A Lower East Side Staycation: The Ludlow Hotel

 

Not all that long ago, New York’s Lower East Side was mostly populated by skint artists, insalubrious rockers, the narcotically challenged and an ethnic mix of people to whom it was just, well, home. There were also only two real places to eat: Katz’s Deli and El Sombrero. You prepped for a four-band bill at the Mercury Lounge with cheap tacos and tequila shots—and attempted to stave off hangovers with a 4 am knish.

Now the neighborhood flaunts Michelin stars and international luxury hotel brands—grumbling about the past won’t change anything. But wildly successful hotelier Sean MacPherson was actually a central figure in the notorious heyday of Downtown NYC nightlife. And his first LES property, The Ludlow—opened in 2014—feels as perfectly Lower East Side as The Bowery Hotel feels East Village (and The Marlton feels West Village).

Admittedly, weekend late nights on the LES can now find one navigating what feels like a casting call for The Bachelorette. But plan right, and you can also enjoy a fabulous Saturday and Sunday here, without ever going north of Houston Street.

Here’s how to do it.

 


1431 Ludlow Hotel

Loft King Room at The Ludlow

Saturday

Noon: Arrive at The Ludlow, drop your bags, request an upper floor room with a sprawling city view. Take leisurely a stroll, arriving for lunch at Dudleys, a groovy all day affair where you can order everything from rice bowls to cheese toasties to schnitzel salads.
3 PM:  Check in, spend a lazy hour flopping around on the extremely comfy bed, while raiding the minibar and taking in the glorious New York panorama.
4 PM:  Pop out to contemporary galleries like Richard Taittinger, Rachel Uffner and Marianne Boesky, to get a vibe on the burgeoning LES art scene—which has been stealing the conversation away from Chelsea. Stop in for a naughty souvenir at Babeland.

 

Taittinger Gallery

Richard Taittinger Gallery

 

1495 Dirty French/The Ludlow

Dirty French at The Ludlow
7 PM:  Settle in one of the cushy Lobby Bar sofas, order up grilled oysters and a round of particularly stiff tipples, like the Ludlow Gimlet and the bourbon based Pigalle. Groove to your fave Prince, Talking Heads and Duran Duran classics, which make up the hotel’s retro cool soundtrack.
8 PM: Do early cocktails at the sceney Leadbelly, or catch the next indie darling at the Rockwood Music Hall.
10 PM: Late dinner at Dirty French, the hotel’s supremely buzzy restaurant, which serves up surprising takes on French classics like Provencal scallops, short rib Bordelaise and duck a l’orange. It’s a particularly electric scene after 9pm.
Midnight: Watch Scorcese’s Gangs of New York back in your room. It’s set in turn of the century LES.

 


Sunday

10 AM: Order up room service coffee.
11 AM: Take a walk around the Lower East Side when it’s actually quiet. If the weather isn’t cooperating, pop in to the Tenement Museum for an enlightening  bit of LES history.
Noon:  Have the hotel book ahead for brunch at the perpetually cool Freemans. Hard to imagine, but when Taavo Somer opened it in 2004, there was nothing else like it (old-timey style, plentiful taxidermy, classic Americana cuisine). Despite the scores of imitators since, it’s still the hippest and the best. Indulge in such hearty fare as baked skillet eggs shakshuka, buttermilk pancakes and stone-ground cheddar cheese grits.

 

Freeman's Restaurant NYC

Freemans

 

New Museum Bowery NYC

New Museum

 

2 PM: Check out the current exhibitions (which at the moment include Nicole Eisenman’s Al-ugh-ories and Andra Ursuta’s Alps) at the New Museum, one of NYC’s most forward-thinking art institutions.
3 PM: Take a caffeine break at Caffe Vita, which, despite the Italian moniker, is actually an export from Seattle, serving exquisitely realized, house roasted coffee.
4 PM: Undertake a uniquely LES shopping spree, including stops at the Odd and Assembly boutiques, and a retro vinyl pilgrimage to Deadly Dragon Sound.
7 PM: Believe the hype with dinner at Ivan Ramen. Start with furikake spare ribs, before moving on to the delectable main events, like chicken dan dan and spicy red chili ramen.
9 PM: Join the local cocktail disciples warming the seats Attaboy, a sophisticated spot lorded over by Milk & Honey alums  Sam Ross and Michael McIlroy. There’s no drinks menu…so consider it an adventure and an edification.

 


Monday

9 AM:  Have a lazy breakfast of smoked salmon scramble and crispy potato pancakes at Clinton Street Baking Company, before checking out and showing up late to the office.

 

1471 Ludlow Hotel

The Ludlow

New Retail Concept ODD Welcomes Sartorial Deviation, Androgyny

The first thing that new online retailer and appointment-only boutique ODD will tell you is that they are not the norm. "We don’t believe in men. We don’t believe in women. We believe in individuality." This is their mantra. Setting up shop at 241 West 37th Street three months ago, ODD caters to androgynous fashion fiends that love Rick Owens, but love their wallets more. They service minimalist-wearing city dwellers that scour mid-priced boutiques and hole-in-the-wall stores for offbeat treasures. They’re on a mission to bring fashion back to its roots via real people with extraordinary style. Intrigued? Us too. We caught up with founder Judson Harmon to hear more about this exciting concept.

ODD2

When was ODD first born?
The concept began last year around August when me and my colleagues realized that we were seeing all of these fashion die-hards fawning over the big-shots like Rick Owens and Ann Demeulemeester. They were idolizing something that most people can’t realistically afford when there are other underground and established designers that have a very similar aesthetic, but at a range of price points that are more attainable. People would always ask where I got what I was wearing, and I started to realize that you couldn’t find much of it readily available to the public. So, I decided to put them all in one place for the world to see and attain.

And for that, we thank you. What is ODD’s style aesthetic?
It’s centered around alternative street style with nightlife influences and a gender neutral stance regardless of the garment. I myself wear dresses as tank tops half of the time because I’m so tall. The world is becoming more fluid with the interpretation of right and wrong and we’re pushing the boundaries a bit further while still trying to appeal to a mass market. I suppose you could say we "have something for everyone," whether you’re a drag queen or an edgy office employee trying to make your cubicle less boring.  
 
What designers do you carry?
Ashton Michael, Black Cabinet, Bohemian Society, CHRISHABANA, Costume Dept., Darker, Heather Lawton, Jordan Klein, Kittinhawk, Michael Schmidt, MyEnemy by CHRISHABANA, Olima Atelier, Papusza Limbs, Rochambeau, Skingraft, SOSUME, Stella Zotis, Victor Osborne, VON, and YUASA. We are adding several more for fall, and are currently producing our in-house ODD. line. Examples of some designers we are adding for the FW12 season are Asher Levine, Geoffrey Mac, Iga, and Hip&Bone.
 
ODD3
 
Is ODD more than just a retailer?
We’re also a styling house with many upcoming collaborations that you will see very soon featuring both clothing from the store and from other eccentric designers that we may or may not be carrying in the future. Past collaborations include Rick Genest and Sophia Lamar shot by photographer Austin Young and styled by Bobby Webster and Judson Harmon (myself), Sharon Needles from Ru Paul’s Drag Race season 4 and Ashley Rickards from MTV’s Awkward photographed by David Phelps and styled by Judson Harmon (myself).  Art is a collaborative effort.  
 
Any last words?
The world will not become more eccentric unless you manifest a driving force behind the movement. Individuality is our mission.
 
Photos courtesy of ODD.