Tuesday, December 29, 2009
I've become a bit of a regular at Stumptown Coffee housed on the ground floor of The Ace Hotel. They have a full bodied Cafe Americano with a nice bite and a kick that only a black coffee lover like myself can appreciate. Since I have come to admire Stumptown, I find myself at The Ace Hotel, just about any time that I am in the hood. And what a hood it is!
This is an area that really needs a neighborhood name and, perhaps, there should be a contest. I have referred to the area as "Little Lagos" for a while now in honor of the African Immigrants that line Broadway peddling wholesale goods from small shops throughout the area. 28th Street itself was once know as "Tin Pan Alley" as it was the world capital of sheet music from 1885 til sometime during the Great Depression. Now a new hotel will join Ace a block away and they have a suggestion, and it is their namesake, NoMad (For North of Madison Square historic district). While the name may be debatable, the bones of this project are undeniably awesome. The hotel will be located on the southwest corner of 28th and Broadway in a gorgeous and elegant French Renaissance building built in 1903. This should prove to be the perfect canvas for French Contemporary architect and interior designer, Jacques Garcia, to go to work. It is also owned by GFI Development which built the Ace. GFI took the gamble on Ace, which now appears to be paying off handsomely, and now NoMad looks like a far less risky venture. Still the neighborhood is the question mark. Sure, it has a ton of junkie counterfeiters, but, let's face it, you cannot ask for a more central location, and there are plenty of gorgeous buildings on that stretch of Broadway that date to the late 18th and early 19th century which are ripe for redevelopment. Both Ace and NoMad take up sizable lots on 28th and 29th and The Flatiron Hotel should be opening soon on 26th and Broadway. Refreshingly, upscale shops and restaurants are taking the place of eyesores. Perhaps, just maybe, this is the turn that this stretch of Broadway has been begging for for years. Manya Duhoffman, Director of Sales and Marketing for NoMad envisions a Melrose Avenue (L.A) type of stretch with hip and unique shops lining the street. While it has a long way to go, I hope her vision one day becomes reality.
While NoMad was originally scheduled to open in 2009, according to Duhoffmann, numerous factors, including the economy have pushed the date back to sometime in 2011. I guess good things are worth the wait.
In the meantime, how about a new neighborhood name. SoHers (South of Herald Square)? TinBro (hybrid of Tin Can Alley and Broadway)? Eh, maybe NoMad will work afterall!