For Sale: The ‘Sexiest’ Hourly Rate Hotel in Manhattan | Big Indy News
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For Sale: The ‘Sexiest’ Hourly Rate Hotel in Manhattan



The Liberty Inn, the last hourly rate hotel in Manhattan’s meatpacking district, sits alone on a tiny triangular block beside the West Side Highway. Its website bills its rooms as the “most sexiest” in the city, and for nearly 50 years it has provided sanctuary for bouts of afternoon passion, clandestine affairs and lunchtime quickies.

So when it was reported that it had been put on the market with hopes of fetching about $25 million, I decided to check in, to bear witness to a kinky vestige of old New York before it was gone.

The hotel is a nondescript three-story brick building with a burgundy awning at the entrance. Long before Google’s New York headquarters sprouted up a few blocks away, the hotel’s pint-size building endured decades of change, persisting through several cycles of Lower Manhattan history.

In place of meatpacking plants and after-hours clubs, there are now brunch spots for the tech crowd and boutique hotels, including the Standard, with its penthouse night spot Le Bain. Across the highway, Little Island, built at an estimated cost of $260 million by the mogul Barry Diller, rises out of the Hudson.

In the early 1900s, it was the Strand Hotel, a boardinghouse for sailors. When the Titanic sank in 1912, and the Carpathia arrived with its survivors at Pier 54, The New York Times rented out rooms at the Strand for reporters to file dispatches about the disaster. In the late 1960s it was called the Hide-a-Way Motel. And until the mid-1980s, the hotel shared the building with the Anvil, a famed gay nightclub.

When I stopped by last week, a family of tourists was buying ice cream from a truck parked out front. Inside the narrow lobby, a vending machine sells condoms, cookies and candy, and the front desk is protected by a window of bulletproof glass. A sign listed the room rates: $95 for a two-hour stay; $155 for six hours.

“Just you?” the concierge asked.

I nodded.

“OK, fine, but someone can’t come and join you after.”

He slipped me a key through the slot, and soon I entered room No. 204, a cozy den bathed in red light. The bed had a faux reptile-skin headboard. Hanging above it was a ceiling mirror accented with cloud drawings. Purell packets sat on the night stand. A sign by the door read: “ALWAYS Turn Knob on Lock to Prevent Mistaken Entry!”

A black stump-like object sat against a wall. I soon discovered that it unfolded and realized it was the Liberator, a wedgelike apparatus that helps lovers contort into imaginative positions. The room was pristine, but I discovered one scrawl of passion on the Liberator’s surface: a faint handprint.

When I caught my reflection in the ceiling mirror, I experienced a flashback to my own encounter with the Liberty when I was 21 or so. I was just starting to see someone, but we both still lived at home with our parents, and so one night we took a blurry cab ride to the Liberty. What ensued is fuzzy, but I remember that an iPhone, tucked into a cup for amplification, was used to play Arcade Fire, and a Jolly Rancher got stuck to someone’s hair. The clumsy adventure ended two hours later, but it bonded us, and the relationship became the first serious romance of my life.

The phone rang toward the end of my brief stay.

“Fifteen minutes,” the concierge said.

On my way out, I hoarded a bunch of Liberty Inn-branded products like slippers and soap bars as keepsakes, and I’ve since added them to my collection of old New York ephemera: matchbooks from Toots Shor and Maxwell’s Plum, coat check tags from the Four Seasons, a swizzle stick from the Waldorf Astoria.

For a few days, I’d been trying to contact the Liberty’s owner, who, according to an 2011 article in The Times, was named Robert Boyd, but I was having trouble reaching him. I also grew confused, because an article in Crain’s New York Business about the building’s prospective sale said the owner was a man named Edward Raboy.

On a return visit to the hotel, I told the concierge I was the journalist who had been calling and asked if either Robert or Edward were around. He made a phone call, relaying to someone that I’d arrived, and then he grinned and told me: “They’re the same guy.”

