Q: What is it? A: One of the first signs of gentrification in the Lower East Side. Once upon a time one of the coolest places in the universe to stay but has now lost its edge and turned a bit lazy… Still an OK hotel and these days it often comes with a sensible price tag.
Lobby level, 1st floor: View through the huge glass window overlooking Rivington Street. The lobby also comes with free coffee and – I shit you not – free wine in the afternoon! Speaking of alcohol; across the street, in the center of this pic, is the bar Verlaine, where Mr. Guidebook used to get very, very drunk.
Although the bed mattress was a ‘Swedish Tempur-Pedic’, it didn’t make me homesick. In all honesty, the Tempur-Pedic company is now based in Lexington, KY, but I suppose Swedish mattress sounds better. Linens are Italian, by Frette, a brand that US hotels are particularly particular about when writing hotel-PR caca.
I’ve stayed at the Hotel on Rivington quite a few times since it opened in 2004 but the views from the higher floor never fail make an impression. I had an upgrade (thank you!) to a room on the 19th floor. A so called ‘High Floor Corner King with Balcony’.
One of the hotel’s better features (and one of their disappointments). Due to sketchy finances some bathrooms were hastily assembled when the hotel was built. The nice ones, however, are VERY nice with Japanese bathtubs and other goodies. Note: This is one of the more ordinary bathrooms of this hotel.
I had an upgrade (thank you!) to a room on the 19th floor. A so called ‘High Floor Corner King with Balcony’. And that was an understatement. It would be quite possible to invite 20 friends to a cocktail on this terrace. Not too sure that hotel management would approve, but… worth a try perhaps?
It is not a novelty of the Lower East Side anymore.
It used to be the only high rise building in the area. Now there are others. There are even other hotels in high rise buildings in the area. When entering the hotel, I can’t but think about the cover of the Beastie Boys album ”Paul’s Boutique”, shot in the street corner of Rivington Street and Ludlow only a few steps away from the hotel entrance. Photographer Jeremy Shatan, (credited on the cover as Nathanial Hörnblowér) placed a panoramic camera at 99 Rivington. The rest is hiphop history. That shot wouldn’t happen today. Lower East Side sure looked a lot grittier in 1989.
The doormen are… well, a happy bunch.
One of the guys at the door, Chris, is the chatty, cool type. The no-worries-I’ll-get-you-anything-type. He’s just over 20 and pretty representative for the hotel staff these days. Great guys but fairly inexperienced. On arrival, I’m happy to be upgraded to the 19th floor. I believe that the cover of Moby’s album ”Hotel” was shot in the penthouse just above me (the cover is undeniably shot in this hotel and Teany, his vegan café and tea shop is just a block away). So there I am, in my room, pulling away its double drapes and just like I expected I go Whoaa!
It remains this hotel’s greatest asset:
As soon as you find yourself on the 10th floor and above, you’re overlooking the city-that-may-take-a-rushed-coffee-break-or-two-but-never-sleeps. I can never get enough of views like this. In my room, said view can be inhaled from a balcony that can easily accommodate at least 20 good friends with cocktails. Inside, the bathroom is OK, lacking the Japanese soaking tub I enjoyed during a previous stay. I get the impression that they must have renovated this room quite recently as the metal table shows signs of wear and tear but walls look brand new. I make a mental note: India Mahdavi’s design is quite timeless.
What is it with their attitude?
Throughout my stay, I’m met by different enthusiasm. A great check-in is followed by a rather indifferent concierge and another time front desk will almost reluctantly deal with my laundry bag. Final impression: The least inspired check-out process ever. Chris the doorman is the only person keeping his spirits up. Out on the street I am reluctantly downgrading the Hotel On Rivington from a solid contender in the top division to a just-slightly-better-than-ordinary spot to stay. I’m just glad that their rates are on the sensible side these days. I’m still a fan of the Lower East Side but the area is certainly not what it used to be. The same could be said about this hotel.
Hotel On Rivington
107 Rivington Street
New York, NY 10002
What to tell your cabbie: Go to corner Rivington and Essex.