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Wasn't sure where to post this as it doesn't exactly qualify under the "nightclub crackdown" forum. This little club sounds intriquing ....


The New York Times
April 20, 2003

NEW YORK CITY may have only 300 people left who want to get dressed up and dance to house music all night. But that is exactly the point at Cielo, a dance club that opened in the meatpacking district in the West Village in January "” especially when a portion of the clientele appears to be South American models.

Unlike so many of the big clubs that have closed down recently, Cielo seems more tailored to the times, like a private party hidden from the uninvited. On a recent Saturday evening, men lined up outside Cielo under an old sign that said: "Nyack Meat Co. Turkeys any size." There was no cover charge or guest list.

The only way in: be "friends" with one of the owners or be selected by the doorman as an "interesting character." Inside, it felt like the private disco of a 1970's international playboy. The walls and ceilings were covered with biomorphic foam tubes upholstered with retro brown ultrasuede, interspersed with plexiglass tubes of amber light. Patrons had little choice but to interact with strangers; besides a sunken dance floor in the middle of the room with a disco ball and a small smoking area in the garden outside, there was nowhere to go.

"I wanted the space to feel safe and cozy to counteract all the anxiety in the world," said the designer, Stephane Dupoux, who also did Pearl and Nikki Beach Club in Miami Beach.

In keeping with its private party ambience, the owners of Cielo don't seem to care about pleasing anyone besides their friends. The D.J.'s don't spin any Top 40 hip-hop or rock, only house music with a Latin twist. (Cielo frequently brings in big-name D.J.'s like Tony Humphries and Brian Tappert but doesn't advertise.) "Because we're so small, we don't have to let anyone in who might ruin the vibe," said Nicholas Matar, an owner and D.J.

At 2 on a recent Sunday morning, D.J. Pippi, of the nightclub Pacha in Ibiza, Spain, was spinning. Models in the latest designer gear were dancing alongside a crowd decked out in fedoras and cowboy hats with suits.

Claudia Oyanedel, 26, a model from Chile who is with the Elite agency, had just arrived. "New York really needed a place like this," she said. Nearby, Fabian Basabe, 25, and Cynthia Moureto, 25, were salsa dancing as if they were contestants on "Dance Fever."

"My only complaint," said Mr. Basabe, who grew up in Ecuador, "there's no podium for me to get up and dance on."

I know I am notorious for being severely optimistic and sweet when I see personal reports of new and fabulous ideas and trends, but I now I see no other course of comment, save for the negative. Does the New York Times hire high school reporter wannabes now? The writing is so bad I can't even concentrate on naysaying the club full of South American DJs who are playing house while the uninvited patrons lounge with strangers on brown plexiglass. Or whatever it said.
I too am far too jaded to believe what is the new "hot spot" and even more suspect is a piece (sorry Lexy-kins) that mentions the word "MODEL" in every line... from now on i want to be refered to as Model-Janey B (Ok so the only model I could be is a friggin hand model...but hey!)... the idea of a place in the meat packing district downstairs, underground, more word of mouth, full of cute happening folk... with a fab DJ and a strict door policy..... why that sort of thing is never for real anyhow is it Empress and Daddy?
well damn then - I stand corrected, girls! Granted the use of the "model" word turned me off right away too. And to open a club in the new SoHo (the Meatpacking District) is not exactly cutting edge - much less desirable - these days, c'est vrai!! Still though, I liked the "no guest list" angle and the idea of having to be invited in, kind of like going to someone's house.
I'd like to reiterate something that might be lacking from my posts: I REALLY do not look for things to knock. I know most of you get it, but for those that don't, well, there it is. I'd like to explain why I usually am one of the first to be obnoxious.
I'm all for a new fun party, but when the party has to push the fact that they want only the trendy and famous to come, and we SHOULD come because there are those people, they blanket the fact that the party needs more OOMPH. If the party is as fab and private as they say, why all the snivelling? If it really is major, tell me what's a'happenin'! When I think of the wildest and funnest (yeah, I know) parties I've been to - Jackie's and Cabaret M. included - my exclamation's go,
"Oh my! I fell down the stairs and spilled 3 drinks on myself. So-and-so was unbelievable! And so-and-so ended up crawling on the bar..." and so on. Not,
"You know, there was NO line and it was very discrete. There were really famous people there, too. Everyone was in a label. I think I made a contact."
If you have words to eloquently describe ambiance and decor after a shindig, it was NOT the best time of your life.
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So... i was watching the crappy Fox news last night and both on Fox and WB11 there was in interesting local story.... On 14th St, the newsagents next to the KFC on 2nd Av., (the very same news store that Amadu Diallo used to sell CDs out side of) has been fined over $2,000, so has the next door internet caff - reason being .... the store signs outside have too many words on them! Yup.. there is an ancient law that states you can only state the name of the store, the phone # and address. What nutty bollocks is this! All the stores on 14th are being fined! Unbelievable!
I sort of worry that i might soon be fined for breathing too many in breaths and not enough out breaths... it might come to that soon...
We knew it was coming. $500,000 for a condo in ugly-ass Williamsburg? Me thinks not.