Momentarily, a man in his 70s wearing glasses and a hearing aid walked down the stairs to meet me. He said he was Mr. Raboy and politely explained that he had used the name Robert Boyd as an alias over the years to help him deal with the idiosyncrasies that can come with running a business as peculiar as the Liberty Inn.

“What does it matter now?” he told me. “I’ve got nothing to hide.”

Mr. Raboy said his father had run the establishment when it was called the Hide-a-Way, adding that he took over in 1977, back when meatpackers in bloodstained aprons still worked in the neighborhood, and he soon started running it with his wife. He said that he was reluctant to tell his hotel’s full story, because he hoped to recount it one day in a book, but he agreed to give me a tour of its rooms.

First we visited No. 103, which featured a hot tub and wall art that depicted eroticized characters from “Alice in Wonderland.”

“As you can see, there’s a full-length wall mirror, which people appreciate,” he said. “We don’t use rugs because they can become the dirtiest thing.

“Our team is constantly deep cleaning every inch of every room,” he continued. “Cleanliness is next to godliness. Even back when we first started, we were the cleanest short-stay hotel in town.”

Room 104 glowed in a soothing blue light. Room 209 had a hand-painted mural on its ceiling depicting a frisky couple. The bed in Room 210, which Mr. Raboy said was one of the Liberty’s most popular suites, had giant red lips for a headboard.

“There’s something cute and different about each room, and we have people who take to certain rooms and keep requesting them,” he said. “We’re trying to induce people into a good time here. We don’t follow them into their rooms, but we understand what they’re doing in there.”

Reflecting on his years running the Liberty, Mr. Raboy said that the decision to put the building up for sale was bittersweet, adding that it also just made sense. He cited wanting to retire and the neighborhood’s gentrification among his reasons for leaving the business.

“So much has changed since the 1970s, back when I called this area the ‘Wild West Side,’” he said. “It’s now turned into an almost sedate kind of place. What was then appropriate for a hotel like this doesn’t make sense quite the same way anymore. Above all, the building is now more valuable to other people financially, because it’s so unique.”

“Hourly hotels are like that Rodney Dangerfield quote, ‘You don’t get no respect,’” he added. “But it’s been a fabulous run.”

After the tour, I perched on the High Line just across the street to observe people entering and leaving the Liberty. One man led a woman inside with the swagger of someone who had been there before. Another pair entered with some hesitation. As I kept watching the afternoon couples emerge back into the tumult of the city, I realized they were all holding hands.

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Love Letter: A Mysterious Delivery



After Charlotte Maya lost her husband to suicide, she and her young sons were used to unexpected visitors. But when her doorbell rang one mid-December evening, nobody was there.

Instead, on her doormat was a kit to make a gingerbread house with a note that only said, “On the First Day of Christmas. … ”

In this week’s Modern Love essay, “When a Doorbell’s Ring Means Hope,” Ms. Maya describes how a series of mysterious deliveries buoyed her family during their darkest days.

Join the 7-Day Happiness Challenge.

Research shows that the single most important driver of happiness is the strength of our relationships. Sign up for a week of exercises from the New York Times Well desk that will help set you up for a happier, more connected year.

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How One Japanese-American Designer Is Revitalizing Vintage Kimonos



In her Brooklyn studio, designer Sara Sakanaka keeps a small drawstring bag that her grandmother made for her decades ago. Sewn from textile scraps, the striped pouch is one of Sakanaka’s oldest keepsakes, an heirloom representing a generations-old philosophy. “My mom used to tell me this story. It was about how if we treat objects with love and care for one hundred years, they can obtain a soul,” she shares as pours each of us a cup of Mugicha, a Japanese Barley tea that she grew up drinking. We met at her studio on a gray Tuesday morning, where a collection of silk separates, each made from reclaimed Japanese kimonos, hangs neatly. On a shelf, folded piles of salvaged textiles wait for her to sew them into something new, just like her grandmother once did as a hobby. “There’s this whole idea that objects have lives,” she says. “I like to see every piece as a true considered object in that way.” 

