We were this close to booking the first flight to NYC when we heard that Freehand was opening a new Roman and Williams–designed property. The first Freehand location in Manhattan (after Miami, Chicago, and LA) is in the Flatiron district, right on the border of Gramercy. (It’s a couple of subway stops south of Grand Central, if you’re coming in by train.) In Freehand’s signature style, the rooms vary from hostel-style bunkbeds to corner kings. Commissioned artwork from nearby Bard College students and alumni is displayed throughout, and there’s an overall collegiate feel to the hotel. The George Washington Bar on the mezzanine level is decked out in leather and wood like a handsome old library. There’s an old-school game room next door and another expansive lounge space full of potted plants where you can do work and drink cocktails simultaneously (if you can?). And the all-day restaurant, Studio, is like a classic New York diner, if it won the lottery, redecorated, and hired world-class chefs to do the cooking. We plan to try Simon & the Whale, the street-level restaurant by chef Matt Griffin, next time and come back for Freehand’s rooftop opening, too.

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