By Terry Trucco
His brother’s couch is history. Jeremy Lin, the white-hot, Harvard-educated New York Knicks point guard who less than a month ago was a) an NBA cast-off lucky to land with the Knicks and b) homeless has upped his domestic game and moved into our kind of place – a hotel.
A shiny new two-bedroom, two-bath condominium at the towering W New York Downtown Hotel & Residences, to be precise. As widely reported, Lin contracted to rent a furnished 1,182-square-foot, 38th-floor apartment in the residential portion of the 58-story W across from the site of Freedom Tower.
The condo recently sold for $2.3 million to an investor who will use it as a rental. Similar apartments are said to rent for up to $13,000 a month, but Matthew Moinian, the son of the W’s developer Joseph Moinian, told the Wall Street Journal that Lin got a better deal, though he declined to specify.
In keeping with his low-key persona, Lin didn’t go after the flashiest pad in the place; the apartment reportedly is mid-range for the building. Still, it’s not the Y (or the couch in his brother’s Lower East Side apartment where he’d bunked while waiting to see if he’d be cut from the Knicks). According to the Journal, the apartment enjoys views of the Statue of
Liberty and the memorial pools at the World Trade Center and comes completely furnished, from the original art on the walls to the Frette sheets, by Louise Sunshine, whose Sunshine Group outfits luxury condos.
Why choose the W? In a statement Lin said he was familiar with the W Hotel in Taipei, Taiwan, where his parents grew up, and was attracted to the Downtown’s amenities.
Those include a gym, a screening room, a roof lounge and preferred seating at the hotel’s BLT bar and restaurant, a congenial sports bar whose TV screens show the Knicks games. (After being besieged by fans on an early visit to BLT, he was given access to the private dining room.)
Residents are also steps away from the hotel’s Living Room lounge on the fifth floor, a clubby lair with a swooping ceiling lighted with bands of light that gently brighten and dim, like intakes of breath. On a recent evening the bar had a mix of hotel guests, locals from nearby offices, tourists fresh from the 9/11 site and residents, including one with a gorgeous husky on a leash.
We settled onto a pillow-strewn silvery leather banquette near a window overlooking the work-in-progress Freedom Tower, dotted with tiny red lights. A terrace outfitted with tables and bright red stools promises alfresco drinks and
the same heart-thump view come warmer days. (Last year the terrace was transformed into an ice skating rink, but this winter, no.)
Drinks are generous, though served without comp nuts or other nibbles. Our Angel, a heady riff on a sidecar made with cognac, cointreau, lemon juice, orange bitters and apricot jam (organic, naturally), arrived in a large chilled martini glass ($15). A request for coffee at the next table resulted in an imposing stainless steel French-press pot.
The W’s latest resident was, of course, nowhere to be seen, but we couldn’t help thinking his choice of residence was predestined by the lounge’s furniture. The side-tables balance on crisscrossed metal cones that, come to think of it, look a lot like inverted baskets.
The hotel opened in July 2010 and, unlike the W New York and W Union Square
farther uptown, was built from the ground up. Its DNA is contemporary.
Rooms, larger than many in Manhattan, start at 275 square feet and come with platform beds, hardwood floors and sleek white desks — imagine the fifth floor lounge done in white with hints of red. For Knicks fans hoping to catch a glimpse of the team’s latest star, the hotel is steps from the Rector Station subway stop; with luck, you’ll be at Madison Square Garden in 20 minutes.
W New York Downtown, 123 Washington Street at Albany Street; 646 826-8600.