The city has been unusually cold and long in New York. This day the wind made it even more frigid, so on our way to explore the city we stopped by the The Jane Hotel for a tea to warm us. Since I moved to New York, I regularly go to Café Gitane in Soho — I love their avocado toast on multigrain bread with lemon juice, olive oil and chili flakes on top. I never knew that they had a sister restaurant at The Jane Hotel: an airy tranquil place, with the same delicious menu. Brian and I discussed the interior as it felt like stepping into a very different time and place — somewhere exotic.
I, of course, had my avocado toast and then a nice hot hibiscus tea. I can also recommend the Moroccan couscous and the pita bread with yoghurt mint, hummus, cucumber and chili flakes.
The hotel looked so interesting and you could sense that the walls were filled with history from a bygone era. Fascinated, I decided to investigate further and the hotel really does have an interesting history. It was completed in 1908 and was the home of the American Seaman’s Friends Society Sailors; it was originally built as a hotel for sailors with cabin-like rooms. And it was designed by William A. Boring, the architect renowned for Ellis Island’s immigrant station.
In 1912, the survivors of the Titanic stayed at the hotel until the end of the American legal inquiry into the ship’s sinking. In 1944, the YMCA took over the hotel from the Seaman’s Relief Center, as the hotel was then called. But during the '80s and '90s, the hotel was part of downtown New York’s bohemian culture, hosting Hedwig and the Angry Inch and the Million Dollar Club, among many other rock-n-roll events. The hotel has continued to house guests with more dash than cash ever since. On its centennial in 2008, the landmarked hotel was lovingly restored.