Back in the lobby, Mr. Pomeranc posed for a photograph. Which, thanks to concerns about his appearance, turned into a 29-minute photo shoot. The wispy, Chapin-educated Lake Bell dropped by. She was shooting a new HBO show upstairs called How to Make It in America. She wore chunky high heels, skinny pants and her long brown hair half tied back. Mr. Pomeranc kissed her broad-cheekboned face hello.
“You’re doing a photo shoot?!” she giggled.
IN MORRIS MOINIAN’S NEW Hotel Indigo at 127 West 28th Street, one image is painted on the walls opposite the elevator banks on every floor. It’s a photo by fashion photographer Marco Glaviano of a dark-haired woman in a flowing violet dress holding a dark umbrella jauntily over her head as she saunters through the rain.
At the hotel, she’s known as “the rain lady.”
Last Wednesday, Joe Moinian’s little brother Morris, 47, sat on the blue velvety couch at the Hotel Indigo’s entrance between Sixth and Seventh avenues.
From the outside, the Indigo looks like something the hotelier-to-the-masses Sam Chang–Gene Kaufman machine might build. Aside from the glass overhang on the ground level, and an angled glass window, the facade was basically dull bare brick.
Mr. Moinian, like his older brother, a big developer, started out in the garment business. And, like his older brother, Mr. Moinian is an unabashed dandy. That Wednesday afternoon, he wore a double-breasted suit over a white mesh shirt, a polka-dot tie stopping an intentional inch above his waistline, and pointy-toed loafers with little heels.
The hotel had opened the day before. It is Mr. Moinian’s only hotel in New York City. He used to own the Dylan on 41st Street, where he earned notoriety for his and business partner Britney Spears’ failed restaurant NYLA.
He sold the Dylan in 2007, he says for “economical reasons, a cashing-in of profits.”
His new venture is the 122-room Indigo, part of the Intercontinental Hotel Group. Another developer is building a Hotel Indigo on Duffield Street in downtown Brooklyn.
If Mr. Pomeranc’s Smyth harks back to the pre-cataclysm days when pink crocodile skin was considered an appropriate wall-covering, Mr. Moinian’s new boutique feels decidedly more cost-conscious. The lighting fixtures don’t seem quite so extravagant (or attractive). The dominant artwork is not original, but rather photographs licensed from Mr. Glaviano.
“The entire property is very vibrant, colorful, which I believe is the way to go in the future,” Mr. Moinian said. “You walk in the room, and the room smiles at you.”
He was standing in a room on the building’s 18th floor. There was a large flat-screen TV, white and red couches atop a red area rug. Wood floors. A mural of spools of thread recalling the hotel’s proximity to the Fashion Institute of Technology.