by Kevin Walsh

I have chronicled the various Statue of Liberty knockoffs around town since the very beginnings of Forgotten New York over 20 years ago, most notably the 37-foot high replica that was originally on the former Liberty Storage building on West 64th Street near Lincoln Center. The SOL has a unique profile and the real thing and its imitations can be spotted from miles away.

The same can be said of the gargantuan Eiffel Tower in Paris, which I have never seen in person, having never been to France, Who knows? One of these days. But I was shuffling around the old World’s Fair grounds and was making my way south of the Long Island Expressway when I caught sight of the unmistakable shape of the Eiffel Tower on a rooftop.

It is on a rooftop at Horace Harding Expressway, as the LIE is known in NYC, and Saultell Street in Corona. Not just any rooftop but the Paris Suites Hotel! I don’t know the exact height of the replica but it must be a good ten feet high.

Not only is there an Eiffel on the roof, there are several Eiffels displayed on the ground floor of the building. From what I gather, the rooftop Eiffel has been there quite some time and survived a complete building makeover several years ago that added a couple of floors.

photo: Christina Wilkinson

I do not know what color the original Eiffel lights up at night. Probably a variety of colors that get changed every night to commemorate something or other, like the King of All Buildings, the Empire State, or even the New Kosciuszko Bridge. This one lights up green.

So what is the Paris Suites Hotel? I did not brave a visit. However, the late great Bill Helmreich did, and recounts the experience in his book The Queens Nobody Knows. Let me quote him here…

Me, I tend to stay out of hot sheets joints. There’s a hotel on Greenpoint Avenue across the street from Calvary Cemetery called the City View Inn. When I was writing the Forgotten NY The Book in the 2000s, I wanted to research the place and called the hotel number. “Got anything with a city view?” I asked in all curiosity. The receptionist hung up.

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Saima December 8, 2021 - 9:19 am

I always see this when on the LIRR and am so glad you wrote about it. It’s a fascinating place.

Sunnysider December 8, 2021 - 10:47 am

The real Eiffel Tower was supposed to be a temporary structure. It was also considered a great big, ugly eyesore by Parisians at the time. Of course, it’s impossible to imagine Paris without it now. I used to be able to see it from the other side of the city from my apartment window when I lived there. Eiffel Tower to the West, Sacred Heart to the North, Montparnasse Tower to the South. Fun days.

therealguyfaux December 9, 2021 - 12:27 pm

One of the biggest and most audacious con jobs ever was a 1920’s mountebank named Count Victor Lustig selling the Eiffel Tower for scrap, not once but twice. It was well-known in the interwar Paris that the then-30-odd-year-old needed a LOT of maintenance work on it. Lustig’s con amounted to telling his prospective marks that “Keep this under your hat, OK? The government has decided that it’s just cheaper to tear the thing down and be done with it. They’re soliciting bids, but very discreetly…”, and Lustig intimated that he had an “in” and could assure that a bidder would get the contract, but, y’know, Lustig would need to be compensated under the table for this service….

redstaterefugee December 8, 2021 - 11:04 am

Many years ago (pre-21st century) WABC Eye Witness News featured an attractive young blonde who devoted an entire segment about Paris Suites. However, she never mentioned the dark side of the place. The segment conveyed the attitude that it was quaint, chic, & an interesting place for tourists & a date night venue for New Yorkers. Apparently, no one at channel 7 did the research that you & Helmreich did. When this feature originally aired NYC was the safest big city in the USA but clearly, all of that ended in 2014. According to the NY Post, only 24% of NYC registered voters participated in the recent mayoral election. Elections have consequences, especially for those who don’t participate. If you can, vote with your feet as did I in 2005.

chris December 8, 2021 - 4:32 pm

Lots of people complain about being dissapointed by the size of the Statue of Liberty,
(“I thought it was bigger than that”) and other things like the Grand Canyon,etc. but the
Eiffel Tower does not dissapoint in that area.

Peter December 8, 2021 - 9:50 pm

Unlike the real one in Paris, this one is not surrounded by street vendors selling almost comically schlocky light-up models of the tower (“one Euro, just one Euro!”)


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