Deadly Hotels

by Ralph Martin


The soaring brick Park Central Hotel (formerly the Park Sheraton), across the street from Carnegie Hall, once had one of New York's more elegant barbershops. With a wall of mirrors, lined with rows of scissors, razors, and hair tonic, reflecting swiveling barber chairs and a tiled floor, this cleanest of rooms was also the stage for one of the city's most famous mob murders. On October 25, 1957, Albert Anastasia, creator of the long-running Gambino crime family and former head of the prolific Murder, Inc., gang, had his eyes closed and neck exposed ready for a shave when three gunmen burst in the door from the street and shot him several times. Anastasia reportedly lunged at the mirror, mistaking his assassins' reflections for the real thing, before collapsing on the floor and ending up in one of the great crime-scene photos of all time (pictured). And as if that were not enough bad karma for one hotel, the Park Sheraton had already seen a major league mob murder. In 1928, Arnold Rothstein, one of the key players in the fixing of the 1919 World Series and the model for the Jewish mobster Meyer Wolfsheim in The Great Gatsby, was found bleeding in the hotel's service entrance. Rothstein was a gangster to the end: When the police asked him, on his deathbed two days later, to identify his killers, he said, "My mother did it."

Park Central Hotel
Tel: 212 247 8000

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