Hipmunk’s Hotel Heat Map

Every one has needs, and the good thing about New York City is that the majority of those needs can be met. Travelers come to town to satisfy their shopping addiction, or to eat at the best restaurants in the world. Some come to see the Statue of Liberty, and some travel to stay up all night. You want to stay close to the things you’re into, whether that’s Broadway or Burlesque, and Himunk’s Hotel Locator is an awesome tool that helps you choose the perfect hotel by showing its proximity to your needs via a heat mapping guide.

Hipmunk, created by MIT-grad Adam Goldstein and Reddit Co-founder Steve Huffman, started off as a super-simplified flight locator with great visual design. Seeking to further simplify the travel industry, they’ve recently launched this helpful Heat Map tool as a component of their hotel search. The tool maps areas of interest in a city based on needs like Vice, Nightlife, Shopping, Tourism and Food, aggregating tourist information from Wikipedia and Yelp. Here are a few of BlackBook’s top hotel picks for each of Hipmunks categories.

Vice: Factors in Bars, Casinos, and Adult Establishments Staybridge Suites Times Square: Sweet suites with real kitchens convenient for extended Javits Center duty and other midtown business obligations. Like Scores. Distrikt Hotel: Near the seedy Port Authority, where XXX video stores line the streets, and XXX entertainment fliers blow in the wind like tumbleweeds, this New York-themed boutique hotel goes name brand, with Frette linens, LG flatscreens, and Ecru soaps. Four Seasons Hotel: It’s the Four Seasons, ’nuff said? Accepts all manner of currency, and in Midtown East, can find all manners of debauchery.

Next: Hotels Near Shopping and Nightlife

Shopping Trump SoHo: Midtown master infiltrates the western fringe of Soho with lux condo-hotel living. Bryant Park Hotel: Straight up, the hottest stay in town. Cellar Bar, Fashion Week runway shows, and plush, plush rooms. Ace Hotel: Garment District hotspot with enough amenities to keep you from ever leaving.

Nightlife The Jane Hotel and Ballroom: Latest smash from Sean MacPherson and Eric Goode gets all Edwardian on the WVill. The Standard: Smack dab in the middle of the Mepa—like a glass and steel tree growing up and around the High Line. The Bowery Hotel: Sayonara to SROs on the new bobo Bowery in this boutique Bowery/Nolita playground with a hot restaurant and lounge scene.

Next: Hotels Near Food and Tourism

Food Abingdon Guest House: As close to the West Village townhouse experience one can get without buying a shih tzu and an Equinox pass. Hotel Mela: Luxe boutique newcomer aiming to be the “apple” of your eye, near The Lambs Club, and classics like Dallas BBQ Chelsea and Jimmy’s Corner. Crosby Street Hotel: La Esquina just around the corner—near Kenmare, too—this spendy Brit import lands on quaint Crosby Street.

Tourism Andaz Wall Street: Hyatt gets haute on the Financial District, otherwise known as the district that has everything on a tourist’s checklist: The Bull, Lady Liberty sightlines, the Stock Exchange (Wall Street is in the hotel’s name). The Plaza: Eloise’s Central Park home, Home Alone, Midwestern tourists, Donald Trump, rich permanent dwellers and you. Hilton Times Square: Location, location, location. If you’re truly looking to stay smack-dab in the center of New York City, the Hilton Times Square is your hotel. Steps from pretty much everything, from Broadway theaters and midtown skyscrapers to museums, restaurants, and nightclubs.

Respect to Keith Haring

Yesterday marked the 20th anniversary of the passing of Keith Haring. I first noticed Keith drawing on the black, unused ad spaces on subways. I’d see him work once in a while. One day I got off to chat with him and spent the next dozen or so years admiring his work and the man. He was always available, positive, helpful, involved. One of the missing components of Manhattan club life has been the lack of art superstars. The Beatrice, the Jane and a lot of the Brooklyn joints have these types, and those who appreciate them, integrated into the scene Most ‘city” joints thinks a B-level athlete is a celebrity. In the ‘80s, Basquiat, Haring, Kenny Scharf and Warhol helped define what cool really was. Previous club generations embraced the artist and writers as well as VIPs. Artists were not featured during this past, bottle-service-defined decade, unless they found themselves painting Absolut bottles or writing graffiti for the trust fund hip hop crews. Lately there seems to be more of a synergy between the art crowd and the club crowd. Art openings often start the night. Clubs that embrace this crowd and figure out how to pay the rent will key this decade’s future. A hotel club with lower overhead and less financial expectations will surely embrace this set.

