Under Fire, Gerber Group Responds to Criticism over ‘Mr. Purple’ in the Hotel Indigo [UPDATED]

Posted on: November 25th, 2015 at 5:16 am by
This image has been archived or removed.

​Under fire for naming its trendy rooftop hang after the late Adam Purple (aka David Wilkie), Gerber Group is certainly on a defensive footing at the Hotel Indigo. And it only just opened. Pretty much everyone in the community is calling them out on Mr. Purple. So much so, that it requires an official response from the front office. A publicist’s nightmare.

“I know you and the other community blogs aren’t happy with [Gerber Group] right now,” a representative from PR firm LFB Media Group tells us in an email. The response continues…

The name of the bar and restaurant was established when the project was first conceptualized in 2014. It was indeed inspired by Lower East Side resident David Wilkie, who became known as “Mr. Purple.” A gardener and activist, he was an iconic figure who dedicated his life to beautifying and improving the neighborhood. A mural was painted in his honor and can be seen on display in the lobby area of the hotel. Also, in honoring Wilkie’s dedication to the neighborhood, the restaurant is committed to supporting the Lower East Side community through several initiatives including partnerships with the Bowery Mission and local businesses such as Russ & Daughters, il laboratorio del gelato and Yonah Schimmel Knish Bakery who are all featured on the restaurant’s menu. Additionally, through the Lower East Side Employment Network (LESEN), 30 percent of jobs at the hotel have been allocated to local residents.

UPDATE: the claim that they’ve partnered with Russ & Daughters is bullshit. The century-old appetizing company confirms that in no way do they endorse Mr. Purple. “That restaurant simply purchased smoked salmon at our shop one time,” R&D director of communications Jen Snow tells us. “We never authorized them to use our name on their menus or in their promotional materials.”

UPDATE 2: The Gerber Group responds to the Russ & Daughters claim.

When our chefs were developing the menu for Mr. Purple, they met with management of Russ & Daughters to discuss offering their smoked salmon. It was made clear that we would want to highlight their brand. It is unfortunate that recently they have changed their minds regarding our usage of their name, but wish to continue doing business with us. We look forward to continuing to supporting our other local vendors.

Even if the “Mr. Purple” namesake was chosen during his lifetime, the proximity to Purple’s death creates an insensitivity. The name should be changed. Moreover, we’re supposed to congratulate a business for accepting the local establishments? Shouldn’t that be the norm?

Most importantly, would Adam Purple have even gone here if he were still alive?

This image has been archived or removed.

Recent Stories

Lower East Side Children’s Halloween Parade Marches this Weekend

Time to test run those kiddie costumes! The Henry Street Settlement’s second annual children’s Halloween costume parade and party is happening this weekend, and promises plenty of spooktacular fun for all ages. The parade route starts at Abrons Arts Center (466 Grand Street) and follows the beats of the NYPD marching band through the streets […]

Here’s Why DOT Shouldn’t Move Forward with Hated Chinatown ‘Gateway’ Art Design [OP-ED]

A glimmer of hope came over me last month when I was informed that Department of Transportation would delay its presentation to Community Board 3 regarding the controversial Chinatown “Gateway” marker. I was cautiously optimistic that Linda Lee’s “Dragon’s Roar” design would be scrapped due to unanimous local outrage and opposition, and that the selection […]

Lebanese Eatery ‘Manousheh’ Signs Lease for Seward Park Location

The year-long dormancy of the former Grand Street 7-Eleven is drawing to a close. In its place, a familiar Lebanese restaurant. Word on the street is that Greenwich Village import, Manousheh, just signed a lease for the vacated space. We’re told that asking rent had been about $18,000, but final price is unknown. Occupancy apparently […]

Game Over for ‘Water World Amusements’ Arcade on Essex Street

Much like the movie of same, Water World Amusements unceremoniously sunk. The arcade, which opened just over a year ago at 35 Essex Street, is no more. Gaming cabinets remain locked in the dark retail space, while leasing signage dominates the store marquee. That this game room failed to hit is not a shock. Water […]

‘Greens and Grains’ Shutters, While Famous Hakki Readies Essex Chicken Spot

Greens and Grains is no more after a year in business, as Hell Square eats another of its own. Instead, the so-called Pizza Champion is opening a chicken-focused eatery. Hakki Akdeniz, who owns a plethora of pizzerias around the neighborhood, is planning to open Essex Chicken at 115 Essex Street. Just a few doors down […]