In case you haven’t heard, a new hotel is coming to Manhattan, and it’s got a twist: it’s gay. Now, what exactly does that mean? According to the website, The Out NYC is “will feature a 11,000 square foot XL bar & nightclub by John Blair and FornabioVoss Promotions, a 105-room ‘straightfriendly’ boutique hotel, a courtyard wet zone enclosed in a glass atrium, a gym & wellness center, lush outdoor courtyard gardens, a 24/7 caf & restaurant called KITCHEN by eatery of Hell’s Kitchen and a business/conference center.”
Well, if a stereotypical vision of homosexuals in New York City is what they’re going for, then I wonder — how is this really different from any boutique hotel (minus the mansion-sized club, of course), and what will it bring to the gay community?
As a gay male myself, the concept of a “primarily gay environment” is nice in theory, but based on the modern, tacky feel of the hotel’s design (see gallery above, and click for more pictures), I know exactly what this place will turn into. Gawker put it best, stating, “It’s like your gay friend from Pittsburgh coming to visit and he wants to go to Splash and shop on Eight Avenue and have brunch at Cafeteria and, god, it’s just so damn cheesey.”
Basically, this is going to be a postmodern cross between a hostel and a brothel. It’s sort of genius actually — I see tons of gay guys with disposable income flocking to the establishment. And why wouldn’t they? It will be a constant party and a glorified hook-up spot. (Seriously, I’m expecting Red Bull fountains and tight black turtlenecks in every room.)
At first, I was somewhat appalled by the “gay hotel” concept, but I don’t think it’s necessarily detrimental. I think the marketing could be improved, as they are certainly alienating many by their aggressive approach. Other “subcultures” present in Manhattan definitely don’t require their own spaces, and nor do the gays. I mean, I hope this is somewhat regulated and doesn’t become this generation’s bathhouse.
One thing is for sure: next time someone designs a gay hotel, let’s get Andre Balazs on board. Or maybe Cher could do consulting. This looks more like a Hyatt in St. Louis than it should.