23 November 2008

St. George Once Subway Sign-Worthy

It's not often that underground subway stations offer directions indicated which exit will land you closer to a famous store or hotel. So the faded words on the Adams Street side of the A/C train's High Street station are testimony to how important Brooklyn Heights' Hotel St. George used to be.

Built in the late 19th century, the Hotel St. George was once, unbelievably, the largest hotel in New York City. (And the tallest building in Brooklyn, for a short time.) It had a ballroom in which the lighting constantly changed, and the largest indoor salt-water pool in the United States—Esther Williams and Johnny Weismuller took advantage of it. It was a favorite with celebrities (novelist Thomas Wolfe, who seems to have spent time everywhere in Brooklyn, and presidents Kennedy, Truman and Roosevelt) and took up a whole city block.

It's now a shell of its former shelf, and no part of it functions as a hotel any longer.

There's also an old sign at that stop pointing to the Red Cross Building. It's not what it was anymore, either.

1 comment:

Ken Mac said...

Brooks, have you visited Shorpy.com? Incredible vault of old pics. It has the original St George before the fire, with what would become the current hotel. Anyway, amazing site.