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Ian Schrager’s Public Hotel opens on the Lower East Side

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The hotelier promises five-star luxury at a lower price point

Nikolas Koenig

Nearly five years after it was first announced, Ian Schrager’s swanky hotel on Chrystie Street opened its doors on Tuesday. Designed by Schrager’s frequent collaborators Herzog & de Meuron, Public, as this hotel is known, comes with 367 rooms, with prices starting from $150 per night.

According to the hotelier, Public is his way of brining a luxury hotel experience to the masses. “I truly believe that everyone deserves a one-of-a-kind experience that lifts their spirits and makes their heart beat faster, one that elicits an emotional response,” Schrager said in a statement. “And to deliver this at a reasonable price point is even more on the mark for today’s savvy and sophisticated traveler.”

The hotel occupies most of the 28-story structure at 215 Chrystie Street. Eleven uber-pricey condos sit on the top floors of this building, and all but one of them is in contract. The 4,300-square-foot penthouse went into contract asking $23.5 million.

But back to the hotel. Public has done away with the more conventional setup of check-in desks, with all of those functions done on an i-Pad. The hotel boasts the “fastest Wi-Fi in the city,” and rooms come with Apple TV and 12 outlets. Rooms start at $150/night, and while they’re quite sparse, they have the whole minimalist-cool thing going on.

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It might seem a little no-frills, but the food and drinks options at the hotel certainly don’t seem to give that impression. Jean-Georges Vongerichten will be running two restaurants here: PUBLIC Kitchen, focusing on classic New York City foods “from spicy Korean chicken to hot pastrami sandwiches”; and Louis, which a press release describes as “part grocery, part luncheonette, part coffee shop and part market all rolled into one.” The hotel will also come with three bars: Diego, The Roof, and The Lobby Bar.

Schrager spent $50 million to acquire the once-empty lot on which this hotel stands today. In a new take on his Studio 54 concept, Schrager is also launching a multimedia performance arts space at the hotel called Public Arts. It’s been dubbed Manhattan’s answer to BAM, and will feature all manner of events, from film screenings and art exhibitions to concerts and “even hot sweaty dancing!”

“I am always looking for a new and better way of doing things,” is how Schrager summed it up. “To upset the status quo and shake things up.”

215 Chrystie St

215 Chrystie Street, Manhattan, NY 10002