Feels Like 2007 in Here
“I think every hotel has a psyche.”
That was Jason Pomeranc, who, as co-founder of Thompson Hotels, has fashioned himself New York’s innkeeper to the image-conscious. Last Friday afternoon, he arrived promptly to his newish hotel in New York, the 100-room Smyth Tribeca at 85 West Broadway, dressed for the part: rumpled and rough shaven, dark hair gelled back, revealing a face whose close-set brown eyes recalled Patrick Swayze, and whose full cheeks recalled Tim Russert. He wore a black jacket over a gray sweater, distressed jeans and canvas sneakers without shoelaces.
“As you can see, the hotel has a kind of eclectic, masculine point of view,” Mr. Pomeranc continued. As he spoke, his right hand on his hip, his left a half-open gesticulating claw, two striking women in black V-necks sauntered by and assumed their positions behind the check-in desk, which, with its backdrop of glass shelves occupied by vaguely menacing cohorts of antique toys, looked more like a bar in a hip financier’s Tribeca loft.
“It has a touch of the bachelor pad,” Mr. Pomeranc said. “That doesn’t mean it’s not extremely welcoming to the female psyche as well.”
He rolled through the hotel lobby, followed by a coterie of female press attachés and his general manager, pointing out the mid-century Brazilian furniture, the pencil drawings by Santiago Rubino. The décor, he said, was evocative of both The Thomas Crown Affair and male suit material. A bar filled out the end of the room. Its surface was made of glass manipulated to look like a thick block of ice, and its wall was covered with pink crocodile leather.
“Downtown,” proclaimed Mr. Pomeranc of his target market, “is effectively melding into one neighborhood.”
“Yes and no. It’s not so much that the neighborhoods are diluting, it’s that the psychology of the guests is opening up.
“I think the real separation now is between uptown and downtown.”
Lest there be any doubt, Mr. Pomeranc, 38, and a Soho resident, is of the downtown ilk. Though it took him a while to get there. He grew up in Queens and then on 67th Street and Fifth Avenue on the Upper East Side. He ultimately transitioned downtown via an N.Y.U. education and well-publicized relationships with the actress Shannen Doherty and Ali Wise, the former Dolce publicist now in the tabloids for allegedly hacking into the phones of her ex-boyfriends’ girlfriends.
Does he worry that he opened his hotel in one of the worst economic downturns to hit New York since the 1930s?
“Look, I think you always do,” he said, leaning, ankles crossed, against the brown leather walls of the elevator, which was carrying him to a ninth-floor “signature suite.” “I hope, at least, or I believe, the worst of that cycle is behind us.”
The elevator opened onto a hallway painted chocolate brown. “Hotels,” he continued, “in a down cycle are the first to suffer, and in an up cycle, they are the first to return.”
The signature suite felt more like an apartment. A perfect apartment. Tom Dixon–designed cone lights. A full kitchen. A full kitchen table. Extraordinary views. On the wall was a piece by John Sparagana, who deconstructs fashion photographs.
We descended to the ground floor, where famed French restaurateur Frederick Lesort will reopen the Jour et Nuit brasserie this spring, the bar and lounge in the basement below.