With five boroughs, around 100 museums, 41 Broadway theaters, more than 25,000 restaurants, and countless historical landmarks, tourists aren’t traveling to New York City to hole up in a hotel room for rest and relaxation. For most travelers to the Big Apple, a hotel room needs to have only the basics and an affordable price.
Open since September 2017, Moxy NYC Times Square strives to provide guests in its more than 600 rooms with a functional Manhattan hotel room, plus fun amenities and a great location in Times Square. Checking in to Moxy, I found the lobby buzzing. A group of people played a game of giant Jenga while interacting with employees, and in the corner was a selfie station with old fashioned candy jars and selfie accessories. Overhead hung a giant bear sculpture, made from pieces of cut glass and mirror and giving off an urban camping vibe. I knew I wasn’t in a typical hotel, which was further evidenced when I saw the barbershop, Blind Barber, a few steps beyond the lobby. Inside, a man getting a haircut and another man getting a beard trim were both sipping beer, a nod to the Blind Barber’s speakeasy business model.
After checking in, I headed upstairs to stow my suitcase. I’d been told the rooms were inspired by cruise ships, which maximize space for function. The room was small, but thoughtful for a compact space with stylish, neutral décor, a walk-in rain shower, a flat-screen TV, quick WiFi, and fun extras like a retro corded phone and a collapsible table and chair on the pegboard wall that kept the urban camping feel from the lobby going.
Famished after a flight and early morning of travel, I went for lunch at Legasea, the hotel’s seafood brasserie with a diverse menu and an upscale but comfortable atmosphere. The menu was approachable, with items like a lobster roll with Old Bay fries, a delectable-looking burger, and seasonal dishes like baked butternut squash. I sampled the Waldorf and Caesar salads, which did not disappoint, and the billowy Parker House rolls were a nice addition between bites of tuna tartare and crab beignets, which I devoured before running off to explore the city.
Upon my return that evening, I made my way to Bar Moxy for a drink. The second-floor bar is a popular place for locals, with a beautiful skylight and atrium and outlets to charge your phone at the copper bar. Couches, coffee tables, and floor-to-ceiling windows make the space feel inviting, and a DJ spinning tracks get the night going. Across from the bar in one of the conference-room-cum-activity-spaces I spotted a mixology class happening, where guests learned to make cocktails and learn how to properly shake a drink.
As the bar started to hum with more and more people, I decided to elevate the party – literally and figuratively – by heading to Magic Hour, the hotel’s rooftop bar and lounge with an adult amusement park vibe and a killer Empire State Building view. Funhouse mirrors introduced guests to the bar’s carnival theme, and bear-shaped topiary in suggestive positions let guests know this bar is all about fun.
I grabbed a drink and headed to check out Foreplay, the mini-golf course on the roof, and had to stop and take a photo of guests enjoying their time at the slow-spinning booth carousel. With music booming and drinks flowing, I walked to the more exclusive part of the bar called Elephant Room, where a woman in carnivalesque clothing and a top hat was walking around on stilts, taking selfies with locals and travelers.
The next morning, I stopped into Egghead, the hotel’s egg-centric sandwich shop for a gooey bacon, egg, and cheese breakfast sandwich on a potato bun. I also indulged in Egghead’s signature hash browns, stuffed with melty Pecorino cheese. While waiting on my order, numerous locals waited in line for their food, a sure sign this place wasn’t just popular with tourists.
After numerous museum visits, a few bucket-list check offs, and miles of walking, I was excited to spend my last morning at Moxy NYC Times Square brunching on the roof at Magic Hour, a popular spot for its boozy beverages and brunch favorites like blue crab toast, Kouign-amann (a Breton pastry), and crispy chicken sandwiches. As I looked out at skyscrapers and the Empire State Building, the retractable roof began to close, shielding brunchgoers from the strong morning sun. I toasted my trip, and made plans to stay at Moxy on my next trip into town.
This winter, Moxy Chelsea debuts in the Flower District with 349 rooms, an Italian restaurant, sprawling bar, and a rooftop lounge with incredible views of the New York City skyline.
Cover: The rooftop patio of the Moxy NYC Times Square. Photo Warren Jagger