Tag Archives: American Seamen’s Friend Society Sailors’ Home and Institute

Jane Hotel

Jane Hotel, built in 1908 as the American Seamen’s Friend Society Sailors’ Home and Institute, once hosted Titanic survivors. It was designed by William A. Boring, who was also the architect for Ellis Island’s immigration station. Restored in 2008, the Jane Hotel now hosts financial survivors – in tiny rooms with shared bath priced as low as $79 per night.

The distinctive octagonal tower originally had a beacon, to welcome sailors. The beacon is gone, but other nautical connections remain. For starters, Jane Hotel rooms are called cabins. How tiny? A “remarkably cozy” 50 square feet. Some with bunk beds. The New York Times quipped, Popeye Slept Here and Now Olive Oyl Can, Too. the developers, Sean MacPherson and Eric Goode, also run the Maritime Hotel – a former sailor’s hostelry run by the National Maritime Union.

In 1931 the Home and Institute was downgraded to annex status, and in 1944 the YMCA took over the property, removing the beacon in 1946. Also in 1946, YMCA sold the building; it changed hands several more times over the years, finally becoming Riverview Hotel before MacPherson and Goode took over. (See the Corbin Plays portfolio for historic photos of the building with beacon. The PreservationNation Blog has current interior photos.)

In the 1970s and until 2005, the Jane Street Theater called this home.

The Greenwich Village waterfront now attracts joggers instead of sailors. The Jane Hotel is an architectural reminder of New York’s history as a seaport – and a haven (says the hotel) for travelers “with more dash than cash.”

Jane Hotel Vital Statistics
Jane Hotel Recommended Reading

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