Manhattan can be exhausting, but did you know you can take a nap on a plush, king-sized bed in a swanky Noho loft apartment practically any time you want?
No, it’s not an art installation. And if it’s not an art installation, it must be a marketing ploy.
For the past year, the start-up mattress company Casper — the one that delivers mattresses in a box — has offered New Yorkers the chance to try out their wares in a showroom at 45 Bond Street. The loft, in a residential building tucked between Lafayette and the Bowery, used to house the company’s offices (they’ve since moved, to give those trying out the bed a little respite from the 30-odd workers previously stuffed into the relatively small space).
Now there are just a handful of staffers working in the showroom. They help guide people who’ve made appointments online, or just walked in, to a spare but large bedroom, giving each person or group fresh pillowcases — they have a supply of 200 — and offering water or coffee.
When I went to try it out, a staffer named Elinor Shram told me that on Saturdays, an average of 70 or 80 people troop through the showroom to test the bed. During the week, the number drops to between 20 and 35. (The showroom is not open on Sundays.) Aside from a mother who brought her pajama-clad six-year-old son to test out the bed and ended up napping with him for an hour, Shram said people generally spend about five or ten minutes trying out the product.
One would be forgiven for thinking, “That’s a lot of people rolling around on the same bed.” For the record, no one’s ever been busted fooling around in the test room, but it’s hard to ignore the fact that you’re lying on a heavily trafficked, albeit very cushy, mattress. Aside from changing the pillows, the Casper staff will put a blanket at the end of the bed on which customers can rest their feet.
The showroom makes sense not just as a sort of publicity stunt — Casper doesn’t have any brick-and-mortar stores, so how else are you going to try their mattresses? But I have to say, the best part of the experience was pretending to live in a swanky Noho loft.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on April 2, 2015