Is New York over?

Being out of the country always throws me for a little while (because i don´t get out very often)--- but it does give one a different perspective. And it has some bearing on the so-popular¨"Is New York Dead" topic that has been burning up the Mboards.

In the past, I have often been among the first to lament boring old NYC... then I go away and find that while other places have many beautiful and exciting things to offer, NYC is still tops in my book. Granted, vanilla is apt for the city at the moment ... and I just love the way that people don´t even *arrive* at clubs here in Spain until way after 2 a.m. -- even on weeknights! (Maybe this is part of the reason that most of what Madrid has to offer in the way of tourist attractions is old convents...people are too pooped out after nights of debauchery to build eiffel towers and empire state buildings...? hmmm.) There is certainly a commitment to nightlife abroad that does not exist at home...but though the clubs and bars may be packed at 5 a.m. on tuesday nights here, there is a definitive lack of talent on display...(I saw a musclebound Mary in a black thong do some sort of cape dance to a vaguely American sounding song last night in Barcelona that very nearly made me cry...) Anyhoo... Miss Sweetie she was not!
Yes, siestas would be lovely...it´s the first time i´ve experienced this, where everything just shuts down. Cafes and cafeterias stay open, and often people go sit and have long meals with friends and family and colleagues. Supper comes at 9 or 10, then out to a bar till 2, then on to the clubs...it´s exhausting! And most still get to work by 10 the next morning. Don´t know how it´s done...

Of course, there a few examples of this late-late-night life in nyc, but it is more the exception rather than the rule. All of this said, whether things go down at midnight or 5 a.m. doesn´t really matter though...I remain most inspired by what is happening in the city right now. I´ve seen what else is out there, and a lot of it ain´t pretty. (Though I have heard that tokyo gives us a run for our money-- i really have to see what all the fuss is about...)

[This message was edited by Michael Madison on 12-05-02 at 11:28 AM.]
I came to the same conclusion you did, Michael, when I was recently in Berlin and Amsterdam. I mean, on the one hand it IS great to have complete freedom in your nightclubbing pursuits (clubs that never stop serving alcohol, dark corners of erotic play, lax drug enforcement, gorgeous late-night crowds, etc). In this regard Europe is waaaaay cooler than the United States and reminiscent of how NYC used to be once upon a time - and should be everywhere in my opinion. But on the other hand I have to say that so much of my enjoyment of club culture comes from the live performances, productions and the colorful, outlandish freaks that populate nightlife. And I found this element distinctly lacking in the other cities, particularly Amsterdam (I found some fetish/leather scenes and some "inspired" live sex shows, but otherwise limited theatre, little burlesque and very, very little drag). For example, I had been told before by drag performers I know here in NYC about the lack of good drag in Europe but I never really believed it until this trip. I've heard Sherry Vine has to jump around Europe to get work because there isn't enough of it in Berlin alone. Naturally there are spectacular special events in these cities, but on a weekly basis, New York is still way ahead.

Of course, some of it could be chalked up to just not knowing where to go or not being familiar enough with the underground. And on the plus side the lack of talented productions & performances could be read as opportunity for those seeking to create new scenes or exploit nightlife ventures.
are being quoted (with author's permission) in an article on "How Virtual Communities react when real-life communities are threatened" or something like that.

So if you have posted here and have a published addy, the journalist may write and ask your permission to use your post - or if you don't, she may leave you a message here. Her name is Maureen Johnson and she seems to be very correct in her approach to quoting from the Boards, so we look forward to seeing the article - she'll post a link when it comes out. wink
Miss Dee Dee has been on my mind the last few days ... where have you been? did you make it to the gathering at Xmas time? I saw a young gothesque/electromod duo looking in at one point???

Miss Chi Chi any followup on this item ... what mainstream media (a growing minority and dying concept) made of this discussion, I am super curare ...

curare a typo for curious... but I looked it up and rather liked what I found ...
/kyu-'rär-E, ku-/ Function: noun
Etymology: Portuguese & Spanish curare, from Carib kurari Date: 1777: a dried aqueous extract especially of a vine (as Strychnos toxifera of the family Loganiaceae or Chondodendron tomentosum of the family Menispermaceae) used by So. American Indians to poison arrow tips and in medicine to produce muscular relaxation ... oh yes, back to work ...
at least for techno superstar Richie Hawtin. I found this tidbit about him in this week's Village Voice. Comments?

quote:

Fly Life
by Tricia Romano
January 15 - 21, 2003

Williamsburg is, like, so over. At least Richie Hawtin seems to think so, reports Jockey Slut, a favorite U.K. mag among trainspotting geeks like me. The bald one, who moved to our fair city not even a year ago, taking up residence in trendy Williamsburg, might already be leaving. Jockey Slut reports that he's headed for Berlin"”where things are a bit more poppin'. "Apparently the Canadian is tired of the North American techno circuit and wishes to live somewhere more creative," they write. But Mr. Hawtin e-mailed from his main studio in Windsor, Ontario, where he is working on new material, saying he hasn't made up his mind yet. If he does decides to leave, I can't say I blame him. You can smoke in bars in Berlin, and better yet, you can dance, hassle free.


