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Hotel The Gershwin Hotel Hotel 2 star
7 E 27th St New York, United States of America -
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Amy Adejokun Section editor

More of a community than a hotel, The Gershwin is a one-of-a-kind property in the Flatiron District of Manhattan. An art lover's paradise, this is the most creative hotel in the city with art at its very core. It welcomes an artist-in-residence twice a year, has regular exhibitions and shows and has its own collection to boot, displayed throughout the hotel. Almost secondary is the actual accommodation, which is basic yet retro and fun and surprisingly well-appointed. It has a quirky coffee shop-come-library, a young, vibrant staff and a relatively central location which makes it the ideal place to stay for alternative, arty travellers looking to both see the city but also to dip their foot in the waters of New York's art scene.

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    • Hotel The Gershwin Hotel

      The Gershwin Hotel   -   © Igor Lubinetsky / EASYVOYAGE

    • Hotel The Gershwin Hotel

      The Gershwin Hotel   -   © Igor Lubinetsky / EASYVOYAGE

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    Location 7.3 /10

    The Gershwin is situated on East 27th Street between Madison and Fifth Avenues in the Flatiron district of the city. This is probably not the most exciting part of town although there are a good selection of restaurants, bars and shops. Other areas close by include the Korea Town, Gramercy Park and Murray Hill, although for the most interesting and animated neighbourhoods you'll have to take a longer walk or hop on a subway and head to the heart of Midtown or south to Downtown. Herald Square, Penn Station and Madison Square Gardens can all be reached in 15 minutes by foot from the hotel, while Chelsea and West Village are a little further away. Several subway stations are within several minutes' walk of the hotel whose lines will get you pretty much anywhere you need to go within the city. JFK is 17 miles away, La Guardia 9 miles and Newark 15.

    Accommodation 6.70 /10

    Although no two rooms at The Gershwin are exactly the same given the layout of the building and the distribution of furniture, they all share the same amenities and there are definitely some aspects which are consistent. All rooms have hardwood floors and have either a queen bed, two singles or, in the larger rooms, both). Beside each bed is a '70s style bedside table with telephone and alarm clock (some rooms have iPod docking stations) and there is also a simple desk in the same style as well as an occasional table with old school seating in the form of simple chairs and/or leather armchairs. Every room also has a refrigerator and television and those which do not have a flatscreen will have very soon. In the closets you'll find a safe and iron and ironing board while many rooms also have a portrait of Pablo Picasso in. One could argue that the rooms are quite dated and that some of the furniture has seen better days, but we feel that this is all part of the style and should not be rectified unless it needs to be from a health and safety point of view. It makes the place feel more like a huge squat than a hotel which is perfect for what the property represents. The bathrooms are in general rather pokey but clean and have either a bathtub or shower, shower gel dispensers, ecological soap, hairdryer and in some cases naked water pipes. The family rooms have a second bedroom with two single beds as well as a separate seating area and have a coffee machine and complimentary water. Dormitory rooms are also available with varying numbers of bunk beds for those short on cash. These rooms have shared en suite bathrooms and safety deposit boxes set aside for them at reception. During our visit the hotel was in the midst of repainting some rooms (just for a change of colour, not because they were in a bad way) and were also planning on bringing in new linens. Both these operations should be completed by now.

    Overview 7.70 /10

    The creativity of The Gershwin is apparent from the off with the flame installation poking through the front of the building. From each of the four main arched windows and doors of the hotel's frontage protrude what are supposed to be the flames of a fire which licks ever higher in the form smaller, more bulbous flames. Although the flames themselves are not red, the rare (for New York) brick work of the first several floors of the building are a fiery red colour which helps to make the whole installation more authentic. The source of the flame comes outside from within the spacious lobby which features down its centre a black and red carpet. At the left is the reception desk with black and white striped columns at either end while on the right is the sole lift. In one corner of the lobby is a seating area with retro '70s furniture and all around the room are works or art. Through some theatre curtains at the back of the space is another brilliantly red space which serves as a place to chill out as well as another area for exhibiting. Here there is also a stage for the weekly performances at the hotel and through a large set of metal doors at the back is a space for off-Broadway shows and the silent cinema evenings.

    Each of the floors of the hotel (the corridors, not rooms) has been given over to a different artist who has been given carte blanche to display his or her pieces and we urge you to explore these works beyond the floor you are staying on as each one is totally different.

    The only other public space at the hotel, aside from the Birch Café's library (see 'Food and Drink'), is the business centre (charge applies) which also has a phone car vending machine. If you have a laptop then you can make use of the hotel's complimentary wifi service.

    Food and drink 7.20 /10

    Fitting in perfectly with the values of The Gershwin is its coffee shop restaurant Birch Coffee. Situated adjacent to the hotel, it serves speciality farm-to-cup coffee sourced from small, local, sustainable farms across the world as well as fresh food which is, as far as possible, local, sustainable and organic. Even the materials used to build and decorate the eatery are environmentally friendly from the counter tops to the paint.

    The menu changes seasonally to reflect availability of ingredients, but some examples of the dishes served are: summer salad of tomato, watermelon, arugula, goat cheese and pomegranate dressing; roasted eggplant sandwich with tomato, red cabbage, cilantro, yoghurt and chili jam; and cheese plate (locally sourced, of course) with honey and toasted focaccia. During the weekend Birch serves a brunch with dishes at extremely reasonable prices. The coffee shop also has a selection of locally produced wines and beers.

    As well as food and coffee, Birch is passionate about performance, books and charity. It therefore welcomes musicians and comedians from time to time, has a cute little library for both clients and hotel guests and gives a percentage of its takings to two different causes.

    To know

    The Gershwin has a unique Artist in Residence (AiR) programme whereby artists from one of nine different fields are invited to apply to the hotel to take up residency for anywhere between two weeks and two months in exchange for a project to be carried out within the hotel. Although there is no cash prize, the hotel does its best to publicise the artist and exhibits their work (or gives an appropriate outlet for it, as dancers, writers and film-makers are also encouraged to apply). As well as AiR programme, there are monthly exhibitions of art, bi-weekly entertainment shows organised by the hotel's very own Neke Carson which are priced at $10-$20 (half price for residents) and short film projections organised on the first Sunday of every month.


    • Car park
    • Handicap access
    • Restaurant
    • Internet access
    • Air conditioning
    • Spa

      Turkish bath

    • Swimming pool
    • Sports equipment

      fitness, sports, tennis

    • Safe
    • Non-smoking rooms
    • Solarium


    • Art programme
    • Staff
    • Retro décor
    • Community feel
    • Coffee shop/library
    • Bunk rooms


    • No fitness/wellness facilities

    Traveller Reviews

    • Overall Score nc/10
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