6.27.17 / New York / New York

A Walk Through The PUBLIC Hotel, New York’s Favorite New Playground

A look at all the spaces that make the PUBLIC feel unique

In its first few weeks, the PUBLIC Hotel has already become a major downtown attraction, with its many spaces buzzing with young people working, drinking, or just catching some skyline views. We’ve already showed you what a party at PUBLIC looks like, but we we’re equally interested in why the hotel has become so immediately popular, and what it is that makes it stand out.

For that, we had to seek out the Director of Brand Experience, Sebastian Puga. Puga, having cut his teeth at The Standard, Morgan’s, and SIXTY, was drawn to the prospect of something new at PUBLIC.”I think it’s a new idea, with a very playful approach where there’s so many different feelings and emotions that are created once you get off Chrystie Street.” The most common thing people say about the hotel is that there is almost too much to do, with multiple common areas and half a dozen bars all with unique offerings. “It’s difficult to be able to create all of that, and do it right,” Puga says. “Doing it without feeling kitschy or over-processed, over done. I think the sensibility of being able to create different moments with such a big building is the most impressive thing about hotel.”

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[Sebastian Puga with Steven Rojas]

To get a sense of the space (and the enormity of it), Puga walked and talked us through the hotel, giving us a look at everything visitors can experience. “There’s so many groups that are constantly flowing, and it feels very open, and it feels very free,” he describes as we walk past people eating pizza in the park, working in the lobby, and drinking at Diego. To that end, we look at the spaces that make PUBLIC appealing, and why it feels like “a giant playground.”

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Chrystie Park

“I think it’s nice to have separation, before you come into the hotel, from the street. Chrystie Park gives you a meeting place, and it’s a nice little meeting place, a little oasis, before you get into the Ian Schrager property. You have the chess board, you have the park benches, we were inspired by real New York parks. So you see people working, having coffee, and enjoying a little park environment before you get out to the street.”

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“The food market is Jean-Georges doing gourmet salad, sandwiches, hot foods, everyday. Fresh juices, ice cream with toppings, breakfast, lunch, dinner, always served here, and it’s open late. It’s all curated by Jean-Georges. And we have La Colombe coffee and teas [served on a separate counter] as an extension of Louis.”

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The Shop

“The shop is a very unique, one of a kind store. It’s curated by Steven Giles and Ian’s wife Tanya. It’s a lot of unbranded one of a kind items that you can’t really find in every store. We made these Nike custom PUBLIC basketballs, that we’re able to give to guests to play across the street at the park, at the Nike KAWS court there.”

[Credit: BFA]

PUBLIC Kitchen

“It’s Jean-Georges doing New York food. So it’s a great mix of one of the best chefs in the world doing something unique for New York. The beautiful patio in the back, creates another oasis in the back of the hotel. The black truffle egg pizza is phenomenal, they’ve got some flatbread pizzas. And the lamb chops are really excellent. You have Jean-George doing a market which is super casual and grab-and-go, but still gourmet. And you have Jean Georges doing 3 course restaurant with Jean Georges service and executive chef. You have an elevated experience and a grab and go experience.”

Lobby Bar

Lobby + Lobby Bar

“The lobby is a really great co-working, co-mingling, social conducive environment. 80 percent of the people here are on laptops, and working, having meetings. We have a great juice and tea program, which in the afternoon turns into cocktails.”



“Diego is really like the grown-ups bar, and feels a little bit more sophisticated. It’s an alternative to the restaurant. It’s a great date spot, it’s quiet, the lighting is sexy, there’s a fireplace. That was a Diego Rivera mural “Man at the Crossroads” that was commissioned by the Rockefellers in the ’30s and because of the communist undertones the family had it destroyed before it was shown to the world. The bar is called Diego after Diego Rivera, and there’s a really great influence in the cocktails with mezcals and tequilas. We worked with Ivy Mix who is the international bartender of the year. And she helped create some really sophisticated drinks with a great wine list and some great food options by Jean Georges.”

The Roof

The Roof

“The roof is really great because it has unobstructed views of downtown. In lower Manhattan, all the buildings are really low so you have these really incredible views of NYC. When you’re up here at night in the dark, it feels like you’re in this jewel box, or spaceship, floating in the sky. And all the city lights is the only lighting in here. Up here you let your hair down a little bit, you have a bit of a disco party. We’re focused really great programming like Kaviar Disco Club, The Misshapes, Justin Strauss and Justin Miller. All playing really fun disco music.”

Patti Smith
[Credit: BFA]


“Downstairs we have Public Arts. It’s turned into a fully immersive performance arts theater. It’s not a nightclub—there’s dance performances, there’s comedy nights we’ve had, we’ve had movie screenings, we’ve had performances with Patti Smith, and Skip Marley, and Rostam, and we have open format DJs on the weekends as well. It feels like a big house party down there.”

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