|A furry-yet-glamorous moment served with a side of stellar views at SoHo's new Mondrian hotel.
Manhattan’s SoHo neighborhood shed its edgy, artist-friendly vibe several years back when mainstream and luxury-geared retailers moved into the byways south of Houston Street. If you are looking for cutting-edge art galleries in New York City, head to the western fringes of Chelsea. But back to SoHo: Wandering along the nabe’s Prince and Spring Streets—not to mention Broadway and West Broadway—on any given weekend, you will be besieged with international visitors browsing everything from Chanel and the Apple Store to Ralph Lauren, Topshop and Muji. And forget trying to eat breakfast in peace at Balthazar, the neighborhood’s French-ified cantina.
SoHo still has a few streets that haven’t been Gucci-ized. Wander down Howard Street and peruse the amazing, organic-inspired jewelry at Ted Muehling or wooden, handcrafted furnishings at John Houshmand. Don’t miss the exceptional treasures at De Vera, either. One route that has suddenly burst onto the scene—but that has yet to turn into an al fresco mall—is Crosby Street. A dingy street until recently, the opening of the white-hot, color-packed Crosby Street Hotel from British hoteliers Tim and Kit Kemp put the street solidly on the jet-set map.
Recently, the southern end of Crosby Street unveiled another hotel, the uber-chic Mondrian SoHo. It’s the latest from Morgans Hotel Group, the folks behind NY’s Royalton and Hudson, Miami’s Delano and the Sanderson and St Martins Lane in London. Step inside and experience the whimsical blue-and-white color scheme from the design-focused hotel group. The interiors were crafted by designer Benjamin Noriega-Ortiz as an homage to Jean Cocteau’s film La Belle et la Bête. It’s wacky yet glamorous, although we thought the furry, Oompa Loompa-like lamps might eat us. Speaking of eating, dine at Imperial No. Nine, the hotel’s American seafood eatery from chef Sam Talbot. Try slow-cooked octopus with jalapeno sofrito and lime, fried oysters with crispy ham or king crab a la plancha paired with decadent cocktails. The No. One mixes Champagne, elder flower cordial and chai tea with cucumber foam.
If you do check into the Mondrian or the Crosby Street Hotel, take in Crosby Street’s other charms, including Savoy restaurant where chef Peter Hoffman creates masterful New American creations; Mario Diab’s hair salon; the MoMA Store; coffee and sex wax at Saturdays Surf NYC; and jaunty handbags at MZ Wallace.