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New York, New York

New Yorker Hotel

The New York hotel where tragic visionary Nikola Tesla spent his final hours, destitute and alone but for the pigeons. 

No one knows exactly how it happened or how it could have been helped, but one thing we all know for sure is that the way Nikola Tesla’s life ended was tragic.

This brilliant innovator, outstanding intellectual, and visionary fondly known now as the “man who invented the twentieth century,” died alone and destitute, never to enjoy the fruits of his labor or wide recognition for his genius. Tesla, Father of (insert countless groundbreaking inventions here), ended his life alone and broke at the New Yorker Hotel, in Suite 3327.

These days, Suite 3327 has a plaque bearing Tesla’s name, and a second plaque honoring him graces the exterior of the hotel. Engineers, scientists, geeks, UFO enthusiasts, and other admirers all make the pilgrimage here to pay homage to the “mad” scientist who changed the world before the world was ready. Tesla spent ten years in this room, slowly losing his mind, falling in love with pigeons, and occasionally meeting with dignitaries.

Besides being the place Nikola laid his head to rest for the last time on this earthly plane, the dour room on the 33rd floor is also the site of a conspiracy. Tesla kept a safe in this suite, and it’s where he stored his most controversial and important scientific papers. One of the more intriguing inventions was “Tesla’s Death Ray,” the culmination of his work on particle beams. While he had shopped the weapon unsuccessfully to several governments both as the “Death Ray” and the “Peace Ray,” he swore it could not be stolen as the blueprints were only in his head. In his words: “[The nozzle would] send concentrated beams of particles through the free air, of such tremendous energy that they will bring down a fleet of 10,000 enemy airplanes at a distance of 200 miles from a defending nation’s border and will cause armies to drop dead in their tracks.”

On the day after Tesla died, his nephew hurried to the New Yorker and upon arrival found that his uncle’s notebooks and several papers had been removed from Suite 3327, along with the inventor’s body. A short time later, all of his work was impounded and passed through a handful of government agencies until the War Department deemed them worthy of “Top Secret” status.

Some believe he was murdered by the FBI, despite his age and health being consistent with a natural death; some think he was an alien, and he simply returned to the mothership. The rest who mourn the loss of the quirky Serbian genius feel a palpable sadness knowing that the “man who invented the 20th century” left this life mad and misunderstood, sharing his bread and honey with the pigeons, fading in a lonely New York hotel room.

Know Before You Go

This 1929 Art Deco icon currently operates as The New Yorker, A Wyndham Hotel. Located in Midtown West, it offers upscale rooms and suites (including infamous suite 3327), 24-hour dining at Tick Tock Diner, event space, and birdseye views of central New York City from the Sky Lounge.