It’s kind of appropriate that the Pod39 Hotel is housed in a former, landmarked Salvation Army building, because hanging out on its open-to-the-public rooftop cocktail lounge on a beautiful day (or night) is the kind of open-air rescue that a New Yorker needs every now and again. I was there recently for said rooftop’s official spring kick-off, but while taking in the pretty brick, arch-framed view of Midtown and munching on snacks from April Bloomfield’s downstairs project, Salvation Taco, something else caught my eye: a wine list that had a few NY-centric offerings, which is always something my Long Island-born and -bred self likes to see (right now, they’ve got a Chardonnay from Ravines — an outstanding FLX producer whose Rieslings I’ve been hoarding as of late), as well as vino on tap — one of the greatest fuel-conserving, package-eschewing, money-saving, all-around good ideas to hit the imbibing world at large.
That tap offering, though — it’s interesting stuff. At Pod39, its downstairs “Play Room” (e.g. indoor bar in the lobby), and Salvation Taco there are two on the menu from The Gotham Project, a kind of vino super-duo collaboration between Bruce “Cab Franc” Schneider of Schneider Vineyard’s on the North Fork and elsewhere and Charles “Pere et Fils” Bieler. This tap-centric, low-waste, sometimes locally sourced wine project launched in 2009 with a Finger Lakes Riesling (which Bloomfield had on tap at the John Dory right outta the gate), and took off from there. I had their zippy, refreshing 2011 Sauvignon Blanc and my friend tried the bright, pretty rose — both great with the super-fresh snacks on hand and for the warming-up months ahead. Point being: If you’re stuck in Midtown looking for some juice that left a kinder, gentler mark on the planet at large, a rooftop perch with a glass full of Gotham isn’t a bad way to be on sunny spring day.