Nick Krasznai / courtesy of Considered Objects 

It makes sense then that Sakanaka would name her own label Considered Objects. The 39-year-old launched her line—a collection of hand-sewn jackets, dresses, and shirtings that are made entirely from reclaimed Japanese kimonos and textiles—just two years ago. “I never had the dream of starting a business,” she shares. “I was happy working toward someone else’s vision. But at some point, there’s this part of you that wants to explore what you want to say. It took time for me to be able to discover that.” 

Sakanaka has a lot to say. With 20 years of experience under her belt, she has developed a design philosophy of her own. “I have no interest in buying new materials or producing with mills,” she says while showing me the intricate, hand-stitched panels of a vintage summer kimono. As she points out its cotton lining and hand-painted family crests (her own paternal and maternal family crests are tattooed on each of her arms), it becomes clear that she is not just making clothing; she’s stitching age-old stories into contemporary garments. “After years of working at different fashion brands, I found that you can get stuck on this hamster wheel. What has always grounded me was the question, ‘how can I not only find true meaning in these things, but how can I offer connection through these pieces?’”

Nick Krasznai / courtesy of Considered Objects 

Nick Krasznai / courtesy of Considered Objects 

An FIT graduate, the apparel designer previously worked for fashion label Imitation of Christ, luxury line Ports 1961, bespoke womenswear collection Honor, and the Japanese fashion house Foxey. In 2020, after spending nearly four years traveling back and forth between New York and Japan for work, she felt she was ready for something new. “I started to wonder how I would mentally, physically, and creatively sustain. I was burnt out.” she tells me. Around that time, her grandmother, the one who gave her the collaged drawstring bag and taught her how to sew, passed away. “This was during the pandemic, so I wasn’t able to attend her funeral in Japan. I had previously inherited her collection of kimonos and rediscovered them during that time. I had completely forgotten about them, but learning about them became part of my grieving process. Having those made me feel close to her,” Sakanaka reflects. 

It was then that she took a page from her grandmother’s book. “Studying these shambled garments and giving them new life through reconstruction was a way for me to heal while reconnecting with myself and my culture,” she says. Preserving the original rectangular panels and stitching style from each kimono, the designer began dismantling and reassembling each one. Her first design? A classic, collared, button-down shirt. Inside each shirt she constructed, Sakanaka sewed a layered patchwork flower made from leftover silk scraps. “That flower, that mark, it was sort of my way of memorializing the whole experience of my creation and of finding closure. It was a way of bestowing my honor upon each piece.” 

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Here’s How to Style 5 Luxurious Loungewear Sets This Winter



All products featured on Vogue are independently selected by our editors. However, we may earn affiliate revenue on this article and commission when you buy something.

Cozying up for the winter has never looked chicer courtesy of luxurious loungewear sets from The Row, Wardrobe.NYC, Éterne, and more. Crafted from ultra-soft cashmeres and sultry silks, these matching sets are as indulgent as it gets and can be worn in the comfort of your own home or out and about for casual coolness. As the newly appointed foundation of your winter wardrobe, styling a luxe loungewear set properly can offer both ease and elegance at the same time. 

For an elevated errand ensemble, The Row’s ‘Jaspar’ hoodie and matching ‘Anton’ wide-leg pants are knitted from the softest of cashmere. The chic combination is so comfortable that you won’t want to change once you get home. Enhance the look with stylish sneakers from Nike, plush cable-knit socks from Johnstons of Elgin, and Nothing Written’s minimalist bag. Loungewear sets, like this cashmere turtleneck and midi skirt pairing from Altuzarra, also have the power to be dressed up for festive evenings out, especially when adorned in jewels from Missoma and Laura Lombardi. A matching activewear set from Sporty & Rich ensures that you arrive at any workout in style. Sofa-ready outfits from Wardrobe.NYC and Olivia Von Halle help curate the perfect night in this holiday season and beyond. 

This winter, investing in a loungewear set has never looked better. Below, here are five ways to style luxe loungewear sets that are as comfortable as they are chic. (Plus, also find a few more statement sets to add to your winter wardrobe.) 