Also in the same column, a bit of gossip about other clubs around town struggling to survive. (this article also posted in the Nightclub Crackdown Watch)

quote:

Fly Life
by Tricia Romano
Disappearing Acts
January 15 - 21, 2003

Now you see them, now you don't. No sooner had we heard about all these superclubs"”which found everyone heralding the return of New York nightlife"”than many of the aforementioned clubs closed temporarily or permanently. The much hyped reopening of Estate @ Limelight was a dud, and the club is closing shop"”with the exception of John Blair's gay Sunday parties"”until Fashion Week, says publicist Claire O'Connor.
Also going on hiatus is Powder, the chi-chi nightspot in the meatpacking district. The space, which opened with much hoopla (its swank interiors were conceived by famed designer Karim Rashid), abruptly shut down after New Year's Eve after one of its investors reportedly pulled out. (The club's CEO, Anthony"”he refused to give a last name"”denies that an investor bailed, saying tersely, "We don't wish to comment at this time," before hanging up on the Voice.)

The club was supposedly so cash strapped that they ran out of glasses on New Year's, and, says a snitch, employees were locked out when an owner changed the locks on the staff without notice. (A club employee denies that ever happened.)

The space has not yet been sold (the employee says the owners are still taking offers), but they hope to be reopened by February. In the meantime, construction on the downstairs room will be completed.

And rumors abound that Spa is also getting a face-lift. But Claire O'Connor says that while the owners have "been talking about it for a while"”getting a new look and a new name," there are no immediate plans to switch things up.

The fact that she is one of the only people regularly writing about clubs in NY for a print pub is in itself a symbol of the decline of clubbing.

I do appreciate that club info is making print at all, but she has an extremely narrow, dj-centric view of nightclubbing and is a total bandwagon-jumper. I don't think she would know an important nightclub story if she fell over it, and thus resorts to the kind of "_______ is great, (wait 30 days) then __________ is soooo over" reporting (substitute electro, Williamsburg, big clubs, little clubs, etc.)

She also always seems like a person that couldn't get in to trendy clubs and is a bit bitter. I know that M. Musto doesnt cover clubs that much anymore, but even now he writes a much wider spectrum of clubs in the limited space he devotes to them than Romano. It is just sad that a paper with such great writers about fashion, dance, politics and of course MUsto who made his own column etc. cant do better when it comes to clubs.

Speaking of great NYC club writing, I have seen Steven Saban ONLINE NOW recently and for all you kids that dont know he is a great club writer and NY is missing that kind of reportage like he did in the old Details magazine.
I agree with you completely. Every once in a while, there will be a new nightlife columnist that pops up and I'll think I'll have a fun read, but I always end up reading the same old bitch and dance. If these people are being paid off, or if they simply graduated from N.Y.U. (not that that's bad, but YOU know) and got hired by their friend's boss, it all turns out the same old People Magazine inspired who's who they think is who on the town. I, too, get the feeling of bitter wall flowers, or people that simply don't know there's anything else out there. And every once in a while - there'll be someone that refuses to acknowledge that there are things more fun than a night trying to catch a peek of celebrity at Lotus (again, NOT knocking). Give me dirt in a dish, people! Personally, I really am not that interested whether or not Britney farted on Justin's lap (does this mean a reconciliation?!) while grabbing Mariah's tit (fake or no?) when she laughed at Tara Reid's impression of Carson Daley (aging and heartbroken, but what a cutie!) trying to eat her bleached and tanned waxed-to-the-max puss. I wanna read something that'll make me laugh, something the phrase "Holy Shit!" can be used in reference to how well the entertainment did their job and not if you missed a drunk celeb. Or how you can simply have a fun night out on the town not having to spend 25 bucks to be ushered into a room where straight men in see-through shirts tell you they live in Queens (AGAIN, NOT... Oh, who cares?).
To move from a discussion of the writer (she said diplomatically) to what T. Romano actually wrote, the following is interesting because it was discussed in this very topic as well..
quote:
No sooner had we heard about all these superclubs"”which found everyone heralding the return of New York nightlife"”than many of the aforementioned clubs closed temporarily or permanently. The much hyped reopening of Estate @ Limelight was a dud, and the club is...


I think the only people who were convinced that this was a re-birth of nightlife were magazines like HX and NEXT who were eager to sell these large new cash caverns full-page ads (and as a seller of ads myself I understand this, but wishing doesn't make it so.)

I personally knew that Limelight didn't stand a chance when a friend told me he'd just paid $27 plus tip for two margaritas and a beer. We both laughed but we were pretty sure we wouldn't be back in THIS incarnation - but unlike many we two would be around for the next!

People in New York have had less money for while now, and they haven't stopped going out but they must pick and choose more, go out less, and be sure they will have an experience worth the trouble and money and time dressing when they do.
How this fact of life reconciled with the building of several large venues with multimillion dollar investments riding on them, I don't know, but after more than twenty years in clubs, I guess this is what keeps them fascinating.

