It’s hard to not be impressed by the paintings by Cy Twombly, Andy Warhol, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Damien Hirst, and Richard Prince hanging at The Gramercy Park Hotel. They were chosen by artist and filmmaker Julian Schnabel, who masterminded a dramatic redesign of the lobby and bars of this historic hotel in 2003 when it was bought by former Studio 54 owner and hotel impresario Ian Schrager. The creative revamp succeeds in respecting the bohemian past of this legendary hotel (Humphrey Bogart and James Cagney lived here; past guests include Bob Dylan, The Clash, and David Bowie) while injecting some modern high-end glamour. Today, the hotel attracts the moneyed international art set (Karl Lagerfeld and members of the Whitney family own apartments here), so settle in for some people-watching as you shoot some pool in the main lounge, or sip on a cocktail in an oversized armchair by the fire. And you’re sure to overhear interesting conversation seated at the adjacent smaller bar.
Continue indulging in good taste and worldly sophistication at the Gramercy Tavern a few blocks away, a city favorite for drinks or a high-end meal. It is a cozy and refined spot, with its high ceilings, dark-wood beams, dramatic floral arrangements, subdued lighting, and mature buzz in the air. The bartenders are well informed and will help you choose the right wine or dish from the top-notch menu. Or, sit in the main dining area or in the more secluded (and expensive) back room and spoil yourself by ordering the gourmet tasting menu.