Friday, July 27, 2012

Manhattan's stunning Hotel Walcott has a ghostly past

Hotel Wolcott relies on history, value - and the occasional haunting- to keep guests coming. 

Some guests say they’ve seen children playing; employees have heard a phantom radio.

Every building needs a shepherd, especially magnificent historic ones that may or may not have a couple of friendly ghosts running around.

Hotel Wolcott got lucky. Its shepherd is Scott Erlich, whose family has owned and carefully restored the 1904-built structure since 1975. Designed originally as a hotel by John H. Duncan, the architect of Grant's Tomb, the Wolcott was lost by its original developer, who hit hard financial times - something today's real estate pros know a thing about.
"I am trying to make everything look as original as possible," says Erlich. "Just one look at this building and you know it's special. So many people stayed here over the years. Titanic survivors, important businessmen. Then in the 1950s and '60s, musicians who recorded at Beltone Studios, like Buddy Holly, the Everly Brothers and Miles Davis, stayed at the hotel. No rooms are cookie-cutter.


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