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Nobody Asked Me, But... No. 85

Praise for President Obama's Travel & Tourism Strategy; Proposed Queens Convention Center is a Poor Idea;
Hotel Rooms and Floors Created Just For Women; Quote of the Month

By Stanley Turkel, CMHS, ISHC
February 6, 2012

1.  Praise For President Obama’s Travel & Tourism Strategy

Hotel industry leaders are praising the Obama administration’s new “National Travel and Tourism Strategy.”  The major points announced in mid-January include the following:

  • expanding and making permanent the Global Entry program
  • expansion of the Visa Waiver program
  • increasing by 40% in 2012 the non-immigrant visa processing capacity in Brazil and China
  • creating an inter-agency government task force to work with Brand USA to promote travel and tourism job opportunities 
2.  Proposed Queens Convention Center Is A Poor Idea
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s proposal to build the country’s largest convention center in Ozone Park, Queens near the Aqueduct racetrack- casino is a poor idea.  This new 3.8 million-square foot exhibition hall and hotel would presumably free up the 18 acres owned by the state and occupied since the 1980s by the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center.  Governor Cuomo said the Javits Center which is in the middle of a $500 million renovation is too small to compete for the large trade shows now going to Chicago, Orlando and Las Vegas.

I believe that Gov. Cuomo’s proposal is a poor idea for the following reasons:

1.  Attendance at the Javits Center has always been good because conventioneers want to come to Manhattan.  They would not equally be motivated to attend a convention in Ozone Park, Queens.

2.  Over the past 20 years, many cities across the U.S. have built or expanded existing convention centers in the hope of attracting professional associations.  But without success because of overbuilding, the recession and inadequate ancillary amenities such as cultural and historic sites, museums, theaters, restaurants, shopping choices, etc.
The country’s leading expert on convention center economics, Heywood, Sanders, professor of public administration at the University of Texas, said he doubted that the Queens plan would succeed.  “The convention business is a disaster everywhere”, Professor Sanders said.  “Simply building more space gets you nothing more than a big empty building.  And to put it in a place where there aren’t any hotels, restaurant or amenities next door is to doom it to serving only a local metropolitan market.”  Sanders says that “city after city builds and expands their convention center.  Yet they end up doing less business than they did 20 or 30 years ago.”  Sanders points to Chicago’s McCormick Place, the nation’s largest convention center, which lost a million visitors from 2001 to 2010.
The Javits Center is an enormous boon to hotels in Manhattan and has helped to boost hotel occupancy and average rates to the highest level in the country.
Don’t be swayed by the siren song of a new Convention Center in Queens just because the Genting Group would finance it.  The loss of the Javits Center in Manhattan would be an unmitigated disaster. 

3.  Hotel Rooms And Floors Created Just For Women

The New York Times of January 29, 2012 reported that the following hotels have created several initiatives catering to women:

  • Dukes London Hotel
  • Georgian Court Hotel Downtown Vancouver
  • Bella Sky Comwell Hotel Copenhagen
In my recently-published book “Built To Last: 100+ Year-Old Hotels in New York”, I researched and wrote about the following hotels with women-only facilities:

Hotel McAlpin (1912) set aside an entire floor for women and children with its own check-in desk.  That floor had an outdoor playground and a library in addition to a large lounge and a hair dressing parlor.
Martha Washington Hotel (1903) was the first New York hotel reserved exclusively for women.  All the employees were women with a hostess and chaperones in attendance at all times.
The New York Tribune in 1885 send out an Inquiring Reporter to find out how many women guests were registered at the city’s four largest hotels.  Out of the first one hundred guests at each hotel he found an average of only eleven women.   The Tribune added that no women traveling alone could find accommodations in any hotel unless she had an introduction or credentials and other evidence of her responsibility.


As the number of women guests increased at the beginning of the 20th century, astute hotel-keepers spruced up their hotels to attract more of them.  The Cincinnati Enquirer reported in 1884:

It is amusing to note the different dodges employed by the managers of the great city caravansaries to please their women guests.  At the most exclusive hotels in Boston it takes the shape of beautiful flowers in vases and jars scattered about the rooms, and the largest numbers of the latest magazines ready to the hand.  At a New York hotel, facing Madison Square, at lunch, when the dossier is brought on, a plate of choice confections is placed before you, and while making use of a finger bowl, the deft-handed waiter whips out a sheet of fresh white paper, twists it with a turn of his hand into a cornucopia, empties the bon-bons into it, and presents it with Oriental obeisance for upstairs consumption.
There is really cleverness in this, for it has put a stop without vulgar remonstrance to the practice of women carting off to their rooms plates loaded with fruit, cakes and candy to nibble between meals.  In another hotel on Madison Square, when a lady is seated in the dining room, the waiter has ready for her feet a dainty tapestry-covered hassock.  No one but a short women, who has spent a portion of her life sitting on the edges of chairs dangling her feet in the air, can fully appreciate this comfort.


In the 1920s, the Aberdeen became the first of a growing number of transient hotels to admit women travelers unaccompanied by men without subjecting them to strict rules.  Most hotels at the time refused to register women arriving alone during the nighttime hours, and did not permit registered female guests to return to the hotel after dark. Some hotels restricted women to particular floors only…. According to Rider’s New York, only the Aberdeen, the Great Northern at 118 W. 57th Street and the Willard Hotel at 252 W. 76th Street treated women as equals to men.

