Hotel: No Sir, That Smell Is Not A Decomposing Guest. (It Was.)

The Jane Hotel in NYC was once (and still sort of is) a “residential” hotel. Even though it’s been renovated and is open for business, there are still residents in un-upgraded rent-controlled rooms. And sometimes they die. And people don’t notice right away.

Gothamist points us to a blog entry by a father who stayed at the hotel while visiting his daughter at NYU. Here’s his story.

First, a description of the hotel:

The Jane is a 100-year old building on the Hudson river that was once a rooming house for sailors, with a long and colorful history – it even housed the survivors of the Titanic, and you can read all about it on their funky-groovy web site. What their site doesn’t mention is that for some years, the beautiful building had fallen into decline, becoming sort of a derelict apartment house. It’s now in the process of being remodeled into a hotel for those with “more dash than cash”. Hey, that’s me!

So, for the tidy sum of $115 a night, we were able to check in to a tiny room – really almost a closet – that consisted of bunk beds nestled next to a two foot by six foot stretch of carpet and a tiny window. Count us in!

And then, the incident:

I shared the elevator back up with a foreign woman, who got off on my floor. As we entered “the cloud”, I said, “I wonder what died in this hall?”

She had a hand over her face, but with the other, she gestured to the strange, old door. There was a bright green sticker on it that I hadn’t noticed today.

A police department sticker stating that the “room was sealed”. In fact, the name of the sticker was “Seal For Door of D.O.A. Premises”. Wow.

Our hero then begins to collect explanations from the hotel’s staff. He never quite gets the same story.

By 9AM, the odor has finally dissipated as I make my morning coffee run down the street. I return and wait for the elevator with a really pleasant maintenance guy. He says “You should have seen this place before the remodeling… really run down”, and explained that there were still residents on various floors, that those rooms were not yet remodeled, even down to the original doors still being in place.

Seeing I had an expert in my grasp, I inquired about the situation on the third floor. “Oh, that,” he replied, “Someone with really bad hygiene”.

I asked if the “hygiene police” had sealed the door. He laughed, leaned closer and whispered, “And some ladies used the bathroom in there, too”.

Now, I’ve lived in 80-year old homes. I’ve dealt with dead squirrels in chimneys, dead rats in walls. There’s only one smell like that, and it isn’t hygiene. “So, that’s the ‘official’ story?”

He laughed. “Yes sir. That’s the ‘official’ story.”

Yikes. Read the rest, here.

I Smell Dead People [Cloudy Project via Gothamist]
(Photo:Cloudy Project)