When the Brits at Firmdale Hotels selected Soho as the site of their first U.S. inn, owners Tim and Kit Kemp pledged to honor the creative history of the neighborhood by incorporating works of art into the design. They meant it! As the September opening of the Crosby Street Hotel approaches, the first of the commissioned works is taking shape: a long fence with two 700-pound gates in hand-forged steel installed above the sunken outdoor cafe on the Lafayette Street side of the property. Yeesh, how about something that's easier to steal? Meanwhile, a tipster tells us the hotel has started accepting reservations today, at rates starting at $525/night. Hey, somebody has to pay for all this art, right?
The gatekeeper is James Garvey, whose metalwork can be seen all around the city. Still to come are works from Spanish sculptor Jaume Plensa and filmmaker Jean Roman Seyfried. Now, as passers-by approach the hotel along Lafayette Street, they are greeted by Garvey's playful "rope line" palisade, featuring abstract figures embodying New Yorkers of all types doing what so many do so well: hanging out.
Back in 1985 Garvey headed up a crew repairing and replacing the metal armatures on the Statue of Liberty (the real one, not that other thing out west). Traveling between his Franklin Street loft and Liberty Island he would pass the 200-year old iron fence encircling Bowling Green Park at the foot of Broadway. Garvey became entranced by the fence's strength and durability and set out to learn all he could.
Over the years Garvey's studies and experimentation have turned him into a master of metal. His works can be seen in public areas throughout Manhattan. The 33rd Street Station on the IRT line boasts his installation of Lariat Loop Benches. Farther uptown his sinuous steel Lariat Handrail runs 41' and guides folks down a wide stone staircase from Central Park to West 97th Street. These days Garvey works out of his forge in an old brewery building up in Manhattanville. Now he's come back downtown, bringing with him a flock of folks waiting for the Crosby Street Hotel to open its doors.
· Crosby Street Hotel [Official Site]
· Crosby Street Hotel coverage [Curbed]