The New Yorker Hotel at 34th Street and 8th Avenue is one of those storied Manhattan icons – so much history and so many secrets, it’s hard to whittle them down. The Art Deco building, completed in 1930, is renown for its setback architectural style and famous sign but inside, you’ll discover something new on every visit. As a handy guide, we’re getting you started with ten of our favorite secrets that we learned while touring the hotel with Joe Kinney, senior project engineer at the New Yorker Hotel and creator of the archives and museum. He’s been on the hotel staff since 1996.
10. There’s an Underground Tunnel That Used to Lead to the Subway
Roughly 200 feet beneath the New Yorker Hotel lies a secret: an underground tunnel that connected the establishment to Penn Station It’s mostly forgotten, used primarily as storage, but it once enabled guests to go directly from the subway and trains to an elevator and up into the hotel. A porter would greet you at the entrance and take you the rest of your way.
When the hotel opened, the Long Island Railroad was in operation but the Eighth Avenue Subway (the A/C/E lines today) was not even completed yet. It would open in 1932. An early advertisement states: “Your room is only three minutes from your train through your own private entrance to the Pennsylvania and Long Island stations. This entrance also connects with the New York subway system and when the new Eighth Avenue subway is completed in the fall of 1931, there will be subway entrances at the very doors of the hotel.” Like all things transit and New York, the opening of the Eighth Avenue subway was delayed a bit.
Kinney emphasizes that it’s important to note that the tunnels were already present before the New Yorker Hotel was built. In the late 1960s this tunnel below West 34th Street was closed and mostly disappeared from history, with many considering it an urban legend.
See more photos of the tunnel here.