From the outside, the Gershwin looks like an extension of the Museum of Sex next door, with huge Plexiglas and metal appendages thrusting upward in a most provocative manner from this 100-year-old Beaux Arts building. They are just the first trumpetings of a hotel infatuated with pop art; not only are many walls covered with silk screens and paintings, but many of the guests are artists and musicians (everyone who plays at Joe’s Pub stays here), and there’s even a resident artist program to help struggling would-be Warhols. What the Carlton (see box above) is to Dalí-esque experiential art, the Gershwin is to those who find beauty in a can of Campbell’s soup. The hotel has a number of different types of guest rooms, including ones big enough for families. At the lowest end of the price scale are the standard doubles: simple but quite pleasant, with shiny wood floors, quality beds, white walls, and pops of color in the wall art and fixtures. Go up in price and you get more art and more artful furnishings (think groovier West Elm).
- Pauline Frommer