HOTEL for AUTOS (May, 1929)

How would they get a car from the back of a row? There is an small automatic parking garage in my neighborhood and it’s pretty complex.

Traffic congestion in New York City has become such a serious problem that a special parking garage, or more properly a hotel for automobiles, is now being erected near Times Square alter the design pictured above. Cars are handled automatically—all the attendants have to do is drive the automobile onto the elevator, press the proper button, and the car is whisked to the correct floor and stored in its individual stall, all without the need of human assistance.

  1. Mike Brown says: March 13, 20129:23 am

    According to a 1983 planning document – http://www.neighborhood… – there were two of these Kent Garages in New York. Wikipedia’s got an article on the system at… which explains it as follows:

    Specifically, cars were handled by an electric parker, a small rubber- tired machine which ran beneath the auto and engaged with the rear axle by means of a rubber-cleated coupler. The parker required approximately fifteen seconds to move sixty feet from an elevator, lift the car, and return with it. It saved time by bringing a car from its parking space and returning it to the ground floor, without starting the motor. The auto rolled on its own wheels but was moved by the parker.

    I’d imaging loading the garage was easy, but much more complex when you had to shuffle cars around to get at that last car in the road.

    In the depths of the Depression the company didn’t last long – completed in 1930, the Kent Automated Garage went bankrupt in September 1931. The facility was operated as a garage under other owners until 1943 – presumably wartime rationing of fuel and rubber made most car owners use public transport – and the building was converted to a warehouse.

  2. Charlene says: March 13, 20129:43 am

    I’m not sure why they need a neon sign, with all those 20th Century Fox-style spotlights pointed at the top of the building. Maybe they were anticipating a visit from King Kong?

  3. Hirudinea says: March 13, 20124:56 pm

    “Hotel for Autos”!? Sounds like they leave a quart of oil on the pillow every night.

    @ Charlene- Well at least he’d have a place to park.

  4. Toronto says: March 13, 20126:55 pm

    I was half expecting to see a car in the ‘rest room’ getting an oil change.

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