Last night Marc Powell contacted me with the sad news that the historic Hotel Pennsylvania in New York City is being town down and replaced by an office tower being built by Vornado Realty Trust, which is slated for completion in 2011.
The Hotel Pennsylvania has the oldest phone number still in use in New York, Pennsylvania 6-5000, the inspiration for the Glenn Miller’s famous song by the same name, which of course later mutated into the films “Transylvania 6-5000”.
Since 1994 The Hotel Pennsylvania has been home to the legendary hacker conference Hackers on Planet Earth (HOPE), which is produced by 2600: The Hacker Quarterly. There’s are several active HOPE forum discussions regarding this news. Here’s a message posted on the forum by 2600’s Emmanuel Goldstein, organizer of the HOPE conference:
First and most important – you may have heard plans announced for the demolition of the Hotel Pennsylvania to be replaced by a huge financial tower. This obviously would be a disaster for us and probably would result in the end of our conferences, at least in New York. For that reason I hope you’ll become involved in upcoming efforts to keep this from happening.
While we all know there are better hotels in the area, there are none we could afford to hold a conference in and probably none our attendees could afford to stay in.
I was only able to attend HOPE once, which was H2K2 in 2002 and I have fond memories of the event. The news of Hotel Pennsylvania’s future destruction has motivated me to dig through the photos I shot at H2K2 and post them online. I have photos of a talks by Rudy Rucker, Jr., Phil “Pud” Kaplan and Jello Biafra.
While at H2K2, several of us, including myself, John Law, Rudy Rucker, Jr. and D.S. Black, decided to explore the roof of the Hotel Pennsylvania. I’ve posted those photos as well.
More coverage on the Hotel Pennsylvania demo from Xeni over at Boing Boing.