Photo: Meredith Galante/Business Insider
Robert “Toshi” Chan loves nothing more than a wild rager. But the New York City party promoter-turned-hotelier has worked hard to turn his Williamsburg penthouse into a sanctuary where he can be alone.Chan, 38, has had a whirlwind couple of decades in New York. He started his professional career as a trader at Citicorp, and eventually transitioned into a party promoter after taking a mixology class. He adopted the nickname “Toshi” and became known for a series of elaborate “Toshi Parties” at the Puck Building in SoHo.
He’s also dipped his toes into real estate and acting, having played a mob boss opposite Jack Nicholson and Leonardo DiCaprio in the 2006 Academy Award-winning movie, “The Departed.”
Several years ago he became well known for running a string of allegedly illegal short-term rentals in Manhattan and Brooklyn called “Hotel Toshi,” which the Bloomberg administration cracked down on last year.
But these days, he spends most of his time working on a more legitimate new hotel project, The Flatiron Hotel, of which he is the majority owner. Toshi has put his personal flair into the hotel, from a logo featuring his face to a throne for his dog, Ponzu.
Chan currently lives in the penthouse of a building he owns in Williamsburg. The unit has two bedrooms and four bathrooms, spanning two and a half levels. He’s lived in the stylish pad since 2007 and owns the building next door, which he rents out to tenants.
When we stopped by for a tour, Chan filled us in on his interior design aesthetic. He said he believes in giving creative people freedom, with some limited structure. He gave his architect a budget and a vision (an open, mod, minimalist place with wood walls), and then let him loose.
“I’m one of the worst house guests you’ll ever have,” Toshi said. “I’ve thrown parties where people have walked through the screen doors…I was that kid who invited all of his friends to a party.”
“But in my building I have a 25-page document for tenants to sign swearing [they won’t throw] parties,” he continued. “I’m the opposite at home.”
Chan picked the finishes and furniture himself. All of the finishes are the same in the apartments below him that he rents out.
The bar has its own lighting, and displays Chan's liquor collection for when he entertains. But those gatherings are always low-key—no ragers here.
The fridge lights up, too. The stainless steel finishes give off a certain ambiance in this man cave.
Chan's in-home office is on the mezzanine between the lower level and the bedrooms. He's a busy guy, so he needs two screens.
Chan's favourite room in his home is his bedroom. He has a big-screen TV, mirrors, and lots of white.
The dining area is raised from the floor, something the architect convinced Chan to do because of the high ceilings.
When Chan throws dinner parties, he'll invite a chef from one of the Flatiron Hotel's restaurants to cook for him and his guests. Chan mainly orders take out when he's alone.
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