Now & Then: Troger’s Hotel, 92 St. Nicholas Place

Trogers Hotel Harlem

Trogers Hotel Now & Then (ca 1900)
L: Screencapture from Google Maps
R: Photo from mrmhadams.typepad.com

Sugar Hill, a sub-neighborhood within the upper reaches of Harlem, was named thusly to signify its status as home of “the sweet life” in New York’s African-American community. Filled with comfortable apartments and townhomes, it was home to much of the cream of Harlem’s social crop.

Digital I.D. # 2012544

Sugar Hill, to the right of Colonial Park (now Jackie Robinson Park). View looking south on Bradhurst Ave in 1938.
(Photo from NYPL Digital Gallery)

At the northern border of Sugar Hill stood the Polo Grounds, a New York landmark, which served as home field for the New York Giants from 1889 until their move to San Francisco in 1957.

1889 Polo Grounds

An 1889 photograph showing the newly-constructed Polo Grounds at the foot of Coogan’s Bluff. Atop the bluff are the most northern towers of Sugar Hill. At the right, partially hidden by trees, is the Morris-Jumel Mansion.
(Photo from NYPL Digital Gallery)

Running past the Polo Grounds was Harlem River Speedway, a 4-lane dirt road which attracted speed junkies from all over the city, who used this wide, 2.5-mile-long avenue as a racetrack for their horses and carriages. Manhattan society, high and low alike, would line the Speedway to watch the excitement.

1911 Map

A map from 1911 showing the Speedway (upper left), the Polo Grounds (upper right, shown as Manhattan Field), and Troger’s Hotel (bottom center in pink)
(Map from NYPL Digital Gallery)

The crowds attracted by both the Polo Grounds and the Harlem Speedway were all the justification needed to open a hotel and watering hole in the neighborhood. And that’s just what Henry and Fredrick Troger built at 155th Street and St. Nicholas Place, the southern terminus of the Harlem Speedway. For $7,500, the brothers built Troger’s Hotel on land leased from prominent Manhattan landholders Robert and Ogden Goulet.

Trogers with Racetrack

The Harlem Speedway shown circa 1900. Crowds line the street to watch carriages race by. Troger’s Hotel is seen in the background.
(Photo from NYPL Digital Gallery)

With a ready-made clientele regularly pouring in from the ballfield and the racetrack, Troger’s thrived for more than 50 years. In the 1930’s, it changed hands, becoming a second branch of Bowman’s Cafe and Grill. Bowman’s gave way in 1958 to the Bankers’ Lounge which featured prominent jazz acts of the day including Gloria Belle and Kenny Burrell.

Bowmans The New York Age June 26 1937

A blurb in The New York Age announcing the opening of the original Bowman’s on June 26, 1937. The New York Age ran from 1887-1953 and was one of the nation’s most-influential black papers.
(Article pulled from fultonhistory.com)

Today, the time-worn old hotel is home to “Maximum’s Halal Fried Chicken & Pizza” and “Bud’s Sports Bar.” More than a century after it was built in an empty field, whistles continue to be whet at the old Troger’s Hotel.

Trogers Hotel Front

The Troger’s facade as it appears today on St. Nicholas Place.
(Screencapture from Google Maps)

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About keithyorkcity

Name: Keith Age: 20-something Location: New York Passion: History You'll find a million blogs like mine, but mine is better.
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2 Responses to Now & Then: Troger’s Hotel, 92 St. Nicholas Place

  1. Pingback: Sugar Hill, To The Right Of Colonial Park, Harlem 1938 |

  2. Pingback: Troger’s Hotel, 92 St. Nicholas Place in Harlem, 1889 |

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