According to an article in WWD, the bar, featuring an outdoor pool and cocktails in the $14-$15 range, was inspired by Adam Purple, the well-known Lower East Side environmentalist and activist, who died on Sept. 14 at age 84.
News that the upscale bar named itself for Purple, who, in the mid-1980s, created a five-lot, 15,000-square-foot garden amid the ruins of the Lower East Side and spoke out against unchecked development, prompted criticism from some readers/residents here and here and here.
The Gerber Group, who operates the bar space, sent us the following statement this morning in regard to Mr. Purple to show that they are committed to supporting the local community:
The name of the bar and restaurant was established when the project was first conceptualized in 2014. It was indeed inspired by Lower East Side resident David Wilkie, who became known as "Mr. Purple." A gardener and activist, he was an iconic figure who dedicated his life to beautifying and improving the neighborhood. A mural was painted in his honor and can be seen on display in the lobby area of the hotel.
Also, in honoring Wilkie's dedication to the neighborhood, the restaurant is committed to supporting the Lower East Side community through several initiatives including partnerships with the Bowery Mission and local businesses such as Russ & Daughters, il laboratorio del gelato and Yonah Schimmel Knish Bakery who are all featured on the restaurant's menu. Additionally, through the Lower East Side Employment Network (LESEN), 30 percent of jobs at the hotel have been allocated to local residents.
The lobby mural in question is the work of prominent graffiti artist Lee Quiñones, who grew up on the Lower East Side in the 1960s and 1970s.
A representative from Russ & Daughters reached out to us with a statement:
Russ & Daughters doesn’t have a partnership with Mr. Purple or Hotel Indigo. That restaurant simply purchased smoked salmon at our shop one time. We never authorized them to use our name on their menus or in their promotional materials.