At one point in New York’s history, the gay community was centered in Chelsea. But as it dissipated to other parts of the city, an unfortunate side effect was the loss of a sense of a physical community. Designer Paul Dominguez, along with his business partner, Ian Reisner, have attempted to re-create the spirit of community in their new “urban resort,” The Out NYC.
The project is a renovation of a three-story motel-style building on 42nd Street between 10th and 11th avenues, which Dominguez describes as “more like something you would expect to find in Palm Springs than in New York City.” The site became available when a planned 60-story tower lost funding in the recession. Two floors of rooms surround three courtyards, each designed to inject a heavy dose of “nature” into the urban environment: there’s a garden stocked with bamboo trees; a Grand Lawn—made of astroturf—that seems to stretch, thanks to the optical illusion of a vertical turf wall and mirrors; and a spa deck defined by faux boxwood shrubs intended to evoke the landscaping of Fire Island.
Dominguez’s goal was to create a resort unlike any of the city’s traditional hotels. The relaxed common spaces of the courtyards encourage socializing (the great lawn is scattered with colorful beanbag chairs), while the ground floor houses a nightclub and cafe, drawing people in from the street.