. It was originally called the EDWARDS HOTEL, later on changed to the PRINCE EDWARDS HOTEL dubbed the PRINCE HOTEL which has now evolved to the GREENPOINT HOTEL.

    This was a place where the downtrodden took up residence. Many were welfare recipients, some worked and others just existed there.

    Having lived across the street and attending ST Cyril & Methodius School, I had to pass there everyday. Yes, the men was scary and looked like the same men who would hang out down the Bowery who cleaned your car windows begging for some change.

    Of course we were always told “never speak to strangers”, so passing the Hotel was no different. I recall as a child perhaps walking a little faster past there than I would elsewhere. However, in all the time I was growing up and walking past this place not once did I ever encounter a problem.

    I am sure that if the walls and halls of that place could speak, they would tell stories both good and horrible. I remember when we still had Police Officers WALKING a beat, they were a constant visitor there for one reason or another keeping peace. But never do I remember anyone who had to pass by being bothered by it’s residents. The men who resided there kept to themselves and never bothered anyone who passed by either who worked in the area or who lived in the area. In fact, I think there was more “action” in JOE TAX’S BAR which was on the corner of Clay Street and Manhattan Avenue then there was in the hotel!

    My Dad’s family owned a house on Clay Street (#38), which was directly next door to HARTE & COMPANY, and when we went down to Grandma’s House where my Aunt, Uncle and cousins lived too, we would have to pass what was termed “THE HOTEL ANNEX” which was directly on Clay Street. Again, these men would sit around on the stoops or in summer on the fire escapes, but never in all that time did they ever bother the handful of residents that lived down that street or all the factory workers.

    I know of no one who would be “brave” enough to go inside there, but as a girl growing up I can honestly say that passing by this place was not as scary as many would have you think. In fact, a puppy once ran out onto Manhattan Avenue and I screamed and it was the men sitting in front of the Hotel who immediately stopped the traffic and ran to the puppys rescue so that the B-62 Bus coming from the Depot would not run it over. Turns out the puppy belonged to someone who was in JOE TAX’S BAR and the puppy ran out the door before they could catch it.

    I know that sounds like a “warm and fuzzy” feeling to a place that housed so many troubled souls, but like anything else on this earth…..there are good and bad in every bunch and I think these men just found themselves in a situation many had no control over.

    I have lived through many good times in Greenpoint and remeber some of the bad things that happened there too. However, the Wonderful and Good memories far OUTWEIGH the bad ones!

    No matter where I have travelled, no matter where I have moved to; without a doubt or a nano seconds hesitation, I will ALWAYS call GREENPOINT HOME!!!!!!

    […] federal prosecutors were trying to have the hotel foreclosed on and taken over by the government. Local blogs also have written about the hotel’s notorious […]

    […] federal prosecutors were trying to have the hotel foreclosed on and taken over by the government. Local blogs also have written about the hotel’s notorious […]

    […] federal prosecutors were trying to have the hotel foreclosed on and taken over by the government. Local blogs also have written about the hotel’s notorious […]

    […] federal prosecutors were trying to have the hotel foreclosed on and taken over by the government. Local blogs also have written about the hotel’s notorious […]

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