The buzz surrounding the latest venture between Ian Schrager and Herzog & DeMeuron was the talk around town for years. Now it has opened, and it’s talked about even more. From the highly hashtagged neon-escalator to the 18th floor rooftop party terrace to the velvety public rooms, PUBLIC is the definitive hipster-luxe establishment of the Lower East Side.
The interiors may have taken the theme of Swedish minimalism too literally—whether the clothes bar in the closet or the overhead lights, everything is designed in here for the tall. Which is rather funny as the rooms skew quite small, or at least narrow. Compact and minimal, these rooms are sparse on furniture or things. They look great in photographs. Lately, the floor-to-ceiling windows are causing quite a controversy around the neighborhood (just think about it ;))
A mirrored glass cube contained the contained bathroom area, with a tiled standing shower and long resin sink vanity. The wood-slab rattan wall-siding would be very much at home in a Scandinavian sauna.
There are many lobbies to this hotel—well, alright, just two floors with divided social spaces. The second floor lobby, up the infamous neon-and-mirrored escalator tunnel, is a living room lounge (with a vibrant bar) festooned with lounging couches and a pool table.
Well-equipped and in a concrete edgy space, this is a formidable gym.
Like all Schrager establishments, the scene is almost more important the guest experience. And food and drink around here is copious. On the ground floor is Public Kitchen, another downtown edition from Jean-Georges featuring all fresh, all the time. There’s also the casual cafe Louis, which doubles as a grab n’ go market that’s all natural and organic.
The F/M train stop at Second Avenue is around the corner from the hotel entrance.
Right up Houston is the warm-hued delight Cherche Midi (2-minute walk) from Keith McNally, or if you want to push your insider French spots, head to Lucien (5-minutes walk) to see writers, artists and designers all corral over martinis and foie gras.
One can’t be on Chrystie Street and check out neither the notoriously outré The Box (3-minutes) that’s racy cabaret still shocks audiences or taxidermy temple Freeman’s (5-minutes) for their classic cocktails in the warmest of settings.
WHY WE LIKE IT
It’s really quite interesting to observe Ian Schrager simplify his aesthetic over the years while still creating entertainment universes that also house guest rooms. PUBLIC is stripped down and sparse, and still manages to pack heat and throngs of It kids into this Minimalist funhouse. This cool hotel, with its poured concrete exterior, is definitely a sign of these times.