By Rachelle Garbarine
May 16, 2003

Betting that the Williamsburg area of Brooklyn will continue to attract deep-pocketed apartment buyers, two sets of developers are readying new condominiums with sale prices averaging under $500 a square foot, one a newly constructed building and the other a converted guitar factory.

The new building is on Bedford Avenue, a main commercial strip already dotted with galleries and boutiques. Called Bedford Court, it has 32 apartments in a four-story building nearing completion on a lot at South First Street formerly occupied by a small vacant commercial structure. Joseph Scarpinito and Shiraz Sanjana, working as South First Street Associates of Brooklyn, are developing the $10 million project.

The other building, a few blocks away on Broadway, considered the border between the Northside and South Williamsburg neighborhoods, contains 130 lofts carved out of a 10-story factory where the Gretsch company once made guitars and other musical instruments. Martin Wydra and his brother, Edward, second-generation builders from Brooklyn, are doing the $75 million conversion.

In the last two years, several condominium developments "” some of them newly built and others renovations of existing buildings "” have taken shape in or near Northside, amid the myriad rental buildings that have drawn Manhattanites to the area. Among the earlier condominiums are Williamsburg Mews at 100 Havemeyer Street, with 24 apartments, and the renovation of the Smith & Gray building at 138 Broadway into 40 condos. Brokers said those units sold for an average of $400 a square foot.

At Bedford Court, the average price per square foot will be $470, or $209,900 to $539,900 for the studio to two-bedroom apartments, said Helene Luchnick, an executive vice president at Douglas Elliman and the project's sales agent. The apartments will be 498 to 1,184 square feet. The five penthouses, at 980 to 1,414 square feet and two or three bedrooms, will cost $539,900 to $729,900. Sales are to begin next month.

At the Gretsch Building, prices are expected to average $470 to $490 a square foot, or $250,000 to $1.3 million. The studio to three-bedroom apartments will have about 620 to 2,000 square feet of space, said Tricia H. Cole, an executive vice president at Corcoran Group Marketing and the project's sales agent.

Prices are expected to be $1.2 million to $2.5 million for the five penthouses, which will have 2,000 to 3,400 square feet of space. Construction on a two-story penthouse addition is expected to begin soon.

Final prices will be set and sales will begin when the building's offering plan is accepted by the New York State attorney general's office, which the developers expect to happen within the next two months.

"The neighborhood is the latest alternative for people priced out of Manhattan," said Ms. Cole. "They get an apartment in a full-service building that would cost at least $800 a square foot in TriBeCa, and all they need to do is cross the bridge."

Ms. Luchnick estimated that several projects in the development stage would generate 100 more condominium apartments in Williamsburg in the next year.

Mr. Sanjana said he and his partner bought the Bedford Court site 18 months ago "because it is on a prime street in the heart of an evolving neighborhood." All Bedford Court apartments have balconies or terraces. Amenities at the limestone and brick building, designed by Felix Tambasco of Brooklyn, include a health club, a roof deck and 22 parking spaces.

Martin Wydra said he bought the largely vacant Gretsch building 18 months ago because of its location near the Williamsburg Bridge and along a major thoroughfare. At 10 stories, he added, it is among the tallest structures in the area, and its apartments have views of the East River and Manhattan. It is also the largest of four buildings Gretsch had used in Williamsburg.

Apartments will have, among other features, ceilings at least 12 feet high. Many will also have fireplaces. The building will be staffed with doormen, and planned amenities include a library, a 100-car garage and possibly a health club. The architects are Gene Kaufman of Manhattan and Karl Fischer of Montreal.

The building will have new plumbing, heating and windows when completed next year. But the name etched at its top, Gretsch Building No. 4, will remain. Showcased in its lobby will be two vintage Gretsch guitars.

Watch Where You Sit

It appears the city budget crunch has reduced the NYPD to writing some rather absurd tickets. A Bronx man claims he was given a summons for sitting on a milk crate outside the hair salon where he works on the Grand Councourse. The ticket says "unauthorized use of a milk crate."

