In 1993 this hotel, now an office building, was declared an #NYClandmark. But, what makes the history of the Hotel Theresa so interesting? The Harlem hotel was opened in 1913 by a German immigrant named Gustavus Sidenberg (his wife was named Theresa). It was primarily an apartment hotel, but also accepted short term guests. Additionally, at the time it was the tallest building in Harlem. Initially the hotel, like many establishments of the time, was white only but it was bought in 1937 by Love B. Woods, an African American businessman, who in ended its racial segregation policy 1940. It became known as the “Waldorf of Harlem” and was integrated when most mid-Manhattan hotels would allow African Americans to perform in their venues but not to stay or use their facilities. Over the years, the Theresa became the place to stay for visiting artists, celebrities, and politicians. #FidelCastro famously stayed there in 1960 while visiting for his UN address. While he was there Nikita Khrushchev, Jawaharlal Nehru, and Malcolm X all came to visit. That same year #JFK made a campaign stop at the hotel accompanied by Eleanor Roosevelt and Congressman Adam Clayton Powell Jr. As he said that night, “I am delighted to come to Harlem and I think the whole world should come here and the whole world should recognize that we all live right next to each other, whether here in Harlem or on the other side of globe.”
Byron Company (New York, N.Y.)
Hotel Theresa, Seventh Ave. & 125th Street.