If I ever feel the need to hide out for a few days in a place with the ultimate New York City views right outside my window, this, the Z NYC Hotel in Long Island City, Queens NY, is where you’ll find me. Yes. I said Queens. From this perspective, I can gaze out on iconic Midtown Manhattan buildings as they change colors and turn the lights on: the UN slab on 42nd and rising behind it, the Empire State and Chrysler Buildings – and hundreds more that form that famous skyline.
It’s not just the view from each room at the Z NYC Hotel that wows you when you walk in; it’s also the way that the 59th St. Bridge – the span that inspired Simon and Garfunkel’s “Feelin’ Groovy” (also known as the Queensboro or Ed Koch Bridge) – the East River, Roosevelt Island, FDR Drive, and the sturdy buildings beyond are framed through floor to high-ceiling windows that contorts your mind into believing that you’re anywhere but in that least respected of all the NYC boroughs, Queens. Until you look down.
It was here, in this unlikely place in 2011, amid the lumber yards, utility outposts, low slung warehouses, and car repair shops, that developers decided to plop a modern, quirky, upscale boutique hotel. Adding a bunch of amenities, like complimentary shuttle into Manhattan (10 minutes to mid-town), use of bicycles, free wi-fi, and international calls to that billion dollar view was a stroke of genius.
First Impressions of Z New York City Hotel
The reception area is a nostalgic take a long-ago train station, with a railroad tunnel mural behind a desk stacked with old luggage, and an arrivals/departure board above the elevator. It’s meant to evoke a more sophisticated era of travel rather than hark back to anything that stood on this site before the hotel was built.
The Z is perfect for adventurers who seek out funky boutique hotels in transitioning neighborhoods. For now, parking is an issue here, so come by public transportation or taxi. A slew of subway stations are just a few blocks away in each direction. It’s just one or two stops to midtown Manhattan, definitely a perk for visitors who want to explore the city and don’t want to pay exorbitant hotel rates.
Rooms at Z New York City Hotel
The Z was designed so that all 100 rooms face Manhattan, and that Knockout View! Obviously, the higher the better – so ask for a room above the 3rd floor. The New York City Skyline makes one sexy backdrop for a most romantic getaway. Hues are subdued: variations of grays and browns punched by a deep red leather couch. Beds, with silver-leather headboard and soft new sheets and duvets, are of the “I don’t want to emerge from toasty comfort” variety. A stenciled mural, adding a bit of visual interest to the interior, artistically enlivens one wall of each room.
Though the view is certainly luxurious, and bedding, flat screen TV and leather furniture are top of the line, luxury ends at a small bathroom, which features a tub shower concealed by a plastic shower curtain.
Z New York City Hotel Amenities
From June – September, locals and guests gravitate to the Rooftop Bar, where DJ’s spin tunes during brunch and at night on weekends. And the hotel offers Yoga Classes also during the summer (every other Monday at 7:30, $35 includes class, skinny cocktails and light bites) But even off season, you can head up there for great 360 degree views of Manhattan and Queens.
According to locals, riding bikes is the best way to get around, and the Z has ten available for complimentary use by guests. You can ride across the 59th St Bridge (entrance just around the corner), or walk to Manhattan – a visceral and uplifting way to experience the surrounding area.
Dining at Z NYC Hotel
The hotel has two in-house restaurants; the fancier Villa Enrico and more casual Z Lounge and Bar. Though Long Island City is up and coming culinarily, you can stay in and still have a good meal.
Both the restaurant and bar are on the basement floor – touted, with some flair, as “subterranean dining.” Best dishes are “small bites” – the perfectly executed tiny Crab Cakes, the textural, crispy mini-pizzas, and the lighter version of sausage & peppers – Baked Salmon With Roasted Onions and Peppers plated on a bed of sautéed spinach. The retro Chocolate Lava Cake hits the spot, and is served with 60-day-brandied cherries that could potentially get you drunk. If you have no desire to leave your room, the beauty of staying here is that you can get all these things delivered right to your chamber door.
Just The Facts
Rates at Z NYC Hotel range from $95 off season to $275 during prime season and includes use of bikes, free international phone calls, complimentary transportation to and from Manhattan, wine hour M-F, and free wi-fi.