The most welcoming hotel in the Chelsea area (and one of the friendliest in Manhattan) is owned and run by Jay Lesiger, a native Brooklynite who seems bent on dispelling the myth that New Yorkers are unfriendly. Jay bends over backward to make sure guests enjoy their visit; along with personally baking a different loaf of bread for each morning’s breakfast (it’s served amidst an ample spread of bagels, fruits, and cereals). He and his staff publish a daily newsletter for guests covering walking tours, concerts, and other events happening that day. Jay also serves as concierge and is happy to make dinner reservations (he’s worked out a 10% discount at some of the best local restaurants), book limousines, and get theater tickets, for which he takes no commission whatsoever (in fact, he scours the Web for cheaper seats for his guests).
He and his partner opened the guesthouse in 1985 when it was a rundown boardinghouse. To hide the scarred walls (since renovated), Jay covered them with his large collection of movie posters, and the tradition stuck: Now each room is named after a different star and filled with movie memorabilia. Rooms are cozy and pretty, the beds topped with 300-thread-count sheets. I’d recommend a room on the second or third floor, where the ceilings are higher. Single rooms are available for a lesser amount than the doubles.
One final note: Though 70% of the guests at Chelsea Pines are gay, everyone is made to feel comfortable here. It’s a genuinely special place.
- Pauline Frommer