Tag Archives Madison Avenue Manhattan


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When we stayed at the Roosevelt Hotel –

mid-town on Madison and 45th –

in the ’90s we guessed it was much

as it had been when it first opened

in the ’20s, apart from the peeling

décor and service from central casting.

It was popular with South Americans,

whom, it was rumoured, were stingy with tips

so the Yellow Cabs by-passed the entrance.

In the Gents off the lobby I heard

the fabled Manhattan rhetorical

question: ‘Did somebody die in here?’


When the lights at 45th and Madison

showed red a young man on roller blades

produced a gizmo and turned them green.

On Madison Avenue – that highway

of catchphrase and hyperbole – we passed

one man saying to another about

a third: ‘He’s not got a pot to piss in!’


The windows were single-glazed so we woke,

on our first night, at four, hearing what we thought

were revellers in the street. Through the rear

of Grand Central Station kitchen staff

and cleaners – multi-lingual commuters –

were arriving from Queens and Spanish Harlem.


We breakfasted in the Gobi Deli,

now gone, round the corner on Vanderbilt.

The walls were postered with large, explicit

diagrams of the Heimlich manoeuvre –

as if choking were part of the menu.


We had seen no one on our corridor

throughout our three night stay. When we checked out

the door of the room opposite was open.

The plaster on all of the walls had been gouged,

hacked as if with an axe.




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