In the midst of Eater's weekend coverage of the New York City Wine & Food Festival from the Meatpacking District's Standard Hotel, dashing superhero André Balazs offered to take us on a tour of his baby, which hasn't quite lost that new hotel smell. Now, we don't know about you, but we at Curbed HQ live by a simple and very strict code that has but one rule: When André Balazs offers you anything, you take it. And so we were off on a top-to-bottom tour of architect Todd Schleimann's High Line-straddling critical sensation. Balazs was happy to talk about The Standard in a context that had nothing to do with stuff like this (NSFW!), and so we got some fun Standard factoids out of Captain Hotelica. To the list!
1) There were some crazy early concepts: Remember the first rendering of The Standard with the upside-down logo? Sure, the California Standards have topsy-turvy logos as well, but we thought—considering the double-height space up top—the whole hotel would be flipped, with a sky lobby on the penthouse floor. Of course it didn't turn out that way, but Balazs told us that the upside-down thing was indeed considered. Not only that, but another gimmick he was playing with was putting the check-in desks in the elevators. The idea got scrapped for various reasons, partly because guests would get pretty annoyed having to go upstairs every time they needed to pick up or drop something off, and also, we assume, because janitors would grow tired of cleaning up the aftermath of the check-in staff's chronic motion sickness.
2) She's got legs and she knows how to use 'em: The hotel's concrete stilts (aka the stripper legs) look simple, but were actually one of the most challenging parts of the building process. Balazs & Co. wanted a textured concrete look inspired by the work of Japanese architect Tadao Ondo, but the board-formed concrete (vs. a straightforward concrete pour) was something that NYC construction firms never do. The solution? Paying a hell of a lot extra (every contractor has his price!). So while the legs look naked, they're actually the priciest gams in town.
3) Funky geometry explained!: Why the angled slab architecture? Because the island of Manhattan does a little dogleg turn right at this point, one inspiration for the hotel to do the same. While other new buildings take their place in the city grid like good little boys and girls, The Standard is angled out towards the water because the lack of buildable land to the south helps preserve those views.
4) The views from the gym: Sure beats using an Ab Roller while watching Dr. Phil:
5) The Standard that IS is not The Standard that WAS but is still potentially The Standard that WILL BE: It's no secret that Balazs was gunning for direct High Line access from the hotel. The "emergency stairs" that wind down into the hotel's plaza on Washington Street nearly rub up against the rail bed. The deal never got worked out, but negotiations with Friends of the High Line aren't closed forever. There may still be a Standard-High Line hook-up, but now Balazs is wondering if it's even worth it, due to all the increased foot-traffic through the hotel and the cost of adding things like handicap-friendly High Line access. Oh, and the outdoor deck that's on level with the High Line? It was supposed to have an outdoor pool, which got cut for budget reasons. Still, the engineering is such that the pool could still be added. All that High Linin' getting you hot and sweaty? Get a running start and jump into the pool! Just, uh, tell 'em that André sent you.