The Elegant Errand Runner

Nothing says chic errand runner like this matching cashmere hoodie and pant set from The Row. Knitted from the softest of cashmere, it’s a chic combination so comfortable that you won’t want to change once you get home. Enhance the look with stylish sneakers from Nike, plush cable-knit socks from Johnstons of Elgin, and Nothing Written’s minimalist bag. Jewels from Mejuri are welcome embellishments. 

The Row Jaspar cashmere hoodie

The Row Anton cashmere high-rise pants

Johnstons of Elgin cable-knit cashmere socks

Nothing Written Ferry bag

Mejuri bold Croissant dôme huggies

The Cozy, Yet Chic Evening Look 

A loungewear set doesn’t have to be confined to the comforts of your own home or even resemble a traditional sweatsuit, for that matter. Case in point: find this dazzling skirt set from Altuzarra that is crafted from pure cashmere. Complete the elegant evening ensemble with Saint Laurent’s croc-effect pumps and Anine Bing’s minimalist handbag. Drip in gold thanks to Missoma hoop earrings and Laura Lombardi’s cult-classic necklace. 

Saint Laurent Blade chain croc-effect leather slingback pumps

Anine Bing Colette shoulder bag

Missoma x Lucy Williams chunky entwine hoop earrings

Laura Lombardi Calle gold-plated necklace

The Statement Sporty Attire

When it comes to activewear, a matching set, like this one from Sporty & Rich, will ensure that you arrive at any workout in style. Go one step further and tie the brand’s ‘Wellness’ sweatshirt around your waist for extra comfort. New Balance ‘Core’ sneakers are a staple in any workout wardrobe, as are these Bala Bangles and Stanley’s tumbler to keep you nice and hydrated. 

Sporty & Rich appliquéd cotton-jersey sweatshirt

Sporty & Rich cropped printed stretch-jersey tank

Sporty & Rich printed stretch-jersey leggings

New Balance 574 Core sneakers

Stanley Quencher H2.O travel tumbler, 40oz

The Luxurious Loungewear Set

Wardrobe.NYC x Hailey Bieber’s simple grey sweatshirt and sweatpants are prime examples of luxurious loungewear. Wear with a coveted pair of Birkenstocks—or even heels for an elevated athleisure look. But because we’re sticking with loungewear, cozy up even more courtesy of cashmere socks from Raey and Brunello Cucinelli’s alpaca-blend blanket. Loewe’s scented candle is an immediate ambiance enhancer. 

Wardrobe.NYC x Hailey Bieber cotton sweatshirt

Wardrobe.NYC x Hailey Bieber wide-leg cotton sweatpants

Birkenstock Boston shearling clogs

Raey ribbed cashmere-blend socks

Brunello Cucinelli speckled-jacquard fringed alpaca-blend blanket

Loewe Home Scents Honeysuckle medium scented candle, 610g

The Perfect Pair of Pajamas 

Olivia Von Halle’s ‘Coco’ pajama set is crafted from the finest of satins to create a soft-to-the-touch feel you’ll never want to take off. Meanwhile, Ugg slippers are the perfect accoutrement. Continue to wind down with the help of scented bath salts from Maude and Augustinus Bader’s luxurious face cream. Reflect on your day with The Five Minute Journal and finally get some shut-eye thanks to Brooklinen’s silk eye mask. 

Olivia Von Halle Coco silk-satin pajama set

Ugg Scuffette II slippers

Brooklinen Mulberry silk eyemask

Augustinus Bader The Rich Cream with TFC8® face moisturizer

Maude Soak No. 2 nourishing mineral bath salts

Shop More: 

Leset Lauren cropped stretch-knit cardigan

Leset Lauren stretch-knit wide-leg pants

Éterne oversized crewneck sweatshirt

Éterne classic sweatpants

Lisa Yang Jonny cap-sleeved cashmere sweater

Lisa Yang Sierra wide-leg cashmere trousers

Zara basic hoodie sweatshirt

Girlfriend Collective ReSet cropped stretch recycled top

Girlfriend Collective compressive stretch recycled flared leggings

Le Kasha Etretat organic cashmere sweater

Le Kasha Sumbal cashmere wide-leg pants

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