Is this all getting more an more Pythoneque... wonder if i will get a ticket for sitting on the WBC World Champ.... hummmmm ?
I too (like Miss U) am addicted to my "Chinese Bodega" massage places.... just found one that is my absolute FAVE... check it out....
Chinese Tui Na, 442 E 14th (btw 1st and A near to A)... Chinese herbalists and Accupressure... CHEAP CHEAP CHEAP! $22 for 30mins ($5 extra for chinese herb foot soak).... J.Q. was the bloke i had who was fab... so fab that the problem i have had (two numb toes) was cured!!! It was a trapped area that he pressed after much ow ow ow! it was fab!
Check it out... nice folk, no frills, smells all Chinese Herbalist office (herbalist on site)..enjoy!
The milk crate ticket is not such a new tactic in the 'quality of life' repertoir of uncivil behavior as defined by the previous ultra-fascist mayor ( and how did he become a reconstituted national hero - the guy who was once roundly boo'ed upon taking his seat at the Met opera house? ). I myself am the very proud earner of two wonderfully Khafka meets Joseph Heller summonses. One, for 'non-compliance with bicycle regulations' -translation: I got a ticket for riding my bike in the park. Now what are you supposed to do in a park? And they wanted my social security number for that ticket -"No, no, no," I said to the twenty year old cop. The second is my favorite, "Unnecessary noise." The circumstances were completely banal and absurd. I was playing my drum in the park, right next to the Ave. B. bus stop (me, noisier than the bus?). The woman cop couldn't find the right numerical code and correct wording of the infraction to write on the summons she was handing out to me. She called her beat partner on the walkie, he showed up, he couldn't find the infraction listed in his manual either. They radio over a third cop. He is dumb too. Then a fourth cop. He also draws a blank. Finally the shift supervisor motors over on a scooter, its the lieutenant. He couldn't find the name of the infraction either but his brass inspired the subordinants to finally locate it in the fine print of their manuals. But by then I'm sitting on a park bench, surrounded by five cops and half the population of the park gathered round probably wondering when the beatdown is going to start. Then the bus pulls up at the stop not 30 feet away and the cops start shouting at each other over the bus din to write me a ticket for making unnecessary noise.

[This message was edited by seven on 07-11-03 at 01:41 PM.]
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JD and I used to donate to it till we heard the truth about it from some homeless buddies in the neighborhood. It's not an organization, but each homeless rents the rig (begging jar, table, etc.) from headquarters then gets to keep whats left over. So it is technically helping the homeless, but one at a time. I prefer to just give dollars to individual and charismatic homeless in my nabes.
In the 10 years that I have lived in NYC, I have seen the stretch of Broadway between Houston and Canal St turn into a strip mall. Where once it was Dean & Deluca as the only destination on this stretch, just about every chain is now there, and Soho and the LES have collided on this stretch.

It has become so congested over the years with the shoppers/tourists, that I, a resident who lives on Broadway below Canal, cannot even walk down this strip, and I walk down Crosby now.

But now in the old Canal St Jeans location, a Bloomingdales is coming in Spring 2004! God, I grew up with going to Bloomingdales at the mall in suburban Northern Virginia, and if I want to go to Bloomingdales, I will take the subway uptown, thank you very much. I don't want this downtown...and it will just congest this strip even further.

Just more of mall-ization of NYC.
I work at a shop on Bleecker St. near Christopher in the West Village. I am really getting irked by the number of tourists who stick their head into the shop and ask me where the nearest Starbucks is. They are searching blindly for a Starbucks amid a plethora of privately owned gourmet coffee and espresso bars and cafes with their own unique decor etc. Why are these people even leaving home in the first place? Everywhere in the U.S. seems to be destined to be like everywhere else, no matter how unique the locale.

One other point I'd like to make is that the neighborhood I work in has had more than half of the shops closed since I started working there 2 and a half years ago. The landlords all want higher rents than anyone can afford in the present economy, and many are sticking their tenents with the raised property taxes that the city has recently levied. Who can afford to move into the quaint old village now? Chain stores from Everywhere, USA.
I love Bloomingdale's, but I have no desire to have one downtown. And you're right, Randella, lower Broadway has become so congested that I don't like walking through there anymore either.

Years ago I worked for an interior designer whose office was on East 58th Street & Second Avenue. At that time Bloomingdale's was in danger of closing, and in fact they declared bankruptcy but were later bought by somebody. I'm glad they stayed in business, it's a New York institution. But not downtown.

I still like NYC, but it has become a giant surburban shopping mall.

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