SoHo: South of Houston
I found myself heading towards the bright lights of New York City once again, and stayed in the part of Manhattan that I left my heart many years ago. I will get to that one day, but more on that later. We checked into the Soho Grand and memories start to shower over me. If these walls could talk, then again, it’s probably better they can’t.
It’s an early misty SoHo morning. I plop down and sink as far as I can go into the sofa at the Soho Grand Hotel lounge. My job is done, and in a few short hours, I’m homeward bound. From JFK to LAX, and I’m counting the seconds. I’m supposed to be wheels up to the left coast and I cannot wait to see Kiddo. But at the same time, it’s impossible to shake the overwhelming guilt in the pit of my stomach.
I like it here. Something about it makes me feel as though I’m part of the Beatnik generation hanging out with Kerouac. This place is special and I hate to go, but I have to. Or do I?
I am horrible at sharing my feelings, but I’m even worse when it comes to hiding them. Emotions are plain to see scrawled across my face, and I can’t control my body language. When someone notices and asks if I am, “OK,” all I can muster is a shrug followed by, “I’m fine. Really.” I can’t even pretend smile when I’m so worried. I would suck at acting.
Excuse me while I just go over here and swoon over the architecture. I’m fully aware that this post is screaming for literary Adderall. I don’t know what to tell you. That’s exactly how I feel about this trip. There was so much to embrace, while at the same time there was such a weird vibe in the air that was hauntingly familiar.
Do I extend a few extra days? Make a bridge and tunnel detour to New Jersey to pay a visit? Or do I head back to Kiddo knowing I will be gone again the following week in San Diego? Then I realized, this was a no-win situation. I was going to deeply regret any decision I made for one reason or another. Do I stay or do I go?
The Soho Grand Hotel
While agonizing over this decision, I decided to treat myself to one last proper fix of the New York Times and burnt to the crisp black coffee just like this transplant likes it. As I look out the windows of the Soho Grand lounge into the big the gray world, fitting enough, Lou Reed fills the air with “Satellite of Love” playing on rotation.
Suddenly, it is 20 years ago. Back to the days of Moomba, Life, Naked Lunch, China Club, Clementine, Balthazar, Morgan’s, Bungalow, Don Hill’s, Shine, Limelight, CBGB, Arlene Grocery, Webster Hall, you name it. Even that Dead Head hippy dive bar with the VW bus, what was that place called? Oh, The Wetlands, that’s right.
It was a million years, a million miles away, and I can still remember the large the neon red umbrella still lit up the sky downtown, which eventually came crashing down on 9/11. But the songs. These tunes are like keys to a powerful time machine. I’d be hesitant to go back to that life again, but it sure is nice to revisit in my mind and smile.
The days of Moomba and Don Hill’s. Remember Shine, Limelight, and Arlene Grocery?
I sure do.
You cannot beat the location of this Lower Manhattan boutique hotel with the haberdashery feel, and the staff was beyond excellent. The beds were comfortable, and the overly spacious Deluxe King rooms we occupied were clean. My favorite touch was without a doubt the black and white scribble wallpaper in the bathroom.
Would I stay here again, I might. I mean, I could. I certainly love a good boutique hotel and the Lofts are gorgeous. But there are so many hotels in New York City that I’m dying to try. When I find the right one I’ll know right away because it will instantly make my soul feel at home.
What Do You Like Most About Lower Manhattan?
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Photo credit: GrandLife®