The COVID-19 pandemic has claimed countless businesses in the U.S. across many different industries, but now it’s taken down a true classic in terms of both travel and the film industry: New York City’s famed Roosevelt Hotel. The Midtown Manhattan hotel, minutes away from Times Square and Grand Central Terminal, had been a filming location for dozens of prominent films since 1924, to the point that the hotel has an entire page on its website dedicated to its many appearances on the silver screen. And now it’s shutting down permanently at the end of the year, thanks to the pandemic.
The Roosevelt had appeared in a long list of Hollywood films, including (but not limited to) The Irishman, Quiz Show, Men in Black 3, 1408, Wall Street, The French Connection, Malcolm X, The Dictator, Man on a Ledge and Maid in Manhattan. You can see a compilation of some of those clips below. The local landmark also served as the backdrop to other historic events, such as Presidential candidate Thomas Dewey’s famously unsuccessful election night in 1948. It was also the site where bandleader Guy Lombardo first broadcast the song “Auld Lang Syne” on New Year’s Even in NYC, a tradition that continues on in Times Square to this day.
The hotel, today owned by Pakistan International Airlines, cited a drop in business due to the coronavirus as the reason for an unavoidable closure.
“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,” said the hotel representatives in a statement. “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.”
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the pandemic has been hell on the hotel and hospitality industries, as hotel admissions have understandably taken a steep dive as people are less able to travel. In a survey, the American Hotel Lodging Association found that 74% of all U.S. hotels said that additional layoffs were still likely if the industry didn’t receive additional federal assistance. Of course, industries throughout the U.S. are hurting right now, and many Americans remain out of work—but especially in the world of hospitality. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the hospitality industry as a whole lost an estimated 7.5 million jobs back in April, and now in October only half of those jobs have returned. That’s a whole lot of workers still sitting on the sidelines, hoping that the coronavirus pandemic will finally pass so businesses like hotels, restaurants and resorts can resume somewhat normal operations.