(New York) — The Bowery. When I was a kid, we heard about Skid Row, drunks and the rough and tumble life on the Bowery…and the corny Bowery Boys. When I was in the restaurant business in New York, what I learned about The Bowery was that’s where you go to buy cheap used kitchen equipment. You could find everything you need on The Bowery. But you didn’t go there at night, but for the bums.
Then something happened. Over the years, the Italian and Jewish pan merchants had been replaced by the Chinese knockoffs. Then the New Museum and then all of a sudden, in a matter of a couple of years, a big whoosh came in rebooted the whole street. Like the rest of the LES, long-time institutions were replaced with hip new places. CBGB begot DBGB. And when the Bowery Hotel opened when I lived there, I was like “meh” — that was during the go-go years before the crash of 2008 and the restaurant PR engine was flooding the world with hype.
But recently, when I came back for business I stayed at the Bowery Hotel. And fell in love with the place. It’s like a NY version of Hotel Costes. Louche. Plush. Like a fine velvet dinner jacket and romeos. A mixture of old and new. I’m a detail freak. What I liked is that this place wasn’t just plopped down in a place with history, it gave the street’s history a bear hug. The lobby, the rooms, all the details of the in-room design is absolutely spot-on. And thanks to my membership in Tablet Hotels TabletPlus, I got a great upgrade to an awesome-sized room with everything you could ever want. And it was pin-drop quiet.
The restaurant Gemma was also a surprise. Now that the bloom has passed, it seams to have settled comfortably into its own skin. Love the breakfast. Love coming in at night during the summer, with the doors open, with warm breeze flowing..and there’s always something interesting going on with the changing cast at the bar.
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