The Boom Boom Room, the hipster aerie on top of the newish Standard Hotel is the talk of the town as Fashion Week comes to a close. What happens to the space after this week when the Fashion Flock flutter away is subject to much rumor and speculation. The story that I kept hearing was a collaboration between man about town (but currently in Rome) Paul Sevigny and Rose Bar pharaoh Nur Khan. I repeated the rumor in a throw-out-the-line-see-what-fish-I-would-catch gambit in a post a couple days ago. Nur and I finally talked and he told me “Paul and I are flattered, and this is news to us. We’ve been discussing a project together, yet I’m focused on Rose Bar.” Paul, of course, is killing it over at Avenue with his Tuesday night there a smash success. He’s even blowing up the Thursday there as well. Yet, the story still makes sense. I absolutely believe Nur, but if not him, who? The question is whether an operator is needed at all, or will a good doorperson, well trained staff, and a beautiful room with views for miles and miles and miles be enough to drive the place and therefore the hotel.
A long time ago Michael Alig and I were looking at spaces in 1 Times Square, which at the time was owned by Steve Israel, a very nice and open-minded man. Steve had foregone tenants in the worlds greatest location, the intersection between Broadway, 7th avenue and 42nd street. You know: that’s where our world and a billion other people watch the ball drop and that ticker tape zipper thing tells you what’s up. The building—built as the second tallest buiding in the world back in 1904—has been the home of the New York Times and Allied Chemical. For many years, it has become merely a post to hang billboards, neon signs, and gianormous tv screens. Advertising revenues from these signs have, except for a few ground level retailers, made tenants obsolete. All the windows are covered with sales pitches. Michael had an idea of making the whole place a club with different floors opening on different nights and drag queen elevator operators taking special guests to the VIP floor of the night. There was a club there—Nirvana—at one time, with great views up the Great White Way. Alig wasn’t going to decorate, just leave the abandoned office furniture as it was found. The idea didn’t fly, but the concept seems to apply to the hotel business boom in NYC now. With potential revenues so high from food and beverage do the hotels now service the joints, instead of the other way around. Do you just build more club, restaurant, bar spaces and far less rooms? My sources tell me that the Gansevoort roof parties this summer have grossed over 200k per weekend. With revenues like that, why book rooms at all?
Restaurants and lounges driving hotels is an old story. In Vegas and Atlantic City, it’s the whole game. Few talk about the rooms at The Venetian or Caesars but everyone raves about Tao and Pure. Hotels have traditionally enjoyed an as-of-right privilege in regards to licensing. It’s always been necessary to have a bar/restaurant like the Oak Room at The Plaza. Hotel ballrooms where galas and weddings and bar mitzvahs are sure to be held require drinking and dancing, so the hotels get the paperwork faster than you can say “Jane Hotel.” Community boards may still balk, but the hotel industry is always backed by big money, which of course comes with big lawyers and connections.
Anyway, it’s a lot easier to get your liquor and dancing permits if you rent rooms by the night than opening up a pub in Tribeca. I asked a someone from a trendy hotel the other day about noise complaints from guests who might want to sleep while nearby party promoters are throwing Grey Goose around and cocktail napkins in the air. “They complain all the time, who cares?” was the response. I pushed: “But isn’t there a plan or a policy towards this?” He responded: “Sure, the front desk is supposed to put people in those rooms that wont mind.’
What’s that infamous story about G. Gordon Liddy, the Watergate Scandal Operative? When at a cocktail party he held his hand in the open flame from a candle. When asked what the trick was, he replied: “The trick? The trick is not to mind.” How can you not mind unless the new generation of hotel guests are booking their rooms specifically to be near the action? In this case, what happens in Vegas didn’t stay in Vegas . It’s happening here in a much bigger way than ever before.
With food and beverage (F & B to the inside sect) becoming a make-or-break part of a hotel’s profile, will hotel elevators need to multiply and super soundproofing anticipate the realities of the new/old club-hotel dynamic? Will guests, no longer asked “Smoking or non smoking?” be asked “By the club, or away from the club?” at the reservation desk? I was designing a roof of a hotel into a club and there were guest rooms on the floor adjacent to it. It became apparent that these were not ideal rooms for most guests. Will giant hotel suites rented by the night in proximity to a hot hotel roof party become the new VIP or afterhours? They already have.