Friday, November 24, 2006

D-Lux Motel, Oak Lawn, Illinois

I have a longstanding fascination with seedy hotels. Depending on your part of the country, the word may be “seedy”, “shady”, “sketchy” or “skeezy”. But you know the concept, and you know the places. Most likely, your town has one…or a few.

I am not quite sure why I have this fascination. I think it stems from my fascination with all things mysterious. What goes on behind the closed doors of these places of respite – places that have all the makings of short-stay lodging but often have people who live in them, or use them as some kind of base for exploits of the criminal kind, from prostitution to drugs to much, much more nefarious doings.

In Austin, Texas, there are many of them on Lamar Boulevard and Congress Avenues and in Orlando, Florida they line Orange Blossom Trail from one end to the other. In New York City they are scattered far and wide through all five boroughs. In Winston-Salem, North Carolina they are on the outskirts of downtown on Broad Street and the appropriately named Shady Lane that is surrounded by churches. And as I discovered during my recent trip to Chicago, there is even one in the relatively affluent suburb of Oak Lawn, right across the street from the Hilton.

I mentioned to a friend of mine years ago that I was going to create a coffee table book based on the seediest hotels in this country. Each subject would be photographed, profiled, and written up for a nice size book that may not be of general interest, but would be interesting to say the least. He still asks me about it sometimes. Of course I have a million good ideas but ideas don’t make themselves concrete. So I figure I could just turn this idea into some blog entries…when in doubt, put it on the blog, right?

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you: The D-Lux Motel. Note the selling point here is “mirrored waterbeds”. I wish I had had time to photograph the A-frame building, the brick-wall-enclosed parking area with the other signage, and that I’d had a better camera than my cell phone with me. Nonetheless, this is number one in what I hope becomes a large collection of intriguing, disgusting, dangerous places to lay your head.

Related: Seedy Theaters


ronn said...

Great idea. I've had a mild obsession with seedy hotels. I want to visit the one near La Guardia recently profiled in the Times (it's a haven for refugees in transit to their new homes here in the States). Of course, once I visit one, I'll probably change my mind.

Stroll said...

Well I've done some investigative "field research" during my travels, and it only fueled the interest. I'll have to look up that Times article. Thanks for your comment!