“I thought Times Square was ripe for a reawakening and a reinvention,” says celebrated hotelier and real-estate developer Ian Schrager of opening the 452-room Edition hotel this month. And for the Brooklyn-born Schrager—who has been reinventing everything from nightclubs to residential developments since the 1970s—this was a challenge squarely in his wheelhouse.
As anyone who has set foot in a Schrager-designed hotel knows, guests should expect the unexpected. The Edition was not designed solely for tourists, but to be an alluring multihyphenate space that would draw savvy New Yorkers to its top-tier restaurants, its entertaining spaces, and even its modern take on a cabaret club. “We don’t appeal to a demographic; we appeal to a psychographic,” Schrager, who in the 1970s co-owned nightclub Studio 54 a few blocks away, explains. “It’s a person in the know who would like to be part of the zeitgeist.”
And indeed, from the moment one exits the frenetic energy of Times Square into the Zenlike black-and-white minimalist entryway, it’s clear this hotel prides itself on its aesthetics, as well as a commitment to creating an oasis in the midst of an urban jungle. “I love the apparent contradiction between having something visually sophisticated, refined and elegant, juxtaposed against all the noise and boisterousness of Times Square,” Schrager says. “When you combine those things together, a third zone is created. That’s where the magic happens.”
Schrager also drew on this yin and yang when creating the public and private spaces of the hotel. Inspiration for the guest rooms came from turn-of-the-century transatlantic ocean liners, whose elegant staterooms were meant to provide peaceful respite from the chaos of the busier areas of the ship. “[Here], you’re able to leave that, go downstairs to the public space, and get the best of New York City,” he says. That is, if guests can tear themselves away from their rooms’ amenities, which include oak herringbone floors, bespoke ivory leather armchairs, and a curated collection of Andy Warhol Factory images from Trunk Archives.
Of course, this being a Schrager property, the food and entertaining options are a draw not only for the guests upstairs, but any New Yorker who aims to be first on the scene. Flagship restaurant 701West is helmed by Michelin-starred chef John Fraser and features a fusion menu of French, Asian, and Latin cuisine, while the nightlife space the Paradise Club will mount shows showcasing everything from aerial acrobatics to magic.
And take special note, New Year’s Eve partygoers: The Edition is the only hotel in Times Square that boasts an outdoor terrace with a perfect view of the ball drop. While party plans haven’t been revealed just yet, “you can rest assured that we’re coming up with something,” Schrager says with a chuckle.