NEW YORK: Downtown
NON NEW YORKERS
Life in the big city, ever rapidly changing for better, for worse, for something of a combination – never stagnant. Real New Yorkers, in fact, yearn for stagnation. Too much work, too much fun, too much of everything for any human being. How annoying is it when someone comes from the middle of nowhere Texas or some second tier city in Europe like Milano and they are “wound up” ready to party, see things and be in the mix? Obviously on vacation and they want you on their schedule for the next 10 days. The text messages and emails come through, “what’s going on tonight? What’s going on tomorrow? Can you recommend something to do?” My first thought is to say, “yah, how about you go find out yourself and plan your own shit and stop bothering me unless you are inviting me for a drink or dinner.” Of course, this doesn’t apply to good friends and family. But as I tell people in general, information costs, liability is free. And isn’t it the truth that people visiting New York for the first or tenth time can not keep it under control? It’s the non residents that are really into the all out party more than the locals. This is due in part that people in New York are always out for small stretches nearly everyday, never pent up with boredom. So when the classic weekend warrior comes to town, believe me, they have saved up their cash and excitement for Friday and Saturday. These are the real idiots of course.
That leads us in to “the party people” or 75% of New York. Let’s face it, we (New Yorkers) don’t stay home because most homes (85%) are the size of some suburbanite dwelling’s two car to four car garage. So New Yorkers come in contact with the party people NIGHTLY and then we ourselves, transform or take on the party people characteristics. It’s a vicious circle, like the poverty cycle, but it’s the party cycle (similar structure). Often similar outcome as well pending nightly spending or drug habits. I mean, who hasn’t popped on a flight down to Miami at 6am in the morning after partying all night on a Wednesday? Of course you booked the flight as you were leaving the club at 5am with a girl who you were convinced would be your wife, so in the long term it justified everything – i.e. calling in sick, booking the flight at a premium rate, promising to buy her new clothes because she is wearing high heels and a short black dress (it’s 5am) and of course don’t forget her desire for either ecstasy or a few lines of cocaine to go with her new Christian Louboutin’s that you acquired for her right after the driver delivered you (with no luggage) to your beach front hotel. How lucky was it that the exact shoes and day dresses she needed were in a boutique right across the street from your beach front sex suite? Fantastic for everyone and the wild fornication was almost free, almost. And it all happened partially due to the party people and their influence. The rest could be attributed to alcohol, drugs and her lust for designer goods which not only insures your bedroom pleasure but heightens the entire fantasy for a few days, justifying the ridiculous credit card charges. Oh, don’t forget the ones who realize the next afternoon (after sleeping all morning) that their significant other (husband or wife) will probably be seeking to terminate the relationship.
Most know who these party people are. Easily recognizable, always in dark clothes, perky at night, possessing a “look” that defines them not so much as attractive or well dressed but “charismatic” to a limited degree and ready to elevate the mood. Yes, they like their drugs, their drama and their designer delusion. The all too famous words one hears frequently, “I’m buying this club, I’m the owner of that club, I’m opening this business, I can put you in that fashion campaign.” Or if they claim to possess Hollywood contacts, “I can put you in this movie, you can definitely be a part of it. Let’s meet for a drink and don’t wear any panties.” Although I did like hearing that one, especially when the young woman had a serious discussion about not wearing her panties with three of her friends as I was eavesdropping from the table adjacent to theirs. But that’s another topic. The party people typically wear their designer clothing and quite often sport some cool foreign accent. We follow them around, picking up their crumbs and that suffices for most of us. After all, we have a bed time of 1 AM to 2 AM whilst they are just getting started and manage to extend their nights until noon the next day. Yes, it’s a different level of the night scene but one perhaps everyone should experience a few times in their life before turning gray.
Much of the evening elegance has dampened since the 90’s. Some may gather to say it is a generational mumbo jumbo bullshit observation and that the city is better than ever. But then again, one can’t have fun without excess cash to burn by many people and it seemed there was more growth with the internet bubble and fashion industry back then vs. today. There used to be competitions of which table was going to spend the most or which group of guys or individual was going to pop the most bottles of champagne in one night. Or, who would take all their friends to some exotic hot location with 20 women just to brag because they made so much excess cash, they simply “could”. Yes, the guys used to swing their dicks harder and bigger many years ago because there were more of them to swing it. There was cash to burn, there were hotter women (more feminine), there were classier venues/clubs and there was a bull economy. You could cheat and not get tagged all over Instagram or Facebook, a time of innovation and most important, a lack of a police state as it was pre 9/11. There was social discrimination (not racial, that’s always been the same) which is a good thing because the social discrimination allowed pockets of people to enjoy other pockets of people that were similar to them. One could never buy their way into a club or social scene as they now are able to in the city.
