The 293-room Hotel Indigo at 171 Ludlow St. (and 180 Orchard St.!) opened its doors on Monday between East Houston and Stanton.
The property has been in the works for about 10 years now. (You can read more at The Lo-Down and BoweryBoogie.)
And the main attraction — for guests and non-guests alike — promises to be the 15th-floor bar with an outdoor pool. Here are details via WWD:
Mr. Purple is the first venture this far downtown for Gerber Group, which operates places such as Union Square’s Irvington and The Roof at Viceroy, along Central Park. Though there will be some adjustments for the group — “we’ll see a lot more tattoos on our staff” — the move to the Lower East Side sees Gerber maintaining their high-end approach. “We’re not the Lower East Side place that has $3 beers and $1 shots,” Gerber says; Mr. Purple’s house cocktails average around $14 to $15, and beers are $7.
And where did the name originate?
The bar name comes from the Lower East Side icon David Wilkie, who became known as “Mr. Purple” for his preferred shade of clothing. The street artist Lee Quiñones was working on a mural for the hotel, and one of the images he was doing was of Mr. Purple. “That’s really what inspired us,” Gerber says. Mr. Purple’s image is discreetly painted on the ceiling of the 14th floor lobby.
Purple, the environmentalist and activist, died on Sept. 14 at age 84. Considered by some to be the godfather of the urban gardening movement, Purple created a five-lot, 15,000-square-foot garden amid the nearby ruins of the Lower East Side in the mid-1980s.
And now his memory lives on at Mr. Purple with its purple bar seats and $15 house cocktails...
Updated 4:30 p.m.
Gothamist notes that Mr. Purple's reps seem "to be backtracking on this a bit." They quote a news release about Mr. Purple with this backstory:
A mysterious man, born and raised in the Lower East Side, the city was his muse. He was an unmistakable staple of the neighborhood and an unforgettable piece of its continuing character. His art, like his personality, was ephemeral with no known relics outlasting him. It has been said that to see him work was to have a glimpse into utopia. For now, Mr. Purple, and all that he represents, is up to your imagination to interpret.
The Gerber Group sent us the following statement this morning in regard to Mr. Purple:
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.
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.
Previously on EV Grieve:
RIP Adam Purple