There's a funny piece in The Washington Post in which staff writer Joel Achenbach recalls his experience at "a striking place, very modern, a steel-and-glass tower rising above the Lower East Side." He never mentions the place by name. But I'm assuming it's the ol' Cooper Square Hotel... (He mentions grabbing a slice at Ray's... and a room at the Coop does go for $270 ...) Anyway, I think I'd feel exactly the same way as Joel here ...
Walking in, there's no sign of a lobby per se. No Registration Desk. A snappy dresser tells me to follow him. Suddenly I'm introduced to a sharp-looking woman who is, apparently -- maybe -- a concierge of sorts, and is somehow associated with the task of giving me a room. It's like we're going to have a conversation first.
I'm a little thrown off by the whole thing. I need a room, a phone, electricity. I want a KEY. But perhaps that's me being really old-fashioned.
In the absence of a Registration Desk, the concierge-type person operates out of what appears to be a small conference room, as if I'm going to sign refinancing papers. Alas, there is no room yet available, it being merely 1 in the afternoon. You know that even at $270 a night you can't expect a hotel to have a room ready this early in the day.
And it only gets better!
So I wait for 90 minutes -- stylishly, hanging out amid the groovy furniture, ducking out briefly for a slice of pizza at Ray's.
They're all very nice. They offer me a drink! But no: At this point I am starting to crave a Motel 6.
Finally get the room. It's about the size of a large bed. Everything is so gleaming that I worry I'm going to leave fingerprints everywhere.
It's hard on a middle-age man's ego to realize that he's being totally outcooled by everyone on the hotel staff. The guy fetching the taxi probably pities me. Because he knows he still has a future. He says to himself: Thank God I'm not him. How does he face the morning???