Heartbreak Hotel

An ode to Liberty Inn, site of unseen, carnal pleasures

On a fall afternoon in 2019, I waited for P, a married man, at the east corner of Fourteenth Street and Tenth Avenue. We decided to hold our first meeting across from Liberty Inn to verify each other’s identity and decide, before going into the hotel, if we still wanted to have sex together. Earlier that week, we connected on a dating app over our shared interest in BDSM and needed a place where we could be loud and shielded from prying eyes or ears. P’s painting studio in Long Island City was not private enough, and I was living with a roommate in a thin-walled Crown Heights apartment. As we were both low on disposable income, even a cheapish Manhattan hotel room (about $150 on average, not including all the extra fees) was more than we were willing to spend for a tryst. Liberty Inn, which I’d found by googling “hourly hotel nyc,” met our needs: It was less than ten minutes on foot from the Fourteenth Street station; it was inexpensive (the flat rate for two hours was $80); and with its mirrored ceilings and colored lights, the place was explicitly geared for sex.

T…

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