Past Uncovered: The Hotel GranadaOctober 22, 2007
The Hotel Granada (pictured left, in the 1950s, courtesy of Brooklyn Public Library) once stood 16 stories tall at 268 Ashland Place between Lafayette and Fulton. Completed in 1927 (according to this DOB document), it immediately became a stomping ground for the borough’s wealthier residents and their visitors. Brooklynites celebrated weddings and other milestones in its Forsythia Room. Well into the 1960s, the hotel was a favored venue for events in the area. (A commenter in this Brownstoner post claims that visiting baseball teams used to stay there when playing the Dodgers.)
Fort Greene resident James Irons, who moved into the neighborhood in 1970, told me about the hotel at that time in a recent email:
By then was very quiet. There was a restaurant on the ground floor on the corner, the Gondola I believe. Used to see proper old white ladies going in for an afternoon cocktail and meal with their white gloves and hats. As the area declined there were ideas about turing the hotel into student housing for arts students in conjunction with BAM. Nothing came of the idea and the hotel changed hands and became one of the areas welfare hotels. It was renamed the Brooklyn Arms and the ground floor was converted into a laundromat.
Indeed, by the early 70s, the hotel had begun its transformation into a welfare hotel, one of over 60 that would eventually dot the city. In the mid-1980s, the hotel had become a notorious blight to the struggling-to-imrove neighborhood. BAM in particular took issue with the Granada (by this time called the Brooklyn Arms), which sat caddy corner to the academy and whose residents, as described in this New York Times article, intimidated concertgoers and created a general atmosphere of unwelcomeness as the venue strove to attain world-class status. The resentment of hotel residents toward well-heeled BAM patrons is not surprising, given the inhumane living conditions in the once grand building; no hot water, roach and rodent infestation, toilet paper shortages, broken elevators, large families in single rooms, and rampant drug dealing.
In July, 1989, the last homeless family moved out of the Granada, as the city of New York closed down its countless welfare hotels. After that, all that remained was one man who had lived in a rent-controlled apartment in the hotel for decades and could not be forced out. In 1994, the Hotel Granada’s legacy came to an unceremonious close as the hotel was demolished and the site turned into a parking lot for BAM.
Granada then (Courtesy of Brooklyn Pix):
More pics of the Hotel Granada:
Street view from the early 1960s, with BAM (hotel is near left)
I’ll be posting more as I come across them.