Building History Timeline

Political Radicals

Ivan Ivanovich Norodny (1906)

Seeks Help From America: Chief of Russian Military Revolutionary Party in New York

The World today says: - Ivan Ivanovich Norodny, chief executive commissioner of the Russian Military Revolutionary Party, is here to establish headquarters in American for the revolution. He comes to solicit one million signatures to a petition to the Czar praying for liberty, justice and amnesty. He comes upon a mission of education: to disavow the bloody acts of Terrorists… “I come to solicit names,” said he last night, while seated in his rooms in the new Hotel Albert.

Maxim Gorky (1906)

The Albert must have had a reputation for such guests, because earlier that same year it was rumored that Russian author and revolutionary Maxim Gorky might be staying at the hotel:

Maxim Gorky was to have been the guest of honor yesterday at a luncheon at the Aldine Club, 111 Fifth Avenue. The luncheon was held without the Russian author. He sent his regrets five days ago. Gorky is said to be living at the Hotel Albert, Twelfth Street [sic] and University Place. This the hotel proprietor denies.

Wolfe Lindenfeld (1921)

Connected to the investigation of the 1921 explosion on Wall Street:

William J. Burns, Director of the Bureau of Investigation of the Department of Justice...said that Wolfe Lindenfeld, the suspect arrested in Warsaw in connection with the Wall Street bomb explosion “was not implicated in the plot except that he knew about it.

“Lindenfeld is one of these fellows who believes in revolution by pacific methods, not by direct action. There is no question that he was the representative of the Soviet Government in this country at the time of the explosion.” ... Mr. Burns said that after the war Lindenfeld was a spy for the Burns Detective Agency, and that he was familiar with all the prominent radicals in this country. [His lawyer said:] “..the last time I heard from him he said he was stopping at the Hotel Albert, University Place and Eleventh Street.... He was reported to have told ...friends of information acquired in this country regarding the persons responsible for the explosion.... He also was reported to have declared that he had obtained credentials that would admit him as a delegate to the Third Internationale in Moscow and that he expected to meet the bomb plotters at the convention and point them out to United States Government agents who would meet him there.

John Thomas Scopes (1925)

Scopes – the Dayton, Tennessee school teacher whose attempt to teach evolution, subsequent trial (the “Scopes monkey trial”), and defense by Clarence Darrow, were portrayed in the film Inherit the Wind – came to New York in 1925 in advance of the trial searching for supporters, and met Darrow for the first time. Speaking to reporters, he said:

“…I’ll be glad to get back to Dayton. They are all my friends down there, in spite of everything.” To another he said: “It’s got to be a jury trial, and it’s pretty hard in Tennessee to find twelve men who wouldn’t want to convict me.” Scopes prudently reserved comment on skyscrapers, flappers, and Mayor John F. Hylan. He finally fled to the sanctuary of the Hotel Albert, north of Washington Square.

John J. Huber (1949)

FBI agent who infiltrated the American Communist Party:

Even while Russia was a wartime ally of the United States, the Communist “high command” was laying plans for widespread industrial sabotage in case of an East-West war, a Senate committee revealed yesterday. Testimony, given in closed session by John J. Huber, who said he had spent nine years in the Communist Party as an FBI agent, was released by Senator McCarran (D., Nev.). McCarran is chairman of a Senate Judiciary subcommittee which has been studying legislation designed to bar subversive allies from the U.S. and deport those already here. Huber also testified that, despite general belief to the contrary, the Communist Party counts more than one million members and sympathizers in this country and their number is growing.... [Huber] attended a secret meeting at the Albert Hotel in New York November 15, 1945, where he heard a party official impartially curse Trotskyites, the “old leadership” of the party and FBI undercover agents.

Harvey Matusow (1950s)

Informant for the FBI:

In 1950, he was living with an African-American divorcee and took a job with a Harlem collection agency. The party accused him of “white chauvinism” and demoted him. In a fit of pique, Matusow went to the New York office of the FBI in late March and said he was a disillusioned Communist who wanted to be an undercover informant. He was paid $75 a month to cover expenses and named several hundred persons he knew in the party. Assistant Attorney General William F. Tomkins later said that corroboration had been found for 90 percent of those he named.

In the summer of 1950, Matusow met Craig Vincent at a party affair at the Hotel Albert in New York City. Vincent operated a dude ranch for comrades in the mountains of New Mexico and was recruiting guests. Matusow was invited and went in July.

Elia Katz (1971)

A description of the author’s experience in America’s communes:

We had a better idea – yes. If you want to know about the USA then read Life and look at the pictures. If you want to write a book, then go to a hotel and do it. So that is what we did.

