JVNY reports the sad news that the old fleatrap The Elk Hotel, on 42nd Street and Eighth, has closed for good. It wasn't a landmark (though it was old, having been built in 1925). It's wasn't architecturally interesting. No famous novel was written inside its walls. But it was a living sign that heterogeneity lived on in Times Square; that people from all walks of life could still find a place to call their own in the busy center of Manhattan; that you didn't need to be rich or corporate or a tourist to find a room to call your own.
Yes, I know it was home to many a druggie and call girl. So what? Is it any use pretended that those types don't walk our streets, and won't always be a presence in a city like New York? They've got to go somewhere. And, quite frankly, I'd rather hang out with them than that guy who made the decision to put a Red Lobster near the Crossroads of the World.