At least three other large women-only hotels were built in New York City:
  • Webster Apartments: 419 West 34th Street; opened in 1916 with 373 rooms.
  • Allerton Hotel for Women: 130 East 57th Street; opened in 1923 with 400 rooms; architect: Arthur Loomis Harris
  • Barbizon Hotel for Women: 140 East 63rd Street; opened in 1927 with 23 floors; architect: Palmer H. Ogden and Everett F. Murgatroyd
4.  New York Times Book Review (12/4/11)

“They were, by definition built to last, and many of them did.  In “Built To Last: 100+ Year-Old Hotels in New York” (AuthorHouse), Stanley Turkel, who (works) in the hotel industry, brings them to life again as they were originally envisioned.
In this passionate and informative book, dotted with (antique postcards), he begins by recalling six classics that figured in his early career, then quotes an 1872 guidebook that proclaims New York “the paradise of hotels.” From the Aberdeen to the Wolcott, the hotels he features- some built as apartment hotels, some converted to apartments- were mostly constructed in the ensuring decades.  Some, fortunately are now officially landmarks.”
To order a copy, visit 

5. Quote of the Month

“One of life’s greatest mysteries is how the boy who wasn’t good enough to marry your daughter can be the father of the smartest grandchild in the world.”

                         Jewish Proverb


Stanley Turkel, MHS, ISHC

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Also See: Nobody Asked me, But...No. 84; EB-5 Visa For Immigrant Investors; The Pistilli Lecture; A NYC Hotel Bargain; 'Built To Last'; Quote of the Month / Stanley Turkel / January 2012

Nobody Asked me, But...No. 83; Congratulations To Lodging Hospitality Editor Ed Watkins; Did You Hear About 'Airbnb'?; A Sows Ears Becomes a Silk Purse; On The Verge; Quote of the Month; Give This Perfect Gift for The Holiday Season / Stanley Turkel / December 2011

Nobody Asked me, But...No. 81; AAHOA Strikes Back; Would You Believe Such a Study? Independent Franchisee Associations On The Rise; Quote of the Month / Stanley Turkel / October 2011

Nobody Asked me, But… No. 80; Impertinent Questions Still in Search of Pertinent Answers; Questions for 32,500 Franchised Hotel Owners; Quote of the Month / Stanley Turkel / September 2011

Nobody Asked me, But… No. 79; Relevant Brand Management?; Save the Belleview Biltmore Hotel; The Magical Americana of New York; Quote of the Month / Stanley Turkel / August 2011

Nobody Asked me, But… No. 78; AAHOA Chairman Hits a Home Run; Universal Franchisee Bill of Rights; HomeSpun; Quote of the Month / Stanley Turkel / July 2011

Nobody Asked me, But... No. 77: Public Relations Trumps Common Sense; Nobody Does It Better; Plaza Hotel’s Oak Room to Close; Pay Attention to State Franchise Laws; Quote of the Month / Stanley Turkel / June 2011

Nobody Asked me, But... No. 76: Empire State Building's 80th Anniversary and the Waldorf-Astoria; "Defying Time: 100+ Year-Old Hotels in New York"; Impertinent Question Seeking a Pertinent Answer; Wyndham Hotel Group Reports; Save the Belleview Biltmore Hotel; Quote of the Month / Stanley Turkel / May 2011

Nobody Asked me, But… No. 75: Blackstone Reportedly Prepping Hilton for Flotation; Things Are Seldom What They Seem, Skim Milk Masquerades As Cream; Quote of the Month; First Announcement / Stanley Turkel / April 2011

Nobody Asked me, But… No. 74: The Triumph of Public Relations; Helpful Hotels; Court Rules Holiday Inn Commits “Reprehensible Fraud”; Quote of the Month / March 2011

Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 73: Impertinent Question Still Seeking a Pertinent Answer; The Fountain of Old Age; Quote of the Month / Stanley Turkel / February 2011

Impertinent Question In Search of a Pertinent Answer; Does The Industry Really Need Another Brand?; Hilton’s Hands Get Slapped in Starwood Settlement; China- Based Developers Buy U.S. Hotels; Quote of the Month / Stanley Turkel / January 2011

Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 71 - Impertinent Questions Still Seeking Pertinent Answers; The Baseball Business…Where Next?; Quote of the Month / Stanley Turkel / December 2010

Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 70 -John Q. Hammons, Impertinent Question, Quote of the Month / Stanley Turkel / November 2010

Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 69 - Large Banks Creating Crisis For Hoteliers; Are Room Telephones Obsolete? / Stanley Turkel / October 2010

Impertinent Questions in Search of Pertinent Answers; The Best Franchise Website; Free Wi-Fi at Top of Amenity List / Stanley Turkel / September 2010

Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 67 : Stanley Turkel's Review of Budget/Economy Hotels Following a Three Week Pennsylvania Road Odyssey / Stanley Turkel / August 2010

Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 66 : Recognizing Three Hotel Industry Experts Whose Accomplishments Are Unique - Bjorn Hanson, Peter Greenberg and Richard Warnick / Stanley Turkel / July 2010

Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 65: A Well-Deserved Compliment for Steve Rushmore; Impertinent Questions in Search of Pertinent Answers / Stanley Turkel / June 2010

Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 64: Best Western Finally Makes a Move; Cuba, The Caribbean’s Hottest Destination / Stanley Turkel / May 2010

Nobody Asked Me, But - No. 63: Can Airlines Learn From Hotels?; Memo to Ian Schrager / Stanley Turkel / April 2010

Nobody Asked Me, But No. 62 / Do the Radisson Franchisees Agree with Carlson's billion-dollar Makeover Program? At Last: A Win-Win Victory for Tourism; Congratulations to the Harris Rosen Foundation / Stanley Turkel / March 2010

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