Hotels Transformed New York’s Social Life. Now What?
An industry revitalized itself with just the kind of large gathering spaces that now seem like breeding grounds for disease.
There was a time in the not so far-off past when hotels lived or died by being an out-of-towner's fantasy: the Plaza, the Four Seasons, the St. Regis.
Gender-nonconforming sex workers cycled out, star chefs rolled in. Guests at the city's boutique hotels engaged in spirited debates about which "Sex and the City" character they were: Charlotte, Carrie, Samantha or Miranda. Self-employed, Helmut Lang-clad creative types too good for Starbucks conducted business in the lobbies. And D.J.s played in their basement nightclubs.