Out NYC, aka The Out Hotel, in New York City‘s Hell’s Kitchen, has been sold to Merchants Hospitality, who signed a $40 million contract to take over the lease. They are expected to change the name and drop the gay angle, due to falling revenue.
When it opened, co-owners, and former lovers, Ian Reisner and Mati Weiderpass, called it New York’s first gay hotel – which seems to be an overstatement – and a “straight-friendly urban resort.”
Turns out it’s hard to keep a hotel profitable when you cater specifically to the gay community, especially if you call them “cheap” and “entitled,” while buddying up to antigay politicians in the process.
Reisner told New York magazine:
Gays are cheap. They’re frugal; gays are frugal. Let me retract that…gays are entitled…Do you know how challenging it is to make a penny off a gay person? I’m gay, I don’t pay cover. I’m gay, where’s my comp drink?
Reisner tried to play off the significance of the event at first, telling New York magazine, “There were no checks given. It was nothing like that.”
Then The New York Times learned that Reisner had written a personal check to the Cruz campaign of $2,700, the maximum allowed by law, right around the time of the dinner. Reisner asked for the money back when the story broke, which he says was returned. He also said he had no intention of donating to politicians “who aren’t in support of L.G.B.T. issues.”
This lead to boycotts, and even Weiderpass getting kicked out of a Fire Island bar.
It is probably safe to say that not too many gay people will be shedding tears for Weiderpass and Reisner over this news that their business has not succeeded.