In 1988 I was running a joint called The World, on 2nd Street, and watched Keith Haring do his doodly cool thing on the men’s room stalls. It was a surreal potty party and word quickly spread that there was something cool happening. When the night was done, one of the owners of the place ordered the cleaning crew to remove the entire stall wall and transport it to his E. 3rd Street penthouse. I don’t know what happened to them after that. I do know that we didn’t have stalls around the toilets for a few days.

Designer/philanthropist Malcolm Harris is in Paris trying to make the world a better place. My old friend is staying close with everyone by facebooking. He posted this: ”Keith Haring died twenty years ago to this very day and his influences can still be felt all over the globe. Rihanna’s Rude Boy video is a perfect example of how Keith’s influences still live on.” He’s right check it out.

I caught up with Jon Gabel, who handles New Year’s Eve for half the town. His company joonbug.com was where I first started to write this column and I have a deep affection for the crew over there. I threw him a few softballs about his fashion week gala

This was Joonbug.com’s First Annual Fashion Week Gala. How was this event different from New Year’s Eve? This was definitely a more press heavy event. We had tons of fashion press RSVP to cover this and more photographers than we knew what to do with. Unlike other Fashion Week events, ours was open to the public. People were rubbing elbows with designers such as Amy Claire and Walter Baker, the Editor-In-Chief of Elle, and cast members from Ugly Betty. Celebrities showed up who we didn’t even know were coming!

Were you nervous about diving into something new? This wasn’t just a first for us. This was the official kick-off party for STYLE 360. This was Fabolous’ first time performing at a Fashion Week event. It was the New York debut of Charles Hamilton and Josh Madden’s performance. We had O’Neal Mcknight premiere his new single “Fashion Week,” Claudine Desola DJed her very first event. It was the launch party for the Prasperity bracelets. The list goes on! It was a great opportunity to work with all of these incredible people and put on an awesome event.

How did you get the idea to throw a Fashion Week party? What were your expectations for the event?

We really want people to get to know Joonbug.com as a nightlife and lifestyle guide. We want to provide more content and more variety for our guests and subscribers. This was an event for them more so than it was for us. We wanted to give them an insider’s view of Fashion Week and bring the party to them. Our Fashion Week Gala definitely exceeded any expectations that we had.

Who ended up coming? Everybody showed up to our event! We knew that Ugly Betty cast members like Vanessa Williams and Ana Ortiz were coming but it was great to see Ralph Macchio, The Karate Kid!

How did you select the performers? Fabolous was a no brainer, he makes hit after hit, and he was really excited about getting involved in Fashion Week. He completely changed around his plans to be here for our event. With Pras, everybody knows him from The Fugees, but what they may not know is that he founded the non-profit organization, Prasperity Project. The celebrities who attended our event walked the red carpet with the Prasperity bracelets on their wrists to raise awareness and help generate funds for Haiti relief efforts. We were thrilled to get behind that. O’Neal Mcknight and Josh Madden have performed for us before and we’ll continue to invite them back, they know how to entertain a crowd!

What was the designer committee? How did you recruit their support for the event? How were they involved? We had a great designer committee made up of Caravan, Emu Australia, What Goes Around Comes Around, Walter, E.Vil, Amy Claire, Twinkle, Prairie, Boy Meets Girl, Rewash Jeans, Gunnar Optiks and Raffone Luggage. They lent their names to our event and stood behind us to make us an official Fashion Week event. Claudine Desola, from Caravan and THINK PR, DJed a special “Inspiration Played” set featuring music that inspired these designers when creating their Fall 2010 collections. That playlist is available here.

