You’d be forgiven for being confused, but yes – there are now four Moxy hotels in Manhattan alone. Yet there has been a detectable sense of evolution with each, as we were made keenly aware as soon we entered the lobby lounge area of the new Moxy East Village. Here, the hotel exhibited its cool with more of a laidback aplomb, less attention-seeking brazenness.
But we were also intrigued its position along E. 11th Street, as the EVill hasn’t really had a notable hotel opening in what seems like a decade – unless you count the conversion of the Gotham into the Standard East.
Sufficiently piqued, we checked in to the Moxy EV to check it out. Here’s what we loved.
The Moxy is literally across the street from Webster Hall, where we misspent most of our young adulthood, watching bands like Placebo and The Jesus & Mary Chain shake polite society to its foundations. And the East Village will always be that place where the underground is still stirring things up below the onslaught of unnecessary condo towers now dotting its streets. So, when visiting, make sure to skip the twee hipster hangs, to instead catch the next David Byrne or Deborah Harry at Webster, Bowery Electric or the Mercury Lounge. Or just dance the outré night away at Coney Island Baby.
Hotels love to peddle those river views, or the possibility of glimpsing the Empire State Building from your bed. But to look out upon the quintessential NYC tableau, this is the place to be. The ramshackle charms of the East Village never fail to warm our hearts – and outside the Moxy’s windows you can take in the helter-skelter mix of 19th and 20th Century architecture, most of it endearingly grubby.
Inside the rooms, Moxy worked their spatial magic once again, making a comfortably manageable situation out of a relatively small amount of space, and doing it in style – especially in the retro-cool bathrooms. (Eco-conscious points for having eliminated the tiny plastic toiletries bottles.)
Alphabet Cafe and Bar
It’s true, we do go on endlessly about the awful music selection chosen for play in the endless proliferation of replica hipster cocktail bars. So imagine our thrill when we sauntered into the Moxy’s lounge area to the sounds of Teardrop Explodes’ “Reward,” a post-punk obscurity exhibiting the particularly excellent taste of anyone who playlists it. This continued on (love that Talking Heads track…) as we later pulled up a seat at the Alphabet Bar, which is essentially an extension of said lounge area.
It’s actually quite a social/epicurean scene in the space all day, from the bacon pissaladiere (courtesy of the well curated grab-and-go counter) we enjoyed there for lunch, to the perfect dirty martini served by our new favorite bartender Kimberly. And its stylish, comfy couches look out on a calmingly verdant outdoor courtyard – perfect for ratcheting down one’s Gotham-induced stress.
Okay, sure – one wouldn’t expect the Tao Group to be planting its flag in the East Village, as their unwavering sense of theatricality might seem more suited to the Meatpacking District…or Vegas. But the Moxy EV’s glamorous Cathédrale restaurant is a totally transformative experience, with its spectacular, dramatic ceiling seeming to have been borrowed from The Vatican. But it also boasts clever Downtown nightlife references which are matter-of-factly woven into the design. As expected, it’s a total scene, with chicly adorned hostesses frantically shuffling the seating charts to accommodate the long lines. We opted for a seat on the buzzy terrace outside the bar area.
One also doesn’t expect to stumble across the Mediterranean in the East Village, either. But from the warm dates stuffed with almonds and roquefort (which we quickly added to our “dying meal” list), to the delectable grilled artichokes, to the particularly plump and tasty burrata, dinner at Cathédrale had us dreaming of our next trip to Marseille or Napoli. Oh, and please do ask for the bread – we don’t know what’s in it, but it will pretty much get you permanently back on carbs.
And Yet More…
A rooftop bar is coming in spring of 2020 – but even before that happens, absolutely make a point of checking into the Moxy East Village, if only to ride up and down in the artfully lighted elevators – which offer almost the same feeling as standing in one of Yayoi Kusama’s ethereal Mirror Rooms.