This is the third part in a series exploring the seedy world of by-the-hour sex hotels. We previously visited the Liberty Inn and the Kew Motor Inn.
Just an hour after a vocal run-in with a pimp at the Kew Motor Inn, my fellow reporter Rachel and I were already embarking on a new adventure: an investigation of La Semana Hotel in Manhattan’s Flatiron district. We still had rattled nerves, and unfortunately, the hotel we were about to visit promised to be even worse than the one before: It is widely known for housing drug addled mentally unstable (and occasionally violent) clientele.
Entrance at the La Semana Hotel; New York, NY
A LOCKED ENTRANCE, DISCARDED MATTRESS, AND THE SMELL OF DECAYING MEAT
The fact that the hotel has a locked front entrance with a doorbell and front desk behind thick glass did nothing to put us at ease. Somewhat unsurprisingly, the bizarre fixation with plastic flowers that we had seen at the Kew Motor Inn was also felt here in the lobby and facade of the building. We paid for our room and were given a key with Mario on it, promoting a family-friendly visit to Nintendo World in Midtown. It was a bizarre choice of advertising to say the least.
Hallways at the La Semana Hotel; New York, NY
We had just started towards our room when we immediately noticed a queen-sized mattress practically blocking the hallway. It was when we stopped to find a path around it that the smell hit us. It’s hard to describe, but it was somewhere along the lines of an old swimming pool, overused tanning salon, moldy locker room, dirty microwave, and most terrifyingly, decaying meat. My fellow reporter Rachel’s face immediately squished up. “Zach,” she said, hear eyes tearing up from the stench, “I don’t know whether I should be afraid or if I should throw up.”
The Standard Room at the La Semana Hotel; New York, NY
BARRED WINDOWS AND HEALTH HAZARDS
Upon opening the door to our room, we felt even less safe than we did during check-in. We were on the ground floor, and the only window overlooked an alley and was covered with bars and barbwire. The stained furniture looked like old garage sale patio furnishings. Light switches weren’t conveniently located, leading to a brief struggle to get situated in an already offsetting space. The room’s only phone, an outdated corded unit, was strangely tucked in an inconvenient spot near the makeshift closet. The exposed cord lazily ran up the wall until it reached a small hole in the ceiling tile.
It was when we followed the telephone cord up the wall when we first noticed the air conditioner. There’s dirty, and then there’s downright filthy: This unit looked worse than an overworked lint trap, jammed full of dust, dirt, and stained by an unknown liquid. The dirt and grime-caked TV remote was the only thing disgusting enough to give the air conditioner a run for its money.
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