Then slowly, there was the disbursement of business and creative people to other cities after 9/11. Like a leak that just couldn’t stop. Nobody wanted it to stop. The fear of having a vodka tonic on 4th of July somewhere then getting blown up in a taxi, subway or black car. This has taken a heavy toll on the scene. Now any guy making a few bucks can wave his credit card in front of the door man and gain entry. An obvious social change or flaw in the night scene as a person would NOT have previously gained entry into an establishment if he or she didn’t have the proper look. We are talking not only with their clothes but with their genetics. I kind of miss going out and listening to the door guy saying things like, “honey, is that a real Bvlgari? It looks fake like your breasts and I don’t let fake tits and jewelry on the same person in at the same time. Too much fake going on baby.” Or better yet, “Listen to me sweetheart, you are too ugly to come inside this club so stop asking and go away.” Yes, the good old days when bouncers carried knives and the crowd carried the tension. So much tension that one could cut it with those same knives. And today? It seems any non showered person wearing a baseball cap with hair on the back of their neck can buy their way into a popular place for a few hundred bucks to a little bit over a grand. At least London has kept the old dignity alive in their top places which causes some people to oooh and aaahhh upon entry. After all, what’s the point of having a posh place if some people don’t feel intimidated? Might as well just go to a pub in sneakers if all things are equal.
The mystique, the power, the look and the influence of night time venues has been steadily chopped away, all but vanquished. Almost as if there was some campaign or conspiracy against the night life industry of New York to dismantle the elegance and sphere of influence it had on people who entered. Those people used to be politicians, captains of industry, aristocrats from Europe throwing around their titles – Baron this or Lord that, fun billionaires and so forth. Today we find places filled with girls looking for rent money, often stemming from some Eastern European country. Guys wearing baseball caps who barely know how to use a fork and knife properly end up partying with those same girls eagerly telling them that they have rent money to give. Or, perhaps their rich 55 year old divorced, who’s daughter is partying at the next table, friend has it for the girls. But there has been one good thing coming out of the degradation which was the virtual elimination of the guido. Remember the guido factor? They had begun to diversify towards the end of their nightlife careers and involvement. No longer were they coming from Italian backgrounds but of Polish, Jewish, Puerto Rican, Russian, Greek, Turkish, Iranian, anyone who could wear some sort of mismatched shiny Eurotrash clothing (1 year outdated minimal) and concrete gel their hair whilst dangling their bling bling gold chains on. These were not your father’s guidos, no sir. These were the latest in guido evolution that began to terrorize the city in the 90’s up until the first part of the turn of the century into 2000. They would aggregate at places such as Crow Bar, Mansion, Ruby Falls, Home and Kit Kat Club. It used to be once the club was “over” as in not cool, it turned guido. Now it seems it goes from hipster/hip hop to corporate 9 to 5’er. That’s right, don’t be surprised if there is a table of accountants or real estate sales people in the corner somewhere pooling their credit cards to have a great time. Hey, blame it on the obvious disintegration of not only the quality of night time venues, but the quality of the type of people attending, the patrons. When the crowd turns from grungy Hip Hip or Hipster to corporate 9 to 5’er, the place is finished. It is a lose – lose situation.
Take a look at the hookers for example. About a decade ago prostitutes used to be chiefly around Central Park South, maybe driving in their vehicle trying to pick up customers, yes, in their cars. Call it the reverse pick up. Or they might be at the Four Season’s Hotel enjoying a long stiff cocktail at the bar while waiting for their cash option to show up. Who would have guessed that they would infiltrate night spots downtown and offer their suction vacuum and plunger services all for a next day shopping spree or agree to go along on a vacation (provided their rent was paid for the next few months). This is an old topic, but one that never tires us out. Modern day prostitutes went from straight up admitting they were hookers, i.e., ass for cash, with their tight dresses and cheap lipstick to passing themselves off as “models” at semi popular night spots, still wearing tight dresses (upgraded the lipstick).
Blame the party cycle. Blame it on that first group of kids who brought you into it for the first time. The guy or girl that kept easily letting you slide past the door security as if it was a 7-11, just going in to buy some gum. Before knowing what had happened that person had become, that’s right, YOU. Blame yourself, the New Yorker, for corrupting your friends and turning them on to the vicious party cycle as well. The Drugs, Drama and Designer Delusion. Make no mistake, alcohol is a DRUG (for purposes of this article because we don’t engage in narcotics). That’s right, recognize those wonderful corruptors because they could be a dying breed. The door is only as good as the venue behind it and the people in front of it. With the slow leakage of the social scene to other places such as Las Vegas, Los Angeles, London and Miami, the city has become more known for Bloomberg policy rather than the 24 hour party capital of the world. New York, once had an iron grip on the social scene. People could not find a better place to enjoy themselves with fine dining, posh lounges, exciting night clubs, amazing theater performances and brand names unique and only found in the city. Today, these brands and businesses have splintered off to other parts of the country, franchised if you will. Now in various corners of the USA and the world all can enjoy a piece of that unique pie that is being served up in their town. Beyond borders, crossing boundaries, over the limits, these are side by side with the fierce mentally narcotic creative to slightly insane individuals that made New York as crazy and as unfair as it was meant to be until it’s end. The centerpiece of capitalism, perhaps slowly vanquishing since the Twin Towers were destroyed, which were the ultimate symbol of the free market environment. Perhaps the cracking and restructuring of the high end night scene, breaking it up and piecing out to other parts of the country and Europe is a good thing. After all, having the monopoly on fashion, fun and food can get tiresome, even for the spoiled ones of Manhattan.