Just a week after the grand opening of the Hotel, 50 Bowery in New York’s Chinatown, just a serious wake-up call of the local residents.
The hotel, opened by the Joie de Vivre hotel group on May 16, is already in damage-control mode after a local leader blasted the company for its plans to open an “opium den-themed” lounge called The Green Lady on the building in the basement.
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Karlin Chan, who describes himself as an independent community activist/lawyer, wrote a scathing op-ed piece for the Bowery Boogie, in which he denied the hotel group for its cultural insensitivity, going so far as to make the whole thing “bulls—.”
“The legendary ‘opium den’ is really an appropriate theme for a lounge in their hotel? I say HELL NO,” wrote Chan. “It is ironic that a hotel in honor of the neighborhood would allow a company to have a negative stereotype.”
Wagstaff Worldwide, the PR film hired to the handle of the hotel, marketing, described the hotel as having “subtle nods to Asian heritage” that reflect “the unique story of the neighborhood itself” in a feature for DNAinfo New York. The company has since focused on the resistance, although they blame it on a poor choice of words.
“The use of the term was originally used to describe the parts of the facility found at The Green Lady of the hotel, a basement-level lounge. We have now moved away from that language, and the communication should have been updated sooner to reflect in the ’30s-era Shanghai China theme that was decided for the space,” read the statement obtained by the Bowery Boogie.
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The company did apologize for the use of that specific “descriptor” and explained that they were removed from their communication.
Chef Dale Talde, a Bravo “Top Chef” alum, who is one of the three restaurants in the direction of the dining options at the hotel, noticed the to Eater that the choice for the use of the words “opium den” was a “real f—k up” by Wagstaff and the hotel’s design team, because that was never something they had never talked about it with him.
“The PR team for the hotel and the design team for the hotel are those who have done this,” said Talde. “They are the ones that f-ed up. We never even called the ‘opium den’ once in design meetings.”
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Despite the setback, the Joie de Vivre hotel group has not announced any delays in the hotel’s Green Lady lounge, which is scheduled for this summer.
UPDATE: A representative for Wagstaff Worldwide reached Fox News with the following statement:
“In the name of the Hotel At 50 Bowery, Three Kings Restaurant of the Group (the management of all the Hotel’s 50 Bowery’s food and beverage outlets), and Wimberly Interiors (our design team), we apologize for the use of the first description of the hotel of the coming show, Green Lady. It was not our intention to upset or offend anyone.
“The vision for the Green Lady, located on the basement floor of the Hotel, 50 Bowery, has always been and still is to create a cozy, theater-inspired lounge is a tribute to both the nostalgia of the district of the past as the electrical energy of the future.”