I do ADORE Claire O'Connor, though...
I agree. The economy does force people to be a bit more discriminating in where and how they spend their money. I feel the trend is still with the smaller, more intimate settings. Estate@Limelight spent so much money, they obviously fetl justified in passing on that cost (immediately) to their clientele to get a quick return (hence the $27 for two drinks). It's a bit disrespectful, and gives me the sense that they never expected to be around for very long anyhow, or believed in the longevity of what they were offering.
There are a few amazing club columnists in this town – three young, up-and-comers I can think of who create their own news, their own scene, and, their own "beat" -- but as posted above -- they simply do not write in print. Why?

I can venture a hypothesis, having been an extremely popular nightlife/club columnist in a smaller market prior to moving here ...

Hot media requires tremendously-gifted and innovative "talent recruiters" and "managing editors" who genuinely have vision - not the seasoned employment recruiters who have no reason to foster "chance". In addition, the jaded dinosaurs of yester-decade with all their 60's sensibilities, have so eagerly crushed any brilliant upstarts -- dead in their naive-platform/spiked-heel tracks. They simply have forgotten the worth of mentoring or how fast a "raw" new columnist can reset the ad rates while empting the racks of a newsstand. After all it is sooooo much better for them to be a tradition, albeit, a less and less interesting one.

Perhaps, I'll start sending a nightlife column to The Onion ... perhaps snippets too mired in "fantastic reality" one will begin to wonder if it really is wit and fiction ...
Great input, girls and thanks. I haven't read enough of Tricia Romano's columns to have formed a definative opinion of her, but I completely agree with everyone's observations about Estate et al and the kind of clubs predominating in the city right now. I agree with Joe also that (with rare exceptions like ever-popular Chelsea boy havens like Roxy and Exit) the trend right now is toward smaller clubs with downsized productions and that people are simply pickier about what to do and where to go.
THERE ARE TOO MANY SMALL CLUBS!!!!!!
(or lounges as they are now called)
Every No Vision - No Idea - No Clue - Khaki Klad - Urban Professional - With His Weight In Dot Com Dollars has opened up some sort of East Village Lounge or restaurant. It must seem too good to be true. Get a couple of investers together (no problem), put in a quarter of a million $ each (peanuts), sit back, get high, get laid and get rich. Well if it sounds too good to be true it probably is. The problem is they ALL had the same idea and the result... a glut of stupid souless empty nothing bars. The only thing they offer is some sort of DJ (and I use that term VERY loosely). Every one has about 10 people at the bar (or sofa) -but there are thousands of them in the East Village alone. No one place has enough people for the party to take off. They are free (because they offer nothing) and that makes it hard for promoters who do offer something (like a show or dancers) to charge 5 or 10 bucks to pay the talent. I have nothing against small bars/lounges. There are (have been) alot of really great ones. (Wonder Bar, Cake, Starlight, Dick's, Boiler Room, The Bar, The Cock, Phoenix, Slipper Room to name a few) but they all offer something. Even if it's just a cozy vibe. Sometimes I go into a lounge and I can hear calculators in the backroom trying to figure out how they are doing on their investment. That is the only thing that matters to them. And it shows. I hope they all go belly up. The ones that remain will rule.
Good luck to The Mile High Club, Star Tartare, Marion's, Slipper Room... ANYONE who is trying to do something real. The odds are against you.
It reminds me of the late 90's (am I old enough to say that kind of thing?) when every week a new hip restaurant opened. It would last just under a year and then go belly up (or have illegal gambling...BAH!). I distinctly remember hearing the phrase, "Remember Cafe Tabac?" one night at Cake that made me giggle. It's like style without substance can only get you so far and then you better learn how to tap dance cause no one will pay attention to you if they feel they've seen it all. It seemed like that was the beginning of "who was there?" instead of "what was going on there?". Obviously, that existed before, but it seemed to go into hyperdrive as everyone became a publicist or public relations firm. Who the fuck ISN'T in pr these days, spinning every watered-down crappy idea into the "most fabulous experience of your life". When you cater to people who are not interesting or who are not active contributors to the evolution of our urban culture, you're left with a bunch of fucking tube tops and khakis. Do downtown a favor and just mug someone tonight. You deserve their money for putting up with their presence, not some yuppie bar owner.

God, I'm hungover.
This is the age when people care more about what a movie's "box office" is than the movie itself. Who cares how many millions some movie makes on its opening week-end! It's not about the movie anymore, it's only about how much money it makes. It's that mentality that these lounges thrive in.
Oh Tonya, you're such a doll! Wink

Hey Daddy, out of all those bars you mentioned that were offering us something I'm not sure you should keep The Boiler Room on that list...If this was a year or 2 ago I would not be saying this becuase back then they actually did offer something. I actually got my start there but I wont say what my start was.... anyways they have since then (to my knowledge) changed owners and management and aside from being pretty rude to their patrons I havent heard of anything at all going on there...

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