I’m off to Miami on design business. I haven’t been there in a year and have no idea what to expect. Miami always reminds me of Vegas. They try real hard to get it real right and sometimes they really succeed. However, there’s a sexy seediness that lies in wait. A whiff of sex, vice and unsavory characters. Its a land of old money and new. Of the very clean and the very dirty. I’ve had some serious problems there back in the day and some unbelievable adventure. Maybe I’ll tell you something tomorrow.

Not So Plain Jane

I’m real sick and tired of snarky wannabes who wouldn’t know what end of the bottle to pour booze from, declaring a place done 20 minutes after it’s open. I saw all sorts of silly comments on my friendly neighbor Scott Solish’s blog Down By The Hipster about how the Jane Hotel Ballroom is over. I decided to check out the Jane Ballroom on Friday night and see for myself. I had written about its opening but the distractions of summer have kept me away. A large crowd of attractive people were vying for the attention of the doorman. I approached James, who I didn’t recognize at first and said a few relevant things and was welcomed inside with my companion.

The crowd was simply great. It was the kind of crowd that moves a little to the left to let you pass often with a nod and a smile. This was a weekend night in the heart of the summer and the place was packed with sharp scenesters. There were celebrities: an Olson and that skinny, tall, British, rock-starish, actor Russell Brand. He, like everyone else, moved to the left and allowed me to pass behind him with a smile. The DJs were great laughing and playing fun tunes and the crowd was wildly into it. The lighting isn’t great and it’s a bit hard to see how beautiful the room looks.

My only real criticism is that the bartenders aren’t fast enough and there are certainly not enough of them. I couldn’t find Carlos Quirarte or Matt Kleigman to say hello. There didn’t seem to be anybody in charge or “working the room,” but maybe that’s a great thing. Maybe it’s about the room, the music and crowd rather than the personality of an operator. The place is a smash. Is it the next Beatrice? I don’t even know what that means. Why can’t it just be the Jane Ballroom?

I have yet to see one critical comment, which lays out in terms that I can grasp, what is wrong or expected. I actually believe that the writers of these silly quotes are people who could never make it past James. That doesn’t make them necessarily bad people but it does in so many ways discount the value of their point of view. Jane is near perfect and if some people don’t like it they just shouldn’t go. I hear Bowlmor is open late for them. A joint doesn’t have to cater to people who declare something over simply to impress their loser friends that they’re way cool. A joint doesn’t have to cater to anyone but the crowd they want and not some anonymous loser who can peck unsubstantiated bile on an open forum blog. A joint can define itself and be grand without the validation of people who know so very little about the process. The Jane can cater to a vibrant crowd and be fabulous without the approval of negative nellies. The Jane is great. I say so.

I don’t often disagree with DBTH as they have their thing and I have mine, but I do believe that their article the other day about “ballroom blow,” was a low blow and not worthy of the intelligence, wit and insight that I, as a daily reader, have come to expect. As one person said, it can and does happen everywhere. I didn’t understand the entry. To me, it could only be seen as an attack, an attempt to bring the authorities down on the new establishment. I know that it hurt the operators who didn’t understand why Scott would do this. The Jane is not over. It is brilliant. It is one of the more significant nightlife entries this year. They’re not even up to speed yet. They opened in the middle of the summer and the food element and outdoor spaces will make the place undeniable.

I live near Cafe Gitane in Nolita, and the notion that Luc will bring his considerable restaurant skills to the premises is brilliant. Gitane keeps me fed and will be a great asset to the west side, and as for the Jane, I think all the loser commentators that will now rain down their blubbering bullshit on me should open their own joint and try to make it work. The place would play music that even they wouldn’t like and be inhabited by that too-cool-to take-a-shower hipster crowd. No one would talk, just tweet anonymous downer remarks at each other, and they would declare it over before the bartender could say PBR. The Jane Hotel is operated by Sean MacPherson and Eric Goode. These guys have brought us the B Bar, The Bowery Hotel, The Maritime Hotel, and The Park. Eric Goode gave us Area, easily one of the top 5 clubs of all time. The Smile, Carlos and Matt’s Bond Street entry is one of the great places in my hood. I’d love these snarky know-it-all commentators to open a joint. That space wouldn’t last an Andy Warhol 15 minutes.