strode in, cigars in hand and raring to enjoy alfresco smoking at the
very trendy and undeniably beautiful rooftop bar at the new Gansevoort
Hotel in Manhattan, only to have our hopes dashed. The scenery at the
indoor/outdoor pool was marvelous as advertised, but the smoking space
wasn't optimal. A quartet of outdoor seating areas were already in use.
But before we could sheath our cigars for another day, an alert maître d saved the day. We were pointed up a flight of stairs to a much larger rooftop, replete with copious seating, tables with ashtrays, its own bar and sweeping views of New York. We'd found our grand smoking haven.
New York City has long had an ultra hip, supremely European and very posh Gansevoort Hotel down in the meatpacking district of the city. This year, a second Gansevoort opened in New York, just as posh, just as polished, ever so hip, and this time located on Park Avenue South at 29th Street, right on the border of the Murray Hill and Gramercy Park neighborhoods of Manhattan.
The new hotel gleams like a strange metal and glass jewel in the somewhat rumpled part of Park Avenue, across the street from the classic bistro Les Halles. As the 20-story hotel was being built, things changed in the neighborhood. A weathered and rumpled tavern a block away underwent a much-needed interior makeover, a fancy European coffee bar opened across the street from the worksite and tired old delis were replaced by pretty new eateries. The Gansevoort was coming, and the neighborhood was excited.
The hotel has 249 rooms, a spa, a salon and a restaurant, and like its sister way down south in the city, the Gansevoort Park has utilized its outdoor rooftop areas (there are three levels) to make bars, which means it's open season for cigar smokers. In addition to the one we ultimately found, there's also another, far more private, area that's available for private parties.
In our outdoor smoking haven, we lit up, ordered drinks, and puffed while marveling at the views of the buildings, most of the ones nearby smaller than the hotel. For the most part, this is still a neighborhood of (relatively speaking) smaller buildings. To the south one could see the gleaming gold dome of the New York Life building. While the pool area affords a view of the hotel's most impressive neighbor to the west, the Empire State Building, the spires of the hotel itself and the particular design of this bar blocked the view of New York's largest building from the area where we smoked our cigars.
The Gansevoort doesn't sell cigars, so do bring your own. The bartenders are capable and the bars fully stocked with all manner of fine spirits, but be prepared to drink your beverage from a heavy plastic (albeit fancy enough) container. (Something about glassware and rooftops that some insurer no doubt would object to.) But if that's the price one must pay to sip a beverage and smoke a cigar in Manhattan, so be it.
Gansevoort Park Hotel
420 Park Avenue South
New York, NY 10016