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Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 52
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At Long Last; New York’s Essex House; Origin of Mother’s Day;  An Annual
Feast for Number Crunchers; The End of the Hotel Bathtub?
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By Stanley Turkel, MHS, ISHC
May 21,  2009

1.  At Long Last
My new website is up and running (www.stanleyturkel.com).  I took the diverse and eclectic elements of my professional hotel consulting life and summarized them into five categories: Bio, Publications, Consulting, Speaking and Contact.  It is a work in progress.

2.  New York’s Essex House
Did you ever notice that New York’s Essex House is the only building on Central Park South with a large neon sign on its roof?  This roof-top sign preceded the current zoning rules and is, therefore, grandfathered.  The 43-story hotel, now the Jumeirah Essex House was opened in 1931 and is owned by the royal family in Dubai.  It recently completed a $90 million renovation that highlights its classic Art Deco design.  The hotel was converted to a condominium by Marriott in 1974 and now consists of 515 guestrooms and 148 residential condominium apartments, of which 139 are privately owned.

The hotel which was designed by architect Frank Grad, was originally called the Park Tower and then the Seville Towers.  Like all Central Park South buildings, the Jumeirah Essex House has great views of Central Park and the skylines of upper Fifth Avenue and Central Park West.

3.  Origin of Mother’s Day
Did you know that Mother’s Day owes it all to Julia Ward (Battle Hymn of the Republic) Howe?  In 1870, after witnessing the horrible bloodshed of Civil War, Howe (poet, social reformer, and abolitionist) called for an international gathering of women to abolish war.  In words that remain tragically relevant today, Howe said: “In this day of progress, in this century of life, the ambition of rulers has been allowed to barter the dear interests of domestic life for the bloody exchange of the battlefield….  From the bosom of the devastated earth a voice goes up with our own.  It says, ‘Disarm.  Disarm… Blood does not wipe out dishonor, nor violence indicate possession.’ When Howe returned from Europe in 1872, she called for June 2 to be set aside as Mother’s Peace Day, a national day dedicated to world peace.  In 1915, President Woodrow Wilson authorized Mother’s Day as a national holiday.

4.  An Annual Feast for Number Crunchers
A fascinating snapshot of the American people is drawn from the 1,376 tables that make up the Census Bureau’s 2007 Statistical Abstract of the United States:

  • Americans guzzled 23.2 gallons of bottled water per person up from a modest 2.7 gallons in 1980
  • We consumed more than twice as much high fructose corn syrup per person as in 1980 and remained the fattest inhabitants of the planet
  • The average American watched 1,548 hours of television, the equivalent of more than 64 days.
  • Among adults, 91 million Internet users made a travel reservation, 97 million sought news online, 92 million bought a product, 16 million used a social or professional networking site and 13 million created a blog.
  • Among graduate students, 27 percent had at least one foreign-born parent.  The number of foreign students from India enrolled in American colleges soared to 80,000 in 2005 from 10,000 in 1976.
  • As recently as 1980, only 12 percent of doctors were woman; by 2004, 27 percent were.


5. The End of the Hotel Bathtub?
In April 2006, I reported on the progress made in my one-man crusade to eliminate unused bathtubs from hotel bathrooms. At the time, Marriott was building shower-only rooms for its new Marriott and Renaissance hotels.  Now it appears that the hotel bathtub is gong down the drain.  Sofitel, Hilton, Park Hyatt, Indigo, Embassy Suites, Staybridge Suites, Gansevoort and Manhattan’s Shoreham have all renovated with walk-in showers.

Professor Dott. Antonio P. Adamo, professor of engineering at the British Columbia Institute of Technology and at the Ecole hoteliere de Lausanne reports on the reasons for the end of the bathtub in hotels:

 1.  To take a bath takes time
 2.  Baths are “relaxing” while showers are “stimulating”
 3.  Many hotel guests (especially ladies) doubt (wrongly) that the hotel bathtubs are perfectly clean….they nurture paranoid worries about germs, fungi and other assorted contaminents that can hardly be considered relaxing.
 4. ….to take a bath, bathtubs must be filled with 200 to 300 liters of water, hot water, that is… The “total bath-time cycle” seldom takes less than half an hour.
 5. ….the shower-head’s water flow for vigorous action is, at most, 15 liters per minute… when you finish, usually less than 5 to 7 minutes later, you have drained 75 to 105 liters of water, roughly one half what is needed for a bath.
Furthermore, the tub-shower combination is dangerous to use and becomes a target for lawsuits and higher insurance premiums.  And, just incidentally, the shower-only bathroom saves on the cost of shower curtains. 

