While Cooper Square Hotel neighbors take voyeur footage of the parties there and neighbors continue to try to shut down Studio B’s rooftop, we checked in with Thompson Hotels chief Jason Pomeranc last week to see if he’s planning changes based on reactions to the Thompson LES’s pool. Here’s what he told us.
Were you surprised when the pool didn’t go over well?
I think that’s a broad characterization to say that the neighborhood is upset about it. It takes a degree of time for a neighborhood to absorb a new project of that scale. And in time, I believe that the neighborhood and downtown at large will [do so] — it is a minority element, I believe, that has been negative about it. Part of the process is to ingratiate the neighborhood and realize that the hotel, the pool, the restaurant, the bar are actually an asset and do make for a better, safer, cleaner neighborhood that creates more jobs and creates more energy and ultimately has a positive ripple effect for residents, for merchants, for everyone around it.
Have you had to make any changes to the pool or the plans because of reactions? Like about the noise?
We’ve actually only had one event at the pool, so I’m not quite sure if people are [accurately] attributing where it’s coming from. But I think at any of the venues, including the pool, we take neighborhood concern seriously and I think that has to do with operating hours, that has to do with an attention to noise levels, and paying attention to music levels, monitoring that, being reactive if there are concerns or complaints.
Have you made an effort to open it up to the neighborhood residents?
Again, I think the neighborhood residents are concerned about the hotel as a whole. I don’t think it’s about the swimming pool. It’s incorrect information that people have somewhat focused on for some reason, because it’s so visually exposed. But yeah, we hope the neighbors will use our facility in general. Eat there, come and drink there, send visitors there ... Unfortunately, I think in all neighborhoods in New York City, initially there is a little bit of culture shock whenever there’s something new and talked-about, and there might be an initial reaction sometimes that is negative, but I think in the long run it’s a great asset to the community.
Do you think they could get you shut down?
I don’t think that’s ever going to be on the table, simply because I don’t think that serves anyone’s purpose. And I would hope that’s not what they want, and it’s certainly not anything that is even being discussed, and I think it’s a nonissue.