The first night I was in New York last weekend, I stayed with my lovely friend Emilia in her super cool and industrial loft in Williamsburg and hung out with the hipsters, drinking rose at the Brooklyn Winery and listening to some kind of blues-jazz mashup that might have even been “gypsy jazz.” The band was jammed into a tiny corner and featured a guy with a gravelly voice lamenting some lost loves and whatnot. There may have been a beret involved. And a porkpie hat on the standup bass player.
The whole evening had a very Parisian cinematic feel, but that’s what you get when you’re hanging out in hipster-ville. It was about a million degrees so everything had that hazy, slow-down-and-just-give-in-to-the-heat look and feel. You start to focus intensely on that little droplet of sweat streaking its way down your back, despite the fact that the cab driver has the air conditioner going full blast and the whole front of you is freezing. You look out the window and see the glare of the streetlights shining down through the hot black night onto spraying fire hydrants and kids jumping through the reflective water. Folks hanging out on their stoops because it’s just too hot to stay inside when there’s no breeze moving the still, humid air.
The next night, however, we found a way to beat the heat….the rooftop at Ink48. Now, I’m always a sucker for a hotel bar, but I’m usually into the small, dark, desperate ones tucked away in the side of the lobby, where women slightly past their prime and rumpled out-of-town businessmen inch slowly toward each other in an intricately choreographed getting-to-know-you dance across several stools, their hands meeting over a bowl of mini-pretzels and wasabi peanuts.
A rooftop bar just seemed too bright, too open for the type of drinking I like to do. A rooftop bar is a place to see and be seen, not a place to spy on other people who may or may not be cheating on their spouses.
However, the rooftop bar at Ink48 was exceptional. Mostly because it had the most fantastic views of the city and river.
The whole hotel was awesome. I will say, it’s in a bit of a weird location at 48th Street and 11th Ave. (Midtown West), which is walking distance from Broadway and the theaters. But it’s not a short walk, and the hotel itself is surrounded by auto dealerships and other warehouse-type buildings. It’s very close to the piers and the museum ship, the Intrepid and the Javits Convention Center, so it’s a great location for that purpose, but not really in the heart of the city so to speak. And I actually think that might work to their advantage since it’s a bit off the beaten path, the rooftop bar is probably a lot easier to get into most nights.
BUT, it was a gorgeous, boutique hotel. We had a really nicely decorated room with plenty of space (a rarity in NY hotels), light-up bedside tables, and contemporary floral artwork above the bed. We also had a great view of the river. Emilia and I also ate at their restaurant, Print, and had yummy oysters, a meh gnocchi dish, and a freaking awesome gazpacho that I want to try to replicate (it had watermelon in it – ahhhhmazing).
The only thing that would make Ink48 even better was if they had a pool on that rooftop. They had lounging chairs and a small rectangular water feature, but no pool.
XFE and I are big fans of the Kimpton chain, and the last time we were in New York, we stayed at the Muse, which is right in Times Square. That particular Kimpton was a bit more run down, so we’ll definitely book at Ink48 next time we’re in town.