Tesla plaque at the New Yorker Hotel.

Nikola Tesla Died Here

Field review by the editors.

New York, New York

Nikola Tesla may have discovered a way to beam energy through the air and ground, but that secret died with him in his room in The New Yorker hotel in 1943. Poor Tesla had been a permanent resident for years, outcast and reclusive, more familiar to the pigeons than his fellow tenants.

That ended in 2001, when the Yugoslav-American Bicentennial Committee bolted this plaque to the side of the hotel. It calls him a "great Yugoslav-American scientist-inventor" and hails him for "his discoveries in the field of alternating electric current," without going into the details. It's not much of a monument -- a plaque commemorating where you died -- but Tesla fans rejoiced nevertheless.

The fact that the plaque was created by a Bicentennial Committee reveals Telsa's final indignity. The plaque was made in 1976, and meant to be attached to the building in 1977, on the anniversary of Tesla's death. But The New Yorker had been sold to the Moonies, and they apparently didn't like Tesla and refused to accept it.

Nikola Tesla plaque.

It took a couple of decades before the Moonies moved out and the hotel's new management accepted the plaque, which was finally mounted with much fanfare.

Two years later Yugoslavia ceased to exist, but after so much time no one was taking the plaque down again.

Bonus: Tesla lived and worked in what are now rooms 3327 and 3328. The hotel still rents them out to guests, and each is decorated with a couple of Tesla posters. Nicolas Cage stayed in one of them for a night while preparing for his role in The Sorcerer's Apprentice -- as a wizard who hurls balls of lightning.

Also see: Tesla, Everyone's Favorite Mad Scientist

Nikola Tesla Died Here

Address:
305 W. 34th St., New York, NY
Directions:
Plaque mounted on the outside wall of The New Yorker hotel. On the north side of W. 34th St., about a hundred feet west of 8th Ave. and the Tick-Tock Diner on the corner.
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November 22, 2014

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