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Brooklyn's Hotel Le Bleu

(Hotel Le Bleu)
I've been away from Brooklyn too long. Obviously, things have changed there rather dramatically. I gather that they now speak French, and dese and dose have been replaced in the local parlance by les and las. I'm making this assumption because I just received a press release announcing the opening in Brooklyn of something called Hotel Le Bleu, which touts itself as the borough's first true boutique hotel. The release had something of a Brooklyn flavor, because the writers took pains to point out that the name means "The Blue Hotel," for any of you who missed French 101 class this morning.

Now, I'm not saying that Brooklyn is neither charming enough nor sophisticated enough to embrace a blue, French hotel. I lived there nearly 30 years ago, sharing a one-bedroom walk-up apartment in the Carroll Gardens neighborhood off of Clinton Street, and Brooklyn had a lot of charm back then. There were espresso shops on the boulevard before anyone had ever dreamed of Starbucks, and they were frequented by old Italian men who smoked cigars. There were sausage and cheese shops, a Latin grocery store on the corner, and everyone drank Yoo-Hoo chocolate soda. My landlords had the finest clear, plastic slipcovers that money could buy on their chintz sofas, and on hot summer days when I went over to deliver the rent check, my butt would stick to the slipcovers when I sat down to answer the friendly question, "How are youse doing?"

I doubt that even award-winning architect Andres Escobar, who designed Hotel Le Bleu, could have achieved such a homey effect as those slipcovers delivered. And the food at the chic, new Vue restaurant at the hotel will surely pale in comparison to my landlady's truly impressive meatballs.

Time marches on, I supposed, and so does Brooklyn. If you frequent the new, blue hotel, stop by the old neighborhood for me. Have a Yoo-Hoo. It is made from le chocolat – quite delicieux, not to mention sophisticated.