I had been thinking about the Pennsylvania hotel recently. I first started thinking about it when I read this: Discovering another vintage two-letter phone exchange on a West Side sign. See the bottom? Things like MU 2-2655 were how phone numbers looked in the Big Apple (and other places too). Forget about area codes like 212.
One of the most famous of these old two letter phone exchanges was PEnnsylvania_6-5000 (PE 6-5000) for two reasons. One, it was the number assigned to one place and one place only: the Pennsylvania hotel. Two, Glenn Miller wrote a famous song about it, called…PEnnsylvania_6-5000. (My Dad loved this song, and whenever I hear the title, I can hear him shouting out with the band: PEnnsylvania 6-5000!).
Sadly, having a storied presence as well as being famous is not enough to survive. The Times has a piece on how its going to be demolished soon. That’s a shame. I hope the don’t regret it like they do the demolition of Penn Station.
As you can see from the photo being held, it was a massive hotel, and one deserving of its own exchange.
I highly recommend you read that piece on it in the Times. It had quite the run.
Now let’s join in with the the Muppets as they do their version of the famous song: