The Hotel Carter had a grimy run. It is located in Manhattan near Times Square (so great location), but it went on to become known as the dirtiest hotel in New York City. The building was cheap and had a great location, so perhaps it didn't feel like it needed to bother with anything else. Much like the Hans Brinker Hotel in Amsterdam - the self-described "worst hotel in the world."
It was initially opened in 1930 as the Dixie Hotel. The building is some 24 stories tall and when it first opened it had 1,000 rooms, though that was later reduced to 700 rooms. It has had its ownership changed numerous times throughout its history. By 2014 it was severely debilitated and was hard at work gaining the enviable title of the dirtiest hotel in New York City. In 2014 the hotel closed.
The Hotel In Its Twilight Days In 2014
Funded in 1930, the Charter Hotel and run until 2014 - a long run. One can't deny their busy strategy worked for a while as a cheap but disgusting hotel.
But it wasn't just the grime, dirt, and general laissez-faire attitude to cleanliness that gave it a less than glamorous reputation. It was also the crimes and deaths that took place there. Its status as one of the dirtiest hotels in the United States was bestowed on it by media and visitor reviews alike. It received its fair share of scathing hotel reviews.
At least nine deaths occurred in this hotel over its life - and the details behind the ninth are still unclear.
- Three-Time Winner: Of TripAdvisor's Dirtiest Hotel In America Survey
The Observer in 2014 stated it is "undeniably, unequivocally, the worst hotel in New York City". But it's not just the generous amounts of grime everywhere, digging deeper one would find building code violations, insect infestations, and of course the homicides.
Talk with former guests and one hears of dirty bedsheets and brown bathroom tiles - as well as having to fetch one's own toilet paper. There are tails from mournful guests having searched for the cheapest accommodation in NYC expecting nothing but basic sanitation. But finding it could tempting to join the homeless folks on the streets in search of a better night's sleep.
Those particularly strapped for cash or those wanting to see first hand the almost mythic place this hotel has earned in New York City lore come to enjoy the lack of quality on offer.
But for others in search of a genuine old New York experience, Carter is a hotel where time seemingly stands still. And they have their repeat visit patrons were staying at the hotel is something of a mark of pride - what one does in the Big Apple.
- Advantage: It Cheap And Its A Great Location
- Bonus: Possible Bed Bugs
The Hotel Today
Today it is unclear how dirty or squalid the hotel would be should it reopen. It remains listed on booking sites like Kayak.com and a Hotels-Innewyork.com but its dates for the booking are all blanked out. Hotels-Innewyork.com says flatly of it...
"Carter Hotel 2 stars
Carter Hotel New York is a low-budget 2-star venue set 750 meters from the parish church "St. Patrick's Cathedral" and 3 km from the sprawling Central Park."
The 1980s and Its Role As A Homeless Shelter
The hotel's slide into dirtiness was well underway in the 1980s. In 1983 it was cited for its "consistently low rate of compliance in correcting health and safety violations". The city even sued the hotel in 1983 and 1984 for its failure to correct numerous infractions and was subsequently fined. The city even started using the hotel as a homeless shelter in 1984, while it also became a gathering place for teenagers and young children.
- 1984: Hosted Some 300 Homeless Families
But the hotel tried to pivot away from house homeless families to attracting tourists. It managed to reduce the number of homeless families from 300 to 61 and by 1988 all of the homeless families had been removed. There were reports of smell from some rooms as being intense.
Ironically it was the City that removed all the homeless families because it was tired of all the difficulties with electricity, security, plumbing, and vermin in the hotel. One can read archived New York Times articles about the Carter. "Hotel Near Times Square Closes Room For Homeless to Cater to Tourists" published Dec. 29, 1985, and "Court Allows New York City To Take Over Welfare Hotel" published in 1990.
Seeking a new clientele the Carter even lease out some of its floors to the Penthouse Hostel. They were provided as an alternative to the American Youth Hotels organization.