6.  Studs Terkel (May 16, 1912-October 31, 2008)
My landsman, Louis “Studs” Terkel died last year at 96 years of age.  He was born in New York City to Jewish immigrant parents, his mother from tsarist Russia and his father from Poland (the same area where my father was born).  Radio broadcaster, oral historian, author- none of these descriptions do justice to his larger-than-life personality and achievements.  His family moved to Chicago when he was ten.  He grew up in the family business, a men’s hotel where he circulated freely among its colorful assortment of guests.  Terkel wrote in his first book Division Street: America*:

When I was a young boy, my mother managed a hotel (the Wells Grand) on the Near North Side of Chicago.  There were a few light-housekeeping rooms for couples, but most of the guests were single men.  Many were skilled craftsmen: tool-and-die makers, coppersmiths, chefs, master carpenters.  They were a proud and stiff-necked lot.  There were occasions when, for no likely reason, a fight would break out, a furious one- a pinochle game, a dispute over a nickel.  The men earned what was good money in those days.  Why, then, the fist and the blow over a lousy nickel?  I didn’t understand.

Now I understand.  It wasn’t the nickel.  It was the harsh word, the challenging word, in the presence of peers.  “Liar!” The nickel was not the matter, nor the dollar.  Humiliation was the matter.  Unless strong measures were taken.  “Let’s sit down and reason together” had no meaning while one had lost face.  Though there may be fewer such craftsmen today than there were then, face is still the matter.


*Pantheon Books, New York, 1967

7.  Quote of the Month

There is nothing to writing.  All you have to do is sit down at the keyboard and open up a vein.
         Red Smith 

Stanley Turkel, MHS, ISHC (www.stanleyturkel.com) operates his hotel consulting office as a sole practitioner specializing in franchising issues, asset management and litigation support services.  Turkel’s clients are hotel owners and franchisees, investors and lending institutions.  Turkel serves on the Board of Advisors and lectures at the NYU Tisch Center for Hospitality, Tourism and Sports Management.  He is a member of the prestigious International Society of Hospitality Consultants.  His provocative articles on various hotels subjects have been published in the Cornell Quarterly, Lodging Hospitality, Hotel Interactive, Hotel-Online, AAHOA Lodging Business, etc.  Don’t hesitate to call 917-628-8549 or email stanturkel@aol.com.

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Contact:

