The Man Who Invented the 20th Century

Nikola Tesla at the New Yorker Hotel

Nikola Tesla, the famous inventor and electrical genius who invented electricity as we know it today, spent the last 10 years of his life in New York at the New Yorker Hotel from 1934 until his death in 1943. He occupied two adjoining rooms, 3327 and 3328, which are still in use at the hotel and called the Nikola Tesla Room and Nikola Tesla Study at the New Yorker Hotel.  

I’ve had the privilege of visiting the room that Nikola Tesla called home, and while today it may seem modest for the man that invented the 20th century, it is important to see them in context as the New Yorker Hotel was ahead of its time as one of the most technologically advanced hotels in the world during his stay there.

Room 3327 of the New Yorker Hotel

The New Yorker Hotel is ironically situated very close to where I live at 34th Street and 8th Avenue in Manhattan, and is a block that I cross often. Tesla’s hotel room number at the New Yorker Hotel was 3327, and the hotel has named it The Nikola Tesla Room in his honor. Room 3328, which is adjacent to this, was his study, and is named The Nikola Tesla Study even today.

Here is what Tesla’s room looks like today at the hotel. It is in use and can be booked by guests at the New Yorker, which is now called the Wyndham New Yorker Hotel.

Here are some pictures from inside the Nikola Tesla Hotel Room:

Nikola Tesla 369 Theory

Tesla was known to have an obsession with the numbers 3, 6, and 9. He believed that these numbers held a special significance and that they were the key to understanding the universe. He once said, “If you only knew the magnificence of the 3, 6 and 9, then you would have a key to the universe.”

I heard from someone that works at the hotel that Tesla’s obsession with the numbers 3-6-9 had him walk around the hotel/block three times before going in. Also, his room was 3327, which is a multiple of 3.

Nikola Tesla 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 Nikola Tesla photos with dignitaries visiting him at his hotel room and study, handwritten letters on Hotel New Yorker letterhead, 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.

Nikola Tesla Corner in NYC

New York honors Tesla’s legacy in many ways, another of which is the Nikola Tesla corner at the corner of Bryant Park at 40th Street and 6th Avenue. 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 Museum in Belgrade

As a fun fact, I have had the opportunity to visit the Nikola Tesla Museum in Belgrade, where I got to participate in a demonstration of how alternating current works. It was really fun to be selected to stand around a transformer and 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!

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Avatar for Hanit Gyani

Hi, I'm Hanit Gyani, a full time professional by day and a blogger by night and weekend. Welcome to my blog, aka my passion project, Gotta Love New York.

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