Karen’s Quirky Style Revisits Daisy the Double-Decker Bus at Chelsea’s High Line Hotel

As summer patios open all over the city, only the High Line Hotel’s charming enchanted forest has a vintage double-decker bus for a garden gnome. Destination: Chelsea

| 05 Jun 2024 | 05:02

The year is 1973. On the Buses is rolling out of the depot for the last time after a four-year run on the BBC. Daisy the Double-Decker bus has seen it all.

I was the big fan of the show, which introduced me to the joys of the double-decker bus and British humour. So naturally I put on my best flowered frock to visit Daisy at the High Line Hotel’s outdoor patio (at 180 10th Avenue) on opening-for-summer day on a recent sunny Saturday.

The hotel’s walled garden was a favorite spot for me and my Chelsea pals during the pandemic, and I’ve spent many a happy evening there. At nighttime, fairy lights on the trees turn the patio and outdoor bar into an enchanted forest. But for me, the biggest draw is Daisy.

Daisy began her career in Lancaster, England in 1959. By 2019, she was ready for a change of scene. She rolled onto a cargo ship in Liverpool and arrived in Newark, NJ, where she was retrofitted for her new passengers—the latte and spritz drinkers on the West Side of Manhattan. I was lucky enough to have coffee and pastry on her upper deck a few years ago. She’s no longer taking passengers on board, but has begun her third career as a ginormous red garden gnome.

Daisy isn’t the only one with a past. The High Line Hotel opened in 2013 on land that gave Chelsea its name by being British Major Thomas Clarke’s “Chelsea” estate, established in 1750. But not only that. According to Forbes, the estate had an apple orchard, and this is how “The Big Apple” got its original famous nickname!

The Collegiate Gothic-style hotel is just my style, with rewired rotary dial telephones from the 1920s, vintage typewriters, Tiffany lamps, and oil paintings galore. I want to staycation here soon for a few days of writing. Perhaps I will be visited by the ghost of Clarke’s grandson, Clement Clarke Moore, who wrote his famous 1823 Christmas poem, “A Visit from St. Nicholas,” on this spot. “’Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house....”

The hotel’s General Manager, Abbey Rader, told me that the cocktail patio is now called Fairweather and is operated by Crew. It’s open 3:00 PM to 10:00 PM, Monday to Friday, and 1:00 PM to 10:00 PM on weekends, weather permitting. When you stop by, be sure to give Daisy a cheerio.

Style Notes

To board the bus in style, I chose this ’70s pop-art floral print swing dress by Unique Vintage, mated with silver Soda strappy Mary Janes and a lime green crocheted purse. All items from the delightful and inexpensive thrift recycler Buffalo Exchange, 114 West 26th Street.

Karen Rempel is a New York-based writer, model, and artist. Her Karen’s Quirky Style column illuminates quirky clothes and places in Chelsea and beyond. For past stories, see https://karenqs.nyc.