Monday, August 1, 2011

Adding another piece of the puzzle with a 1963 hotel receipt

Sometimes, within the vast Papergreat ephemera archives, items that once went together become separated. Only a lot of luck and little detective work can get them back together.

Today's post features a reunion of sorts with some pulp artifacts that, put together, tell the partial story of a couple's trip to New York City in 1963.

In September 1963, Mr. and Mrs. Staib of Williamsport, Pennsylvania, embarked upon a Monday-through-Thursday trip to New York City.1

While there, they stayed at the Hotel Edison in midtown Manhattan. That's the piece of the puzzle I recently rediscovered with today's receipt. It documents a three-night stay at Hotel Edison on September 2-4, 1963, for the Staibs.

The two of them stayed in Room 1902, for which they paid $16.50 per night, plus 83 cents tax per night. (That's a tax of 5 percent. Today, the tax rate is a whopping 14.75 percent, plus $3.50 per night.2)

Just to do a little math (always a dangerous thing):
  • If a single night's stay in Hotel Edison cost $17.33 (room plus tax) in 1963, it should cost $122.06 in 2010, according to The Inflation Calculator.
  • However, room rates at Hotel Edison today range from $149 per night (on some August Sunday nights) to $359 per night (on some September Saturday nights).
  • The Hotel Edison rate for Monday, September 5, 2011 -- about 48 years after the Staibs' trip and the same day of the week as their arrival -- is $179. Add in the 14.75% tax and the $3.50 fee, and you get $208.90 for one night. So, hotel rates in New York City are outpacing inflation by a good bit.

The 1963 receipt also notes: "Local phones are normally charged at time of departure. Total are controlled by N.Y. Telephone Co. registers from each room."

Pictured below are the back of the receipt, plus a detail shot of the map of Hotel Edison's location in the Times Square theater district.

And what did the Staibs do during their three-night stay in New York City? Well, one of their outings has already been documented on Papergreat.

On Tuesday, September 3, 1963, the Staibs went on the Rivoli Theatre on Broadway for the matinee showing of "Cleopatra."

Check out their ticket stubs and envelope in this December 2010 post.

Hotel receipts. Movie-ticket stubs. All of them come together to help paint a picture of what a northcentral Pennsylvania couple did for a significant vacation in late-summer 1963.

Today, you'd likely need a small loan to make a similiar three-night trip to the Big Apple (or any major city).

1. My educated guess would be that they traveled by bus. But I don't know for sure. Maybe they took a ride with Edwards Motor Transit Co.
2. My source for New York City hotel tax information is the Tax Foundation.

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