Friday, October 24, 2008

A GEM Of A Neighborhood

When I moved to Chelsea during the sizzling summer of 2002 (remember the insane lines for air conditioners?), The Allerton was on the southwest corner of 22nd Street and 8th Avenue, just across from my apartment. My fellow hood-lums referred to the building with an eyeroll-to-the-sky as "that welfare tenement." I'd never been inside, but various panhandlers and downtrodden types would coagulate about the entrance, and part when I'd bring my sack of dirties to the laundry on the ground floor (miss you, Sonia!).

Guess it was early last year that I noticed the laundry had shut down, the vagrants evaporated, and the Allerton closed, as renovations began on the GEM, a Clarion hotel, part of their Ascend Collection.

Not exactly sure when they're officially open for business...still looks kinda skeletal. But according to the website, there's 81 smoke-free rooms, all equipped with coffee makers, hair dryers, curved shower rods (woo-hoo), work desks, flat-screen televisions, ironing boards WITH irons (groundbreaking), safes, robes and cable television with free HBO. Select rooms have microwaves and handicapped accessibility. Copy and fax services in the business center.

The Gem boasts a concierge and valet cleaning services; complimentary guest amenities and services include:

* Wireless high-speed Internet access
* Weekday newspaper
* Local calls
* Coffee
* Exercise room

Clarion Collection GEM Hotel
300 West 22nd Street , New York, NY 10011
Phone: (212) 675-1911
Fax: (212) 675-1912


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