This hotel has always had a top location, right off graceful Washington Square Park, but today has a decor to match, filled with Art Deco touches and paintings, murals, and photos that pay homage to the many stars who stayed here over the years. Built in 1904, it served as a second home for many top vaudeville and Broadway performers until the '50s, when it devolved into a rather seedy apartment hotel housing a number of struggling artists, actors, and musicians, including Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, Barbra Streisand, Bill Cosby, and Phyllis Diller. Legend has it that the Mamas and the Papas wrote "California Dreamin’" on a gray winter day at the Washington Square. The rooms, though small, are smartly designed with cushy duvets, rich jewel-colored walls, and space-saving features (such as the wall-mounted TV) that make the rooms appear slightly bigger than they actually are.
- Pauline Frommer