Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Nightlife Horror Stories

Nightlife Horror Stories
By Gamal Hennessy

There are New York nightlife stories more frightening than Saw or Hostel because they actually happened. Some people don’t make it home. Some people aren’t seen again until their bodies wash up along the river. So in the spirit of Halloween, NYN offers three examples of horror that have bubbled up from the club scene. Just click on the picture to jump to New York Nights.


Thursday, October 25, 2007

The Halloween Party Guide

A New York Nights Special Report

So you went out and got the slutty flight attendant/ nurse/ vampire costume and now you need someplace to wear it, right?

You can’t go trick or treating. You’re about 15 years too old for that and you can afford your own damn candy.

You could go to the
Halloween parade in the Village, but what about the weekend before? And what are you going to do after the parade, just go home?

The answer here is simple. You need a party. We can help.

New York Nights has compiled a list of the major Halloween resources in the city. Use this as your one stop shop for finding parties, buying tickets and planning your night.

Halloween 2007 List
Myspace Events
New York Magazine
Parties This Week
Time Out New York

After Halloween, you can use our
Lifestyle page to find the latest events on a regular basis.

Now you’re ready. All you need to do is buy some candy.


Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Exclusive Interview with Vivian Sessoms of Albright

NYN is proud to present an exclusive interview with one a rising star in the New York music scene, Vivian Sessoms.

Just click on the image to jump to the page.



Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Nightlife News for October 23, 2007


Nightlife News for October 23, 2007

NY Liquor Authority blamed for decline (Lisa Fickenscher-Crain’s New York)
It is natural for a certain number of businesses to close in any given year. The businesses that disappear are usually replaced by new ones as long as the demand is there. However, while New York City has seen some bars and clubs close in the past few years, the number of replacement clubs is going down, even though the demand is as strong as it ever was...

Smarter people skip the smoking tax (Joan Gralla- Reuters)
You can’t smoke in most New York bars (unless they have hookah) and New York smokers pay more in cigarette tax than almost any other city in the country… or do they?...

New Social Network for Buying Tickets Unveiled. (Press Release)
The changes that Madonna and Radiohead brought to the music industry last week overshadowed a new service designed to help people buy, sell and trade tickets to sports and entertainment events without the high surcharges or fees....

For this and more Nightlife News, click the banner to jump to New York Nights.


Friday, October 19, 2007

NYPD Issues Nightlife Guidelines (Nightlife News)


Nightlife News for October 19th

Clubs Begin Work with City to Improve Security Conditions (Al Baker- New York Times)
The recent deaths of two club patrons in the past year is being used as the catalyst for new cooperation between the police department and the New York Nightlife Association. Yesterday, in a joint statement the two groups announced 58 measures that are intended to make clubs safer for patrons and give club owners incentive to call the police if trouble occurs.

Nightlife spots have been reluctant to call the police in the past because they didn’t want to have to deal with the disorderly premises citations that would interfere with their liquor licenses.

What does this mean to you the next time you go out? There might be more security guards, more cameras, metal detectors, ID scanning machines and more chances that cops will show up if something happens. You can also expect higher costs. The club owners are business people first. If they have to pay for more security, we have to pay for more security. But paying a little more for a drink is preferable to dead club kids in the street or clubs shut down all over the city. (Additional Coverage from Justin Silverman AM New York)

Lawmakers call for a fake ID crackdown (Brandon Bain- Newsday)
At the same time that the NYPD is developing guidelines for club security, state lawmakers are pushing to change the dram shop laws to increase penalties for the people who sell fake ID’s.

It is estimated that 16% of the alcohol consumed in New York State is consumed by minors. These minors use fake ID to get into bars and buy drinks. The law in place since 1921 hold the bartender and the bar owner liable for any injury or damage resulting from underage drinking, but the person who created the fake ID went largely unpunished.

