A new hotel cocktail bar debuts on the Lower East Side today, boasting $15 drinks, small plates, and a rooftop pool. This is all standard swank for the area, of course, but there's one slightly strange thing—the bar appears to be named after late LES icon and environmentalist Adam Purple. Well, old meets the new, one supposes.
The Hotel Indigo™ (yep) Lower East Side's new bar, dubbed "Mr. Purple," opened on the hotel's 15th floor today—per the press release, the swanky spot, which features an outdoor pool and terrace, is going all-out when it comes to embracing the neighborhood over which it towers. The food menu, for instance, will include dishes from 2nd Avenue Deli, Russ & Daughters, and Yonah Schimmel Knish Bakery, the latter of which was once put on the endangered list thanks to luxury condo rumors.
Even the bar's name seems to take inspiration from a pocket of LES history—according to Women's Wear Daily, it's named after Adam Purple, a pioneering force behind the city's urban gardening movement in the 1970s and an LES icon who died in September. Per WWD:
The bar name comes from the Lower East Side icon David Wilkie, who became known as “Mr. Purple” for his preferred shade of clothing. The street artist Lee Quiñones was working on a mural for the hotel, and one of the images he was doing was of Mr. Purple. “That’s really what inspired us,” Gerber says. Mr. Purple’s image is discreetly painted on the ceiling of the 14th floor lobby
The bar appears to be backtracking on this a bit—a press release claims Mr. Purple is "a fictitious artist," offering the following backstory:
A mysterious man, born and raised in the Lower East Side, the city was his muse. He was an unmistakable staple of the neighborhood and an unforgettable piece of its continuing character. His art, like his personality, was ephemeral with no known relics outlasting him. It has been said that to see him work was to have a glimpse into utopia. For now, Mr. Purple, and all that he represents, is up to your imagination to interpret.
A press representative tells us that there's a "[l]ong story about Mr. Purple," but as EVGrieve points out, if it is in fact named after a man whose tireless efforts to beautify a neighborhood that once suffered deeply from urban decay—a man whom the Times once described as, "the purest example of a hippie ever seen in this city...an artifact of that era, living in a very unlikely time and place, namely present-day New York City,"—it's a sign of the times indeed to honor his memory with $15 cocktails and a pool full of rich people.