New York Daily Photo Analytics

Monday, January 03, 2011

Hide and Seek, Show and Tell

There's a brilliant and frustratingly absurd Monty Python comedy sketch called Olympic Hide and Seek. One competitor is allowed to travel by any means and hide anywhere in the world while the other competitor counts to one thousand, then begins to search. Winning times are over 11 years.

Whether you are in the real world or that of Monty Python, if you are looking for hide and seek activities which are not mainstream, success is usually found in the geographical edges and neglected fringes. The balloon of conformity and mainstream behavior presses the unconventional and unaccepted into the edges, corners, fringes and remote hinterlands of the landscape.

Look at the large gay communities in the United States. Many are located in remote or isolated areas - Key West, Florida, Provincetown, Massachusetts and the West Village. Even in Fire Island (which is beautiful - see my photos here), the predominantly gay communities are located geographically out of the mainstream - Cherry Grove and Fire Island Pines.

However, once an area becomes more well known as a enclave for the unconventional, hide and seek often becomes show and tell. And there is no better example than The Standard. This hotel was developed by Andre Balázs and straddles over the High Line, an elevated park created from an abandoned elevated railway, 1.45 miles long, in the west side of Manhattan (see here). The Hotel itself is located in the stretch in the far West Village near the meat packing district, what has become one of the trendiest neighborhoods in New York City.

The place became a scandal with a flurry of media coverage in July of 2009. There were reports of nudity and every manner of lewd activity displayed in the windows of the hotel including shooting of porn films and couples having sex. The exhibitionist activities were actually encouraged by the management even putting in writing on their Facebook page:

"We encourage you to exercise your inner exhibitionist," and their website asks, "Whatever you do, just make sure the shots are HOT and that you get them to us in whichever way you can. It's all about sex all the time, and you're our star."

After public and neighborhood outcry over the "peep show", the hotel removed the explicit encouragements and tried to tone things down. If this is the kind of thing you're looking for, explore the outer fringes and there is where you will find the world of Hide and Seek, Show and Tell :)


Mary P. said...

Good photos of an essentially ugly construction. Without its backstory, it has nothing. No wonder the owners encouraqe its rep.

Brian Dubé said...

Mary - Thanks and I agree. Do you know this place actually won design awards?

Beth in NYC said...

I agree with Mary. It looks like something you'd see in Leningrad. In fact, at first I thought you had traveled to Eastern Europe for whatever reason. LOL

James said...

Hi Brian, your blog about NYC is amazing. If you have time, could you check out this video When I saw it, I thought of you, because like you, the guy Stephen Duncan is an adventurer.

Leslie said...

I had no idea what or where this building was; I love the mystery and the way you slowly reveal the details...great fun!