In part adapted from Wikipedia.
Gilsey House was designed by Stephen Decatur Hatch for Peter Gilsey, a Danish immigrant merchant and city alderman. It was constructed from 1869 to 1871 at the cost of $350,000, and opened in 1872.
The hotel was luxurious – the rooms featured rosewood and walnut finishing, marble fireplace mantles, bronze chandeliers and tapestries. It was a favorite of Diamond Jim Brady and Oscar Wilde, Samuel Clemens was a guest, and it attracted the theatrical trade at a time when the area – which became known as the Tenderloin – was becoming the primary entertainment and amusement district for New York’s growing population, with numerous theaters, gambling clubs and brothels.
- the infamous Haymarket saloon
- the White Elephant Gambling Resort,
- Shang Draper’s Saloon
- Crawley’s Pool Hall,
- Kirby’s Gambling Resort
- John Sullivan’s Saloon.
- A block east on Fifth Avenue the wealthy still held sway. Note also the Knickerbocker Club and a number of prominent churches.