BY GABE HERMAN | The Moxy NYC East Village hotel opened on Sept. 12, having replaced five old buildings on E. 11th St. that many Villagers tried to save back in 2016.
The new hotel is at 112 E. 11th St., between Third and Fourth Aves., across from Webster Hall. Developed by Lightstone, the Moxy has 286 rooms. Lightstone worked with Tao Group Hospitality to include other features in the place, including Alphabet Bar & Café; Cathedrale, a French-Mediterranean restaurant; Little Sister, a lounge; and a rooftop bar that will open next spring. Cathedrale will feature a sculpture called “Fillmore,” paying tribute to the legendary Fillmore East concert venue that was on Second Ave.
Other features include a series called #SweatatMoxy, led by local wellness experts, and morning meditation sessions on the roof.
“Moxy East Village is multidimensional,” said Mitchell Hochberg, president of Lightstone, “a thrilling mashup that lets people honor the past, experience the present, and dream about the future. We’re embracing it all to create a true sense of magic.”
Moxy has 46 so-called experiential hotels worldwide, including local ones in Times Square and Chelsea that were also developed by Lightstone.
The new East Village hotel and all its offerings, however, came at the expense of five Beaux-Arts tenement buildings from the late 19th century that were razed to make way for the new building. Local opponents charged that Mayor Bill de Blasio and the hotel’s developer had financial connections.
Andrew Berman, executive director of Village Preservation, which strongly opposed the project, called the new hotel building a “monstrosity” and its opening “no cause for celebration.”
Before the five previous buildings were destroyed, the city had ruled them landmark eligible, Berman said.
“They contained scores of units of affordable, rent-stabilized housing,” he said of the razed row of buildings. “They were destroyed to make way for this hotel built by one of the mayor’s main campaign fundraisers and supporters. In fact, once David Lichtenstein’s Lightstone Group purchased the property, the city was no longer interested in landmarking these buildings, which it had previously determined were historically significant.”
Protests were held in 2016 at the old buildings, at which Berman, state Senator Brad Hoylman and dozens of community advocates rallied. But ultimately the project was green-lighted to go forward.
“The last thing this neighborhood needs is a huge hotel like this with lots of bars, clubs and restaurants, housed in some of the most banal architecture seen anywhere in a long time,” Berman said of the new hotel after its opening.
Berman also doubted that Councilmember Carlina Rivera’s claims of trying to limit hotel development in the area will amount to much.
“She promised to fight for restrictions on hotel and other kinds of development in this area as a condition of supporting the mayor’s Tech Hub upzoning just a few blocks away from here,” the preservationist said. “[But] over a year after she threw her support behind [those restrictions], there has been no progress, so the Moxy may be just the first of many such developments here.
“Opening day for the Moxy,” Berman added, “was a sad day for the East Village.”