Positively New Jersey: Motel owner goes viral with TikTok videos

Bryan Arya found an outlet for his talents and massive audience by telling those stories and his own on TikTok.

News 12 Staff

Dec 10, 2022, 3:52 AM

Updated 496 days ago

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A New Jersey motel owner is gaining popularity on social media with his TikTok account focused from an unlikeliest of places -- the Lincoln Tunnel motel.
Bryan Arya grew up living in the North Jersey budget motels his family owned.
He left the Garden State for California in his early 20s with dreams of comedy stardom and had no intentions to come back to a glassed-in office and a screen of security camera feeds.
But Los Angeles didn't work out and he found himself on the night shift of the $80 a night Lincoln Tunnel Motel on Tonnelle Avenue in North Bergen.
The motel has served as a home for a few hours or a few years to people on the margins of society.
"And collecting all these experiences, all these stories, I've experience it all life and death and people needing thigs," Arya says.
Arya found an outlet for his talents and massive audience by telling those stories and his own on TikTok. The married father of four and son of immigrants now has almost 1 million followers for his account, LT Motels.
"Telling my story about this business, which is amazing. It's an amazing, like stable thing that's helped my family... and I get to represent for them in a lot of ways," he adds.
Arya gets to represent the people who stay there. About six of the 41 rooms are filled by people he lets stay for free.
"They just need a room. They just need a place," Arya says. But in LT Motels videos, those shadowy figures that are only seen from cars emerge as people with rich lives and great characters.
"And I've been able to listen to them and now with the video and the content I've been able to tell these stories and that it's super important to care for these people," Arya says.
It's the story of the American Dream and its underbelly, playing out in one Jersey motel told by the only person fit to tell it: The guy at the front desk.


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