The 54-room, five story building has been a hotel for most of its 100-odd years. According to blueprints, there were originally two contiguous buildings put together at the beginning of this Century when, still lit by gas, the hotel clientele were mostly farmers and business men from New Jersey and Connecticut looking for a hearty meal and a warm and safe place to sleep. They were able to keep their carriages and horses in a huge barn right next door on 25th Street.
During Prohibition, the neighborhood was mostly Irish working class and the new elevated subway passed right in front on 3rd Avenue. When Prohibition started and illegal boozing went on everywhere in the city, the hotel lobby was converted into a speak-easy and big money card games were played in the rooms upstairs.
Later on and with the opening of a few fancy restaurants that changed the face of the hood, The Carlton Arms became a fancy and respectable hotel. But not for long. Along with the ’50s and travelers wanting hotels with private showers and amenities, the place started to turn sleazy, a hang out for drag queens, prostitutes and drug addicts.