The list of obituaries for legendary destinations permanently close due to COVID-19 seems to grow every day. One of the saddest byproducts of the lockdown is how businesses across America have been ravaged, and now we can add the historic Roosevelt Hotel in New York City to the list. For nearly 100 years, the legendary landmark has served up many memorable moments in history.
The hotel served as the election headquarters for Governor Thomas Dewey when he incorrectly announced that he defeated Harry Truman in the 1948 presidential election. Minutes away from Times Square, the hotel’s elegant architecture was featured in numerous movies, including “The Irishman,” “Wall Street,” and “The Boiler Room,” among many others. In 1929, Guy Lombardo and His Royal Canadians first broadcast the Scottish song “Auld Lang Syne” to ring in the new year from the hotel’s grill, starting a tradition that is still with us today.
From 1996 to 1997, the historic hotel went through an extensive $65 million-dollar renovation and now, only 25 years later, it will be closing its doors permanently. Currently owned by Pakistan International Airlines, the hotel released the following statement, “Due to the current, unprecedented environment and the continued uncertain impact from COVID-19, the owners of The Roosevelt Hotel have made the difficult decision to close the hotel and the associates were notified this week. The iconic hotel, along with most of New York City, has experienced very low demand and as a result the hotel will cease operations before the end of the year. There are currently no plans for the building beyond the scheduled closing.”
The coronavirus pandemic continues to ravage the hospitality industry, as hotels are forced to furlough staff amid travel restrictions. In New York City alone, international arrivals at the state’s five regional airports are down as much as 93%, according to Port Authority Data comparing the numbers to last year.