Removing some of the burden from bartenders in this scenario makes sense, since even a trained bartender can have trouble verifying age on a busy Saturday night. Besides I’d like the chance to drink that 16% of statewide alcohol without losing it to some kid…(Additional Coverage: from Brian Howard : Journal News and Mark Siesel: New York Legal Blog )


Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Hurt by the Quality of Life? (A NYN Editorial)

By Gamal Hennessy

Since the early 1990’s, nightclub culture in New York has not been actively supported by local authorities and community groups. In many instances it is being
attacked under quality of life ordinances that are ostensibly designed to make New York a better place to live. While many of the quality of life goals are admirable, they are also used by some to further specific discrimination agendas and political campaigns including the 2008 presidential race. However, instead of enhancing New York life, attacks on clubs arguably hurt the city and the people who live in it.


There are three specific methods that the city uses to police bars, lounges and nightclubs beyond the standard criminal statutes including denial of liquor licenses (as reported in the
September 9th, September 13th and October 9th editions of Nightlife News), aggressive club closings (as reported in the August 29th, August 31st, September 1st and September 27th editions of Nightlife News , and the continued enforcement of the city’s cabaret laws that prohibits dancing in any venue without a license. Although this law was challenged in 2005, it has been upheld in state court as recently as February of 2007. The use of these and other methods to control clubs is seen as an act that reduces crime.

But the question remains open on whether these or any of the quality of life ordinances actually decrease crime and increase the quality of life. A popular economic theory rejects this concept.
Crime statistics did fall during the early 90’s. Rudy Giuliani, who was mayor of New York during that time period,
claims that victory in the war on crime was due to his aggressive policing and quality of life controls . However Steven Levitt author of the best selling book Freakonomics holds that falling crime had more to do with than Roe v. Wade than Giuliani. The concept is called the legalized abortion and crime effect.
Basically, the more unwanted children there are in a society, the more criminals there will be when those children grow up, because they will have fewer resources and economic opportunities available to them. When the Supreme Court legalized abortion in 1973, it reduced the total number of unwanted children generated in the society. In 1993, just when those children would have grown up into potential criminals, crime decreased because those children simply were not there. If you add the national economic turn around that came with the dot com boom of the early 90’s with the lower number of potential criminals, you can argue that crime decreased because of population control and economics, not aggressive policing or quality of life laws.

Counter Point
Even if you assume that crime did not decrease from inhibiting club life, it can be argued that there are other benefits to the city that come from quality of life laws. While it is true that controlling things like excessive noise and public urination are beneficial, suppressing nightlife hurts New York in the long term.
Nightlife in New York City fosters the growth of art, music and fashion. Elizabeth Currid goes to great lengths in her book the
Warhol Economy to explain that the cultural breeding ground that produced Warhol, Basquait, Madonna and the entire hip hop genre is as vital to New York’s society as tourism or finance (See further coverage in the September 10th Edition of Nightlife News). The dilution of that environment eliminates a vital portion of the City. AM New York, a prominent New York daily newspaper, has been running a series of columns exploring the concept that New York is losing the very elements that make it a unique city because of, among other things, the aggressive control of nightlife.

New York thrives on its unique nature, which includes its nightlife. The city recently launched a campaign to attract more than 50 million tourists to the city by 2015 (
reported in the October 11 edition of Nightlife News). Underage drinking, drug use, building hazards like the Happy Land Social Club Fires do exist within the nightlife environment. Dealing with these issues are legitimate concerns for any city. But we have a choice. We can deal with them in the context of supporting nightlife or we can deal with them by attacking nightlife itself. While attacks on clubs are an easy political target because club patrons don’t normally take action, the risk of backlash is high because the economic fallout that comes with closing the clubs can ultimately damage the political aspirations of any politician.