Stanley Turkel, MHS, ISHC
917-628-8549
stanturkel@aol.com

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Also See: Nobody Asked Me, But No.51 / Transformation of the Shelton Towers Hotel; One Hotel’s Fate 119 Years Ago / Stanley Turkel / April 2009
Nobody Asked Me, But No.50 / Do You Know About O8A? Do Hotel Franchisees Need Independent Associations?The Best Franchise Advisory Councils / Stanley Turkel / March 2009
Nobody Asked Me, But No. 49 / Slave Trading at the Saint Charles Hotel in Washington DC, Why Are Some Hotel Franchise Companies Defranchising Exterior Corridor Hotels / Stanley Turkel / February 2009
Nobody Asked Me, But No. 48 / New President of Wyndham Ignores the Real Issues; Hotel Franchises Compared to Auto Dealer Franchises / Stanley Turkel / January 2009
Nobody Asked Me, But No. 47 / New CEO of Choice Misses an Opportunity; Lost and Forgotten Hotels; Little Known Hotel Facilities in New York / Stanley Turkel / December 2008
Nobody Asked Me, But No. 45/ Remembering John Curry; Hotel Owners Have The Power / Stanley Turkel / October 2008
Nobody Asked Me, But No. 44 / Hotel Franchise Companies Performance Appraisal Report, a Down-to-earth Assessment of the Hotel Capital Markets / Stanley Turkel / September 2008
Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 43  / Hotel Franchisor Companies Ignoring Critical Franchising Issues,  Marriott Leads the Way with Aggressive Environmental Strategies / Stanley Turkel / August 2008
Nobody Asked Me, But No. 42 / Remembering Jack Craver; World Record-Setting Hotels; At Last: A Major Gaming Facility in the Catskills / Stanley Turkel / July 2008
Nobody Asked Me, But No. 41 / Landmark Belleview Biltmore Resort Saved; Hotel Developers Take Note - the Borough of Bronx in NYC Has 1.5 million Residents and Just One Hotel in the AAA Guide; Boutique Hotel Bandwagon / Stanley Turkel / June 2008
Nobody Asked Me, But No. 39 / Say Goodbye To The UFOC; Dunfey Brothers To Be Honored; The Plaza Hotel Reopens After a $400 Million Renovation / Stanley Turkel / April 2008
Nobody Asked Me, But No. 38 / Super 8 Owners Form an Independent Franchise Association; Why Is There a Bible in Every Hotel Room? / Stanley Turkel / March 2008
Nobody Asked Me, But No. 37 / Remember the Savoy Plaza Hotel?; Is Economic Disaster Imminent; Cuba at the Crossroads / Stanley Turkel / February 2008
Nobody Asked Me, But No. 36 / What the Advertisements for the Largest Hotel Franchise Companies Never Mention - Also Measuring Hotel Brand Value / Stanley Turkel / January 2008
Nobody Asked Me, But No. 35 / Casino Expansion Has Transformed America, Exercise Awareness / Stanley Turkel / December 2007
Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 34 / IHG’s Great Idea, Sound-Proofing Hotels, Best Western Enters the Upper Midscale Segment, How to Convert Confusion Into Order,  Sign at a Tarrytown, NY Inn, 1798 / November 2007
Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 33 / 1957 Murder at the Park Sheraton Hotel; How Much Does A Franchise Really Cost?A Marriage Made in Heaven?; A Good Night’s Sleep at the Benjamin Hotel / Stanley Turkel / October 2007
Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 31 - Rhode Island Improves Franchise Rules, What’s Up With Canada? Conversion of a Jail Into a Hotel, The Richest (and Poorest) Places in the U.S. / Stanley Turkel / September 2007
Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 31 - Blackstone's Acquisition of Hilton, The Art of Groveling, The Origin of Franchising / Stanley Turkel / August 2007
Nobody Asked Me, But…. No. 30 / Impertinent Questions In Search of Pertinent Answers: Carbon monoxide detectors, exterior-corridor properties / Stanley Turkel / July 2007
How American-Owned Can You Get?, ISHC's CapEx 2007 Report, The Bowery Hotel / Stanley Turkel / June 2007
Hotel Franchising and State Laws, Is Immigration Important? Save the Biltmore, The Good Old Days, Quote of the Month / Stanley Turkel / May 2007
Nobody Asked Me, But - No. 27 / Hotel Franchise Agreements: Mediation, Arbitration or Litigation? / Stanley Turkel / April 2007
Nobody Asked Me, But - No. 26 / Energy Usage and Potential Savings; Great Art in Hotels; Lifestyle Hotels; The Minimum Wage Issue; Quote of the Month / Stanley Turkel / March 2007
Nobody Asked Me, But - No. 25 / Guestroom Design & Amenities, Get a Human, Best Luxury Hotels in the U.S., Turnpike, The Pineapple as Symbol of Hospitality, Fair Franchising / Stanley Turkel / February 2007
Nobody Asked Me, But - No. 24 / Loose Cannon, Fair Franchising, Manhattan Hotel Profits, Hotels of the Future, Interesting Miscellany, Quote of the Month / Stanley Turkel / January 2007
Nobody Asked Me, But - No. 23 / Biting The Hand That Feeds You?, By The Numbers, Shortage of Hotel Rooms, There is No Free Lunch, Iron Laws of Business Travel, Happy New Year / Stanley Turkel / January 2007
Nobody Asked Me, But - No. 22 / Smart Elevators, Tony Marshall’s Memorial, Women in the Hospitality Industry / Stanley Turkel / December 2006
Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 21 / The Drake Hotel in New York, Fair Franchising is Not an Oxymoron, By the Numbers, Another Secret Underground Shelter, Passing of Anthony G. Marshall / Stanley Turkel / December 2006
Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 20 / Turnabout Is Fairplay, Secret Underground Shelter, By the Numbers, Genuine Fair Franchising/ Stanley Turkel / November 2006
Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 19 / International Society of Hospitality Consultants, Great Miami Hotels, Reduce Carbon Monoxide Emissions, Turn Gray Into Gold / Stanley Turkel / November 2006
Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 18 / John Q. Hammons, Save the Belleview Biltmore, Chinese Tourism, CFLs, Ernie Byfield, Guestroom Entertainment in 1905 / Stanley Turkel / October 2006
Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 17 - AAHOA's 12 Points of Fair Franchising, Protected Territories, / Stanley Turkel / September 2006
The Newest Independent (and Oldest Partially Independent) Franchise Association in the Hotel Industry / Stanley Turkel / September 2006
In Hotel Franchising, Reality Trumps Wishful Thinking / Stanley Turkel / August 2006
Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 14; Impact Studies, Stretching Segments, Short-Stay Rentals, Smoke-free Marriotts, Franchising in China, Save the Belleview Biltmore Hotel / August 2006
The U.S. Population Age 65 and Over is Expected to Double in the Next 25 Years; What Does this Mean for the Hotel Industry? / Stanley Turkel / July 2006
Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 12; Portman, Women Homeowners, Minimum Wage, Tipping, Brooklyn Bridge, Chinese Tourism, Impact Studies / Stanley Turkel / July 2006
Do Hotel Franchisees Need Independent Franchise Associations? / Stanley Turkel / June 2006
Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 10 / Chinese Tourists, Gasoline Prices and Alternatives, GLBT Segment, Travel Agents, FAC's, Manhattan's Record Breaking Year, Impertinent Questions / Stanley Turkel / June 2006
Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 9 / Blang, Bathtubs, Best Green, Arbitration, Best Western, AAHOA, State Franchising Laws, VFR / Stanley Turkel / May 2006
Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 8; Bathtubs, Smokefree Hotels, Maps, Saving Water, Nevada Revenues, H.P. Rama, Ritz-Carlton, Statler Service Code, Mother’s Day / Stanley Turkel / April 2006
Nobody Asked Me, But….No. 7 / Stanley Turkel, MHS, ISHC / March 2006
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