We spent the next week in New York, at the Hotel Albert on 10th Street, in various attempts to create the national commune experience on dark blind tape, humming, glossy, out of our mouths onto the tape. Rateyes would talk, then I would talk, stupidly, fervently, creating American sunshine, American landscapes, mountains, trees, rivers, American men and women, parties, adventures, adding, adding, always adding, data and data, stolen from pamphlets and magazines, made up – like maniacs in deepest dreamy dreamland - to make a mental America, a place that was poured from out of ourselves, taped, given existence. Ours.

The room was green, small and comfortable like the inside of an unopened gift. the furniture was painted with light green-flecked paint, the beds were covered with beige poplin spreads, all stained, ripped, soft, moist, and the hotel smelled like a hospital and had signed photos of rock and roll bands that have stayed there and failed, some long ago, some recently (determined from the hairstyles of the groups - before the Beatles, after the Beatles) all preserved above the front desk, over the mailboxes, the way some delicatessens have their pix of comedians. To this place we brought our new pound of grass, five hundred dollars’ worth of cocaine, our wholesale-bought tape recorders and blank cassettes, and we made every effort, every effort. Our idea was to finish this book in a week, hold it for a couple of months, bring it back to the publisher and get the rest of the advance. Isn’t that grotesque? We interviewed each other. I was us and Rateyes was the young hippie chick; Rateyes was us and I was the guru; I was us and Rateyes was an ex-Green Beret in the Berkeley Hills, teaching his commune how to shoot guns.

John Gates (1958)

Editor of the Daily Worker:

John Gates, for ten years editor of The Daily Worker, announced yesterday his resignation from the Communist Party. At the same time he quit his editorship. His action further fragments the much-splintered American Communist party. The resignation of many supporters of Mr. Gates, including most of the remaining members of The Daily Worker’s staff, is expected soon.... He told reporters at the Albert Hotel that the first thing he was going to do was “to rejoin the American people” and “find out what Americans are thinking about.”

Farrell Dobbs (1960)

Presidential candidate of the Socialist Workers party:

Farrell Dobbs, Presidential candidate of the Socialist Workers party said here yesterday that both major parties had a “hostile foreign policy” that pointed toward nuclear disaster. He proposed his American Trotskyite slate as an alternative for independent voters, especially young people... The party is on the ballot in five states and is trying to get on in fifteen others, including New York. Mr. Dobbs and his running mate, Mrs. Myra Tanner Weiss, appeared at a press conference at the Commodore Hotel and later at a rally at the Albert Hotel.

Progressive Labor party (1965)

New party founded at the Albert:

A new party of “revolutionary socialism” was formally founded here yesterday under the name of the Progressive Labor party. The party, an outgrowth of the Progressive Labor Movement, was officially formed at the end of a four-day convention at the Albert Hotel, 23 East 10th Street.

Pro-Chinese Reds in U.S. Hold Confab. The Harlem headquarters of the Progressive Labor Movement maintained an official silence Friday on reports that a new U.S. Communist party is being founded at a closed-door convention here. The New York Times reported Thursday that a new party, committed to the Red Chinese “hard” line, is being sponsored by the PLM, whose top leaders have often been connected with leftist causes. A spokesman at the Harlem headquarters said no information would be given out until some time Sunday afternoon. He confirmed, however, that leaders of the movement are attending a conference at the Hotel Albert.

Mary Heaton Vorse

Before we listed the house for rent we had a renter. It was Mary Heaton Vorse, an old radical, a writer for women’s magazines and of novels about the labor movement. She also had a great capacity for drink. When she walked into the kitchen she said the house reminded her of her own in Provincetown. She spoke in a slow honey-tinged New England voice. She said so deliberately that we missed it, “Yes, it is right.” Then she asked if we could move her from the Hotel Albert. When? Now.

People’s Radio Foundation

As described in The Afro-American:

New York Items:

The People’s Radio Foundation, Inc., which seeks to buy and set up a radio station for broadcasting programs that never get through the sponsors, has moved to the Hotel Albert. Dean Dixon is one of the sponsors, along with Howard Fast and Margaret Halsey. About $100,000 is needed, and half of that amount has already been subscribed. You can buy a share for $100. Programs will stress interracial unity and the brotherhood of man.

Charles S. Johnson (1938)

The Albert’s appeal to radicals might have included its policy – continued from the days of the St. Stephen – of not refusing entrance to the hotel on racial grounds. In 1938, the Amsterdam News reported that Dr. and Mrs. Charles S. Johnson, of Fisk University,

…are residing at Hotel Albert, 65 University place, where they have an apartment. Dr. Johnson, head of the department of social sciences at Fisk , is one of the co-directors of the Institute of Race Relations at N.Y.U.