Please submit your questions or comments to

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Sex, Drugs, Rock & Roll (Nightlife News)


Nightlife News for October 16th, 2007

Madonna’s New Deal Could Mean a Change in Ticket Prices (Vinne Tong- Associated Press) The big news in music last week (after Radiohead’s pay what you want announcement) was Madonna’s move from Warner Music to Live Nation. The $120 million dollar deal gives Live Nation 360 coverage of Madonna’s work. They will handle her records, merchandise, and most importantly her ticket sales. Ticket sales are a major source of revenue now that the sale of actual music has been undercut by the internet. The rise of Live Nation also increases competition for ticket powerhouses like Ticketmaster and Clear Channel, but it’s unclear whether all of this will mean lower ticket prices when we decide to hit a show…

CMJ Kicks Off This Week (Melena Ryzik-New York Times) CMJ was once billed as the music festival where an unknown band could get in front of a legion of industry king makers and prove that they could be the next big thing. Now, with record companies losing big acts to innovative distribution models (see Radiohead, Madonna & Prince), loss of market share from file sharing and online stores, CMJ is evolving into a more of a networking, community building event. There will still be hundreds of bands playing in Manhattan, Brooklyn and New Jersey from now until Sunday. There is still the chance that some band that plays tonight will be on the cover of Rolling Stone next month, but the CMJ is changing, just like the rest of the music industry.

Gray Rape: The Line Between Sex and Rape? (Sewell Chan- New York Times) If you are too drunk or high to form words, or remember anything that happened to you, can you consent to sex? If you can’t consent to sex, and someone has sex with you, did they rape you? These questions were raised by Laura Sessions Stepp in the September Issue of Cosmopolitan Magazine. The situation is currently being referred to as ‘gray rape’, even though it is not a new phenomenon. The use of narcotics and spirits to lower sexual inhibitions might be as old as liquor itself. I wouldn’t actually be surprised if men in pre-historical times invented liquor just to get women drunk. The confusion with gray rape among lawmakers, police, and anti-rape activists stems from the rising sexual freedom among women. While the definitions of rape have not changed, behavior among men and women has, making things about as confusing as waking up in bed next to someone you don’t even remember meeting…



Thursday, October 11, 2007

Nightlife News for October 11th, 2007


Nightlife News for October 11, 2007

Hell’s Kitchen becoming new gay haven? (Dan Allen- While the West Village and Chelsea are considered the foundation of gay life in New York City, changes are taking place. As the NYU glacier moves in from the Village and B&T crowd make more in roads into Chelsea from the Meatpacking District Hell’s Kitchen (or Hellsea, or Clinton or NoChe depending on who you ask) is becoming the new focus point for the LGBT population. Since some of the biggest club trends follow them around, don’t be surprised to find the hottest spots in the city here very soon.

Miller and Coors join forces (Andrew Martin- New York Times) There has been a major shift in the Beer Wars (you didn’t even know we were having a beer war, did you?). This week Miller, the number 2 beer distributor in the country, and Coors, the number 3, have joined forces to become MillerCoors. The new entity is expected to generate 6.6 billion sales every year(which by the way is more than the GNP of Fiji). What does this mean to you when you get to the club? It will probably mean less selection and higher prices if the deal goes through since Busch and MillerCoors would have 80% of the US beer market and can effectively squeeze smaller players out.

City Launches Multimedia Project to Promote NYC (Press Release) New York City is trying to attract 50 million tourists here by 2015. In an effort to draw more people in, the city has announced a long term ad campaign that will stretch from Boston to Pretoria, and include TV, billboard and online advertising that showcases what New York has to offer. The New York City tourist website has been revamped, with a search engine powered by Time Out New York. Of course, nightlife will be included in this push, but it doesn’t look like it will be pushed very hard. The nightlife section of the site is painfully short and there isn’t any mention of all the clubs they’ve closed or refused to let open over the past couple of years. I guess that’s not good for business…

Have fun


Wednesday, October 10, 2007

The Reasons We Go Out (A NYN Editorial)

By Gamal Hennessy

People usually have reasons for why they do things. We go to work to make money. We eat because we’re hungry. We fall asleep on the train because we’re tired. We may not consciously know why we do certain things, but if we think about it, we can usually figure out the reason.

So why do we go out at night? It can deprive us of sleep, money and the chance to watch reality TV if we don’t turn on the TiVo. We put something into nightlife. Do we get anything out of it?

