By Terry Trucco
Pop-up shops open – and close – almost daily around New York City. But pop-up hotels?
Manhattan is about to get its first. During NYC Pride Week, June 18 through June 24, the Hotel on Rivington will temporarily toss aside its Lower East Side persona and reinvent itself in neon pink as Lords New York, an outpost of Lords South Beach, Miami’s year-and-a-half-old gay boutique hotel.
“Pop up – it sounds easy and quick,” says Brian Gorman, the founder of Lords South Beach, and native New Yorker, who came up with the idea over brunch with a friend. The friend happened to be director of sales and marketing at the Rivington, and there you have it.
“The Rivington is a cool brand in a cool neighborhood so there’s that to play off,” Gorman says. In other words, Lords isn’t popping up in the Marriott.
The takeover is twofold. First is the physical property. Though Rivington built-in basics
like furniture and towels remain, Gorman envisions a patina of Lords culture (think playful) wherever possible, from paneling the lobby in neon pink (“it’s the color of New York energy,” he says) to unveiling a nine-foot inflatable polar bear, a wink to the fiberglass version greeting guests at Lords South Beach.
In a guest room homage to the South Beach mother ship where a portrait of Elizabeth Taylor as Cleopatra hangs above each bed, paper versions affixed with push pins will surmount the Rivington beds. La Liz in full iconic glory appears yet again in the lobby, same as in South Beach, in a pixel portrait rendered in Nespresso capsules by artist Ricardo Bellini — past sell-by-date capsules, Gorman points out.
As for Lords’ spiritual takeover of the Rivington, a beefy line-up of Pride-related activities is planned at the hotel and throughout the city, highlighted by a huge party at Chelsea Piers on Saturday, June 16. “It’s kind of like gay summer camp,” Gorman says.
Complete with counselors: big personality staff members from Miami will be posted in the lobby to direct guests to events.
Other Lordsy flourishes include whimsical keycards, gift bags in every room, the opportunity to donate $10 to a pride-related charity upon check-in and displays of art by young gay artists. “We do a lot with philanthropy, with art, with design,” says Gorman, who likes to look upon his hotel as a celebration of the best the gay community has to offer for everyone.
Are plans afoot for something more permanent in Manhattan? Right now other pop-ups seem a priority if the right property comes along. It’s something Gorman says he’s going to look to do all over the world – as long as he can find takeover targets like the Rivington.
Lords New York, 107 Rivington Street between Essex and Ludlow streets; 212 475 2600. A special Lords New York package includes a 15 percent discount on room prices.