Saturday, January 11, 2003

The Hudson Hotel

Tucked into a corner of midtown that I never would have noticed if it weren't for flames shooting out of the side of the building is a house where continental trend followers and New Yorkers in the 'no' set up shoppe. You would guess the place is kewl from the outside fire holders shining away as if to light some kind of medieval cavern. Here, capped men stand in appropriate costume, waiting, gloved, to open the door for a Hermes suitcase set and it's owners, Mr. Foreign Currency and Ms. Cigarette filter, whom, by the way, are NOT married. As soon as you walk in, a hot blast of air presents you with the personna you need to enter this world.

Up the yellowed escalator you go into a city of dark wood and beautiful everythings everywhere you look. The music sings itself to you without you even noticing you've never heard the words to the song before. The hotel, which you wouldn't even be able to call it if it weren't for the fact that people pay money to sleep in private rooms equipped with beds and showers, is basically divided into four parts to the average lay-success story.

First, to the left is a set of elevators. Walk towards them. Now, turn right. A long hallway/tunnel shows you the way to the best room in the house. The Library has books, but you can't reach them. They line the wall for hours, high and far away, tempting the literate in all of us. Will we never get to touch said sweet spines and caress silken pages from out of print versions of obscure titles and glorious masterpieces? A stranger and I had a deep and thought-provoking discussion about whether or not the books were even real. They look like a photo, perfectly stacked and set, side by side, paper backs slid in for effect, a pathway around them, taunting you to step.

The real books line the walls - gigantic versions of intelligence, shocked with images of innocent pornography or architecture. Photo books for dummies to peruse - famous buildings, Maraini, Robert Mangold, Brassai - books that people who don't like to read distract themselves with. Party pieces. Table clutter. Every one as beautiful, large and oblivious as the next.

A studio apartment sized pool table spends it's time lounging in the middle of the room, befriended only by 4 enormous wooden pillars. Does anyone even care? It is ornate - polished, sexy, creature-like, always entertaining, being touched and admired, swallowing balls.

Two chess actual tables keep in the far corners of the room, but mostly serve as a place to set vodka gimlets, merlot and ashtrays, which are never full, none of these things. The nearest neighbors are two flat screen computer monitors accompanied by a mini-virtualy indestructible keyboard and a remote hard drive, connected, of course, to the internet. But who's checking their e-mail? No one.

The furniture - leather, except for an occasional brushed metal chair. Everything a warm tan. It makes you want to sit on it, sin on it, become friends with it, lounge, rub, nap, drink as you perch upon it, suck you in. Welcome to the Hotel California in New York City, the truest devil town.

Let us take a look at the fireplace before we walk out, because there IS one. No where else in NYC have I seen an actual working, burning fire place, so this is something to behold. So, there it is. Back we go, out the long corridor, past the elevators, here, we turn left - this way - and walk through the lobby past the mile or so of registration desk. At the end of the horizon line of counter space, to the right we see the velvet roped entrance to the Hudson's own personal nightclub. I don't care for the nightclub so much because I am a terrible dancer, except when I am drunk, when I magically take on a talent for the dance, just before embarrassing myself via vomit. Dancer or not, I do like the space. The floor glows, the alcohol flows like alcohol, into my mouth, people stake out every square inch of this sceney room. The music is loud and I am feeling too drunk to keep my balance, so out we go again to the restaurant.

Straight down we stumble, until we reach the 30 foot ceilinged 'cafeteria' as they call it. Hmm. When I think of cafeteria, I think of a place where at age 6, I once hiked up my knee skirt until it became a mini, pulled my shirt down and filled my lunch tray with wierd pizza, mashed potatoes and some kind of bean. At the end of the line, the lunch lady firmly grabbed the hem of my skirt and much to my shagrin, yanked in down, down, down, back into place. I don't, however, think of long mahogany tables, end capped with huge cathedral chairs, a truly delightful waitstaff, a menu decked with food items so pleasing to the stomach they could only be from another planet, and the sexiest foreign men you ever saw to your left, right and across the way. Everything you eat there is prepared with the 'best' in mind. This is going to be the 'best' Macaroni and Cheese foie gras you ever had. The 'best' lobster bisque, tomato and mozzarella salad, penne pasta with shrimp and tomato. It's so good, you don't even mind that you are so full you have to force feed yourself the last few bites of your banana split and that the check for four totalled $273.

Finally are the rooms. Thank the waitstaff, sign your room tab, and follow me back around to the elevators. Into the elevators we go, which are a party in themselves. The walls of the elevators are lined with some funky metal that makes you feel like you're in a space ship. Music plays so you don't get bored for the 45 seconds it takes you to get upstairs. Once to your floor, you are greeted by a sci-fi looking lobby where you can purchase snacks, get ice or sit and talk for awhile with the man you met at the bar before you make your final decision as to whether or not he should get to see you o.

Back to the room, you go. It's been a long night of partying, eating, barring, fireplacing, poolside conversating, leather chair sinning, wooden floor taking in-ing and now it's time to watch bedroom shadows. The rooms are tiny. Two people are too many. The bathroom shower has a transparent wall so the relative who you are sharing the room with can watch you shower from the bed. There is a small tv up in the corner, a miniature desk, a hallway just big enough for a starving model to slip through, and a bed so big, you can't think of anything else you've ever wanted to do more in your entire life than undress and lie down, dreams already forming behind your eyes. But due to the practically flawless course of the evening, it almost seems like enough just to sleep - at the Hudson Hotel, dreams are a plush, sweet, classy bonus.

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