I think there are as many reasons for going out as there are people who go out. But after three years of non-scientific, anecdotal, and random observation, I’ve come up with seven broad categories to define why we go out. Six of them can be lumped under the concept of ‘having fun’, and one is just closer to work (but much better than being in the office). Take a look and figure out which category fits you best.

Consumption: (The things we take in)
For some people its beer. For others it’s dirty martinis. Some of us want to eat and some of us want things that the DEA would bust you for. It doesn’t really matter what your particular poison is, a big part of nightlife is about eating, drinking and smoking freely. The reason wine bars, micro brew bars, and hookah bars do so well is because we are willing to pay to satisfy our hunger to imbibe.

Connection: (The people we meet)
You meet a friend at a bar for a drink when she wants to talk. You go out for happy hour after work with your co-workers to bitch about your boss. You might have girl’s night out once a month. You might cruise the hotels bars for cougars. Humans are social creatures. We have a need to connect with one another. At work and at home, you are constrained in your behavior and limited in the people you can interact with. When you go out, the walls come down. You can talk and act more freely. You can meet people for a minute or forge bonds that last for years. The connection might be intense or shallow, but the energy is different at night.

Entertainment: (The things we see and hear)
The chance to see, hear or feel something is a huge part of nightlife. You might be listening to an unknown comic or garage band one night and part of the insane crowds at a Police or Danny Tenaglia concert the next night. Entertainment can be something as innocent as watching a baseball game at a local bar or as corrupt as the champagne room at a local strip club (actually, it can get worse than that, but you get the idea). It’s been said that one man’s porn is another man’s art, and no where is that more true than New York at night. What you want to see and hear at night actually says a lot about how you see yourself as a person.

Flash: (The wealth we display)
There are people who want to be seen spending big money on table service. They want you to see their Mercedes SUV. They want to drop a couple hundred on a cover to a place the rest of us may not be able to get into. The idea of a discount or happy hour makes them cringe. Why? Because they are living the glamorous life. Consumption here isn’t as important as being able to afford the consumption. If you have the money (or just want to look that way) you want the car, the clothes and the Grey Goose. What better place to display your status than in the clubs?

Obligation: (The social debt)
There are times that we go out when we don’t really want to. The client is in town from Kansas. Someone has to take them out. Tag, you’re it. You’re girlfriend’s brother is having a birthday party. She’s going, so you’re going. Tag, you’re it. You’re friend just got fired, dumped, rejected for the cast of Real World 37. They want you to meet them for a drink. Tag, you’re it. This is the only reason for going out that might not be fun, but compared to being stuck in your office or bored at home, it’s not that bad, is it?

Release: (The temporary escape)
Sometimes you need a break. You can’t sit in your cubical anymore. If your boss calls you one more time about TPS reports, you’re going to cut someone. You’ve tried to like Deal or No Deal and its just not working for you. You need to dance. You need to spend time with your friends. You need to get away from the desk and the Blackberry and the TV for a few hours. Going out isn’t as long as a vacation, but you don’t have to get frisked by Homeland Security to get into the club.

Sex: (The common theme)
Expressions of sexuality can be found in almost every aspect of nightlife. The clothing is tighter and more revealing. The conversation has more carnal energy. Inhibitions are lowered with alcohol. The movements on the dance floor don’t leave anything to the imagination. Nightlife is a sexual metaphor on a city wide scale. It can be simple or elaborate, fun or dangerous, satisfying or forgettable, mysterious or revealing, expensive or cheap, all at the same time. Maybe that’s why so many people keep coming back to it night after night.

Of course, many of these categories overlap. Any of us might have several goals on any given night, making any club night an exercise in multi-tasking. But if you think about why you go out, you’ll have a better idea of what kind of place you want to go to and finding the right place for you will be much easier.

Have fun.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Nightlife News for October 9th, 2007


Nightlife News for October 9, 2007

New Club Book Released (Anna Vander Broeck- Forbes)
Rob Fitzgerald, a bouncer at one of the Westside megaclubs has moved from a popular
blog to a new book entitled Clublife. The book is a description of how Rob became a bouncer and how his job shapes his perception of New York nightlife. If you have ever wondered what a bouncer is thinking when you walk up to the velvet rope and try to hustle your way in, this book might be for you. If you want to know how NOT to act when you are trying to get into the club of the moment, this book is probably for you. Just don’t make the mistake Ms. Broeck does of using this book to paint a negative picture of every club in every major city in America.

City Could Face New Cab Strike (Chris Dolmetsch- Bloomberg)
Yellow cabs in New York City went on strike last month (see the Sept 6th edition of Nightlife News) to protest against the GPS/ video/ credit card systems that are now required in all cabs. In spite of the fact that the last two day strike did little to alter the city’s position and the fact that a judge has rejected their claims are an invasion of privacy, cabbies are planning another strike on October 22nd. I understand that drivers don’t want to be tracked (who does?) and they don’t want to pay the $6,000 it costs to install the equipment, and they don’t want to listen to Al Roker every 48 seconds, but let’s face it; being able to pay your fare with a credit card is a great idea. It leaves you with more singles to tip your bartender/ waitress/ exotic dancer of choice. (Additional coverage from

Crobar fighting to reopen (Daniel Maurer- New York Magazine) Local community boards are continuing their quality of life push. Last week, Local Community Board 4 asked the State Liquor Authority to reject the clubs new liquor license application. Miami’s Opium Group, the new owners of the space) claim that they are going to run the space differently from the previous owners and avoid all of the violations that got it in trouble in the first place. With all the spaces closed down on the west side, and the downfall of Forty Deuce, the city is making it harder and harder to get rejected at the velvet rope and pay $12 for a drink. Can anyone say lounge?

Have fun


Thursday, October 4, 2007

Free Food! (Almost) Free Music! (Almost) Illegal Liquor!

Nightlife News for October 4, 2007

Absinthe in New York: (Jonathan Miles- New York Times)
Since Prohibition ended, there has only been one type of liquor that has remained illegal in the United States.
Absinthe, popular with the literati in Paris crowd at the beginning of the 20th Century, has been banned in the US since 1912. Recently a N.Y. company called Viridian Spirits began selling Lucid, which is supposed to be the closest thing you can get to real Absinthe without breaking the law. The spirit has been creeping into New York bars over the past few months, so I guess it's only a matter of time before the club set starts mixing it with Red Bull.

Radiohead Announces Pay What You Want Song Downloads: (Kyle Sutton- PC World Magazine) We might be witnessing the next big shift in the music industry, or it could be just another gimmick. The international rock band Radiohead recently announced on their blog that their new album In Rainbows will be available on their website on October 10th. This release is special because fans will be able to pay whatever they feel the album is worth, not a price dictated by the record company or iTunes. While some see this as another blow to the traditional music industry, others point out that it won't stick because most bands can't afford this type of distribution of their music. Besides, even if no one pays more than a dime for the album, Radiohead is still planning to sell In Rainbows as part of an $80 compilation set later this year and as a traditional CD in early 2008. (Additional Coverage from Dan Kois and Lane Brown- New York Magazine)

Find Free Food in New York: (Amanda Kludt – Gridskipper) What's the perfect compliment to happy hour drinks? Free food of course. While you're not going to get a five star menu from an executive chef this way, but it beats drinking on an empty stomach. On line guide Gridskipper offers seven alternatives in Manhattan and Brooklyn where you can eat and use the money you saved to buy something important, like another drink.

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Wednesday, October 3, 2007

The Art of Happy Hour (An NYN Special Report)

By Gamal Hennessy

There are a lot of profound and complicated issues in the world today. Understanding happy hour isn't one of them. Happy hour is actually a place where we can go to get away from work, school, home and the stress of our every day lives. Life is meant to be easier (and cheaper) during happy hour.

Like anything else, you can enjoy happy hour more if you know just a little more about it. And since you don't read
New York Nights for coverage of the 2008 presidential race, this is probably the proper forum for this discussion.

Happy hour in New York usually starts around 4:00 PM and ends around 7:00 PM. While the majority of bars, pubs and some early opening lounges have some kind of happy hour pricