Nikola Tesla’s Home at the New Yorker Hotel
Nikola Tesla is not someone who took up too much mindshare for me till I visited the Tesla Museum in Serbia. It was an eye opening experience where his genius was on full display, and clearly something I have been remiss in keeping up with all these years since Tesla invented Alternating Current, which is used to power our homes, and he also holds the patent for wireless communication.
Nikola Tesla Museum in Belgrade
At the Nikola Tesla Museum, I got to participate in a demonstration of how alternating current works, where a few of us were selected to stand around a transformer and were handed fluorescent lights to hold in our hands that were not connected to anything. As the transformer came on, the tube lights in our hands lit up, which was such a magical experience!
Nikola Tesla Corner in NYC
I headed back to New York, and I have been bumping into all things Tesla since. It started with discovering the Nikola Tesla corner at the corner of Bryant Park at 40th Street and 6th Avenue while walking past it one evening. As Atlas Obscura describes, there’s an urban legend about this being the corner where Tesla used to feed pigeons on his way from the New Yorker Hotel to the New York Public Library. The legend, and I have to think it is one – Tesla loved a white pigeon at this corner romantically. The white pigeon managed to find its way to the New Yorker Hotel with a bright light in its eyes one day, and Tesla knew the pigeon was dying, and took this as an indication that his life’s work was finished. As Atlas Obscura notes, Tesla supposedly said – “I loved that pigeon as a man loves a women, and she loved me. As long as I had her, there was a purpose to my life.” This is what the sign looks like –
Nikola Tesla Room and Study at New Yorker Hotel
So this led me to the New Yorker Hotel, which is situated a neighborhood away from where I live at 34th Street and 8th Avenue, and a block that I cross often. I went on to learn that Tesla lived at the hotel for the last 10 years of his life from 1933 till his passing in 1943, and the New Yorker Hotel has named his room and study after him. I heard from someone that works at the hotel, Tesla’s obsession with the numbers 3-6-9 had him walk around the hotel/block three times before going in, and his room was 3327 which is a multiple of 3.
Here is what his room looks like today, the study was busy so that is on my obsessively must get to pending list for the future –
Here are some pictures from Nikola Tesla’s room at the New Yorker Hotel:
Nikola Tesla at New Yorker Hotel History Exhibit
While I understand that not everyone will have access to see the Tesla room and study at the New Yorker Hotel unless you book the room for a night, the hotel honors Tesla’s legacy at the hotel with a full corner dedicated to him at the New Yorker Hotel History Exhibit which is open to all in the basement of the Hotel with an escalator going down to it from the lobby. This exhibit has fascinating insight into his time at the New Yorker, including pictures of dignitaries visiting him at his hotel room and study, and items that he used during his stay there.
What is ironic is that I believe the hotel is in the process of converting the DC elevators to AC, which would probably have Tesla turning in his grave given he invented AC and these elevators look like they may have been around during his time. But as the saying goes, better late than never.
So long till the next time I can get access to more of Nikola Tesla’s legacy at the New Yorker Hotel.