Month: November, 2007

Outside in

Thursday, November 1st, 2007 | All Things, Arts

Ye Olde Carlton Arms Hotel on East 25th Street near Third Avenue started as an art project among a group of creative people in the 1980s. The then-new manager Ed Ryan had taken over the former flophouse and hired several of his artist friends to work the front desk; over time, they each began adding their own personal touches to the hotel walls and rooms, and eventually, the idea was born to transform the entire hotel. Dozens of artists from all over the world came to contribute. After Ryan retired in 1998, John Ogren and Ty Inwood took over the Carlton Arms and kept the art project and the budget hotel going. (Room start at $80/night for a single with shared bath.) Today, almost every square inch of the 19th century building interior has been painted or decorated by artists that came from all over the world: all of the 54 rooms, hallways, bathrooms and staircases.

Carlton Arms Hotel

Carlton Arms Hotel

Carlton Arms Hotel

Depending on your perspective, it’s either really fun, or really freaky–as if the old St. Mark’s Place exploded indoors… but without the crack vials and urine stench. Certainly not like any hotel I’ve ever seen or stayed in. And definitely “not for the fainthearted or the humor-free.”

Carlton Arms Hotel

As part of the ongoing commitment to the art, the hotel hired prominent street artist, Billi Kid–along with graffiti artist CERN, photographer Allan Ludwig, published authors-photographers James and Karla Murray, and Carlton Arms veteran Julie Dermansky–to decorate Room 10C completely in graffiti art, dubbing it the “Outside In” room. The results were unveiled at a walk-through reception on November 1.

Carlton Arms Hotel

We passed on the proffered wine; the environs were trippy enough without the introduction of alcohol. Although the highlight of the evening was the special graffiti room on the third floor, attendees were invited to tour all of the hotel’s public spaces and unoccupied rooms, each decorated in their own unique style. Some guests toted around Sharpie pens to mark their visit at the hotel; we caught one guy tagging the fire extinguisher in the hallway, with the management’s apparent blessing. By which I mean that nobody cared enough to stop him.

Check out the rest of the madness on my flickr photo set.

There are 2 comments