Inside the loo in the famed New York Athletic Club hangs this intriguing bit of engraved marble that, apparently, has been salvaged from The Grand Union Hotel. It reads as follows:
“The Meanest Man
in the United States
occasionally visits this Toilet Room.
He always carries away as a souvenir, either a coat
hook, doorlock, or paper holder and often several of each.
He would take the marble slabs if they were not made fast.
We guarantee this man a warm reception
if we get hold of him.
Ford & Co.
Grand Union Hotel.”
Owned by Simeon Ford (PDF) — a man with a healthy sense of humor — the Grand Union Hotel was popular around the turn of the 20th century (and according to my research still appears to be in business on 32nd Street). While it is not entirely clear as to why or how this curious bit of history made its way to the NYAC, it’s certainly good for a laugh.