Inside New York: Lyon Porter of Urban Cowboy BnB
02 February, 2016
The Inside New York video series brings the SUITCASE New York guide to life by filming five of our favourite New Yorkers in their corners of the city. For more stories and insights follow SUITCASE Magazine on Viber Public Chats.
Up the steps, past the old blue spruce tree and through a bright red door is a cabin in the middle of Williamsburg. You'd be forgiven for blushing when owner Lyon Porter opens with "Welcome home, would you like a water or a whiskey", because it takes you a minute to remember it's not for an intimate night-cap.
In reaction to the increase in travellers looking for the 'authentic' Airbnb experience, hotels in recent years have been striving to shed images of impossible luxury in favour of a brand image that is more familiar. Urban Cowboy is the closest we've come to home so far.
You are, to be fair, standing in Lyon Porter's dream house (pronounced Lion) which he just happens to share as a BnB. On any given night or day at Urban Cowboy you'll find his friends huddled around the fire drinking whiskey or throwing a BBQ out back. Guests can play his records, drink his wine and join his dinner parties. If you don't have a Brooklyn clique already, he's willing to share.
A minor-league hockey player from Ohio, Lyon spent his teenage years, much to his dismay, travelling from one cold hotel to the next. When he took on his second career path as a real estate broker in New York, the opportunity to create a B&B presented itself.
He found the building in a quiet corner of Williamsburg and won it in a bidding war, unsure of what to do with it until he went on a surfing trip to the boutique retreat Maderas Village in Nicaragua. "It was like a bohemian paradise down there and I thought, on a smaller scale, it would be cool to do something like that up here," he says. Someone asked Lyon what he did for a living, and told them he was opening a B&B, vowing to turn his dream into reality once he returned home.
He began to create his dream home, which meant first and foremost open-living. Garage doors lead into the living room which stretches lazily into the kitchen. There is a beautiful antique pot belly stove and a chef's kitchen which guests can use at their will. Rough white pine floors, exposed brick and a prodigious collection of knick-knacks are just a few of the touches that make this space so special. Another set of garage doors lead to the patio with a hot tub, sauna and a cabin."It was about creating a peaceful place away from the hustle and bustle of New York. I wanted something close to nature, with a blue spruce in my front yard and a cabin out back. I said I want a cabin in Brooklyn to escape to and I don't give a fuck. And that's how it really started."
Lyon has now opened his second property in Nashville. We're obviously planning a trip to visit him there very, very soon.
Local Williamsburg spots The local businesses around here are truly unique and special. That is one of the reasons I chose this neighbourhood. We are not smack-dab in the middle of Ralph Lauren, Juice Press or Soul Cycle.
Okonomi - You can get a traditional Japanese breakfast that is literally like stepping into Tokyo
Blind Barber - A cool spot where you can get a coffee and a haircut or a drink and a haircut
Campbell Cheese and Grocery - You can get any cheese from all over the world.
Grand Street Bakery -Cool vintage shop in an old bakery.