While attending school during the day to earn a teacher’s certificate, Thomas Leahy worked as a clerk in various New York state hotels and dreamed of owning a hotel of his own. He came to Harbor Springs in 1897 to manage the Roaring Brook Hotel and was joined a year or two later by his three brothers who came to spend the summer. The brothers - Simon, a carpenter, William, a bookkeeper, and Leo, jack of all trades - stayed on.
The Leahy brothers took note of the activity around the depot. There was the little train, the Dummy, coming from Petoskey and returning every thirty minutes. Long Pullmans arrived from Chicago, St. Louis, Cincinnati, and Detroit. Summer cruise ships docked just a block away. The corner of State and Bay Streets was a logical location for a hotel for both summer visitors and local residents. Opening in 1904, the ground floor of the Leahys’ New York Hotel consisted of a large lobby with a bar (for gentlemen only!) on one side and bowling alleys on the other. A large dining room, kitchen and the sleeping rooms were on the second floor. The hotel proved to be a tremendous success.
Times changed, and so did the hotel. The bowling alleys were converted into a theater by Simon Leahy in 1912. Prohibition forced the closing of the bar which then became the dining room. The upstairs dining room was used for parties, dances, and meetings, while the smaller rooms became shops and display rooms.
For a number of years after it ceased to be a hotel, the corner of State and Bay Streets was the location of Johnston’s Coffee Shop and served as a meeting place for the local business community as well as vacationers.
In 1977 the first floor was converted into its present configuration as The New York Restaurant and the second floor was made into residential condominiums.
As owner of The New York Restaurant, I wish to continue the tradition of hospitality which has existed at this location during most of this century. We invite you to enjoy an outstanding meal in these
The history of The New York building has been documented for you by Irene Ayers
of Harbor Springs, daughter of Simon Leahy.