For Sale: The ‘Sexiest’ Hourly Rate Hotel in Manhattan


The Liberty Inn, the final hourly fee lodge in Manhattan’s meatpacking district, sits alone on a tiny triangular block beside the West Aspect Freeway. Its website payments its rooms because the “most sexiest” within the metropolis, and for almost 50 years it has supplied sanctuary for bouts of afternoon ardour, clandestine affairs and lunchtime quickies.

So when it was reported that it had been put available on the market with hopes of fetching about $25 million, I made a decision to examine in, to bear witness to a kinky vestige of previous New York earlier than it was gone.

The lodge is a nondescript three-story brick constructing with a burgundy awning on the entrance. Lengthy earlier than Google’s New York headquarters sprouted up just a few blocks away, the lodge’s pint-size constructing endured a long time of change, persisting by way of a number of cycles of Decrease Manhattan historical past.

Instead of meatpacking crops and after-hours golf equipment, there are actually brunch spots for the tech crowd and boutique accommodations, together with the Normal, with its penthouse evening spot Le Bain. Throughout the freeway, Little Island, constructed at an estimated value of $260 million by the mogul Barry Diller, rises out of the Hudson.

Within the early 1900s, it was the Strand Lodge, a boardinghouse for sailors. When the Titanic sank in 1912, and the Carpathia arrived with its survivors at Pier 54, The New York Times rented out rooms on the Strand for reporters to file dispatches in regards to the catastrophe. Within the late Nineteen Sixties it was known as the Cover-a-Method Motel. And till the mid-Eighties, the lodge shared the constructing with the Anvil, a famed homosexual nightclub.

After I stopped by final week, a household of vacationers was shopping for ice cream from a truck parked out entrance. Contained in the slim foyer, a merchandising machine sells condoms, cookies and sweet, and the entrance desk is protected by a window of bulletproof glass. An indication listed the room charges: $95 for a two-hour keep; $155 for six hours.

“Just you?” the concierge requested.

I nodded.

“OK, fine, but someone can’t come and join you after.”

He slipped me a key by way of the slot, and shortly I entered room No. 204, a comfy den bathed in crimson mild. The mattress had a fake reptile-skin headboard. Hanging above it was a ceiling mirror accented with cloud drawings. Purell packets sat on the evening stand. An indication by the door learn: “ALWAYS Turn Knob on Lock to Prevent Mistaken Entry!”

A black stump-like object sat in opposition to a wall. I quickly found that it unfolded and realized it was the Liberator, a wedgelike equipment that helps lovers contort into imaginative positions. The room was pristine, however I found one scrawl of ardour on the Liberator’s floor: a faint handprint.

After I caught my reflection within the ceiling mirror, I skilled a flashback to my very own encounter with the Liberty once I was 21 or so. I used to be simply beginning to see somebody, however we each nonetheless lived at dwelling with our dad and mom, and so one evening we took a blurry cab journey to the Liberty. What ensued is fuzzy, however I keep in mind that an iPhone, tucked right into a cup for amplification, was used to play Arcade Hearth, and a Jolly Rancher bought caught to somebody’s hair. The clumsy journey ended two hours later, however it bonded us, and the connection turned the primary critical romance of my life.

The telephone rang towards the tip of my transient keep.

“Fifteen minutes,” the concierge mentioned.

On my manner out, I hoarded a bunch of Liberty Inn-branded merchandise like slippers and cleaning soap bars as keepsakes, and I’ve since added them to my assortment of previous New York ephemera: matchbooks from Toots Shor and Maxwell’s Plum, coat examine tags from the Four Seasons, a swizzle stick from the Waldorf Astoria.

For just a few days, I’d been making an attempt to contact the Liberty’s proprietor, who, in line with an 2011 article in The Instances, was named Robert Boyd, however I used to be having hassle reaching him. I additionally grew confused, as a result of an article in Crain’s New York Business in regards to the constructing’s potential sale mentioned the proprietor was a person named Edward Raboy.

On a return go to to the lodge, I advised the concierge I used to be the journalist who had been calling and requested if both Robert or Edward had been round. He made a telephone name, relaying to somebody that I’d arrived, after which he grinned and advised me: “They’re the same guy.”

Momentarily, a person in his 70s sporting glasses and a listening to help walked down the steps to fulfill me. He mentioned he was Mr. Raboy and politely defined that he had used the identify Robert Boyd as an alias over time to assist him cope with the idiosyncrasies that may include working a enterprise as peculiar because the Liberty Inn.

“What does it matter now?” he advised me. “I’ve got nothing to hide.”

Mr. Raboy mentioned his father had run the institution when it was known as the Cover-a-Method, including that he took over in 1977, again when meatpackers in bloodstained aprons nonetheless labored within the neighborhood, and he quickly began working it together with his spouse. He mentioned that he was reluctant to inform his lodge’s full story, as a result of he hoped to recount it at some point in a guide, however he agreed to offer me a tour of its rooms.

First we visited No. 103, which featured a scorching tub and wall artwork that depicted eroticized characters from “Alice in Wonderland.”

“As you can see, there’s a full-length wall mirror, which people appreciate,” he mentioned. “We don’t use rugs because they can become the dirtiest thing.

“Our team is constantly deep cleaning every inch of every room,” he continued. “Cleanliness is next to godliness. Even back when we first started, we were the cleanest short-stay hotel in town.”

Room 104 glowed in a soothing blue mild. Room 209 had a hand-painted mural on its ceiling depicting a frisky couple. The mattress in Room 210, which Mr. Raboy mentioned was one of many Liberty’s hottest suites, had large crimson lips for a headboard.

“There’s something cute and different about each room, and we have people who take to certain rooms and keep requesting them,” he mentioned. “We’re trying to induce people into a good time here. We don’t follow them into their rooms, but we understand what they’re doing in there.”

Reflecting on his years working the Liberty, Mr. Raboy mentioned that the choice to place the increase on the market was bittersweet, including that it additionally simply made sense. He cited desirous to retire and the neighborhood’s gentrification amongst his causes for leaving the enterprise.

“So much has changed since the 1970s, back when I called this area the ‘Wild West Side,’” he mentioned. “It’s now turned into an almost sedate kind of place. What was then appropriate for a hotel like this doesn’t make sense quite the same way anymore. Above all, the building is now more valuable to other people financially, because it’s so unique.”

“Hourly hotels are like that Rodney Dangerfield quote, ‘You don’t get no respect,’” he added. “But it’s been a fabulous run.”

After the tour, I perched on the Excessive Line simply throughout the road to watch individuals coming into and leaving the Liberty. One man led a lady inside with the swagger of somebody who had been there earlier than. One other pair entered with some hesitation. As I saved watching the afternoon {couples} emerge again into the tumult of the town, I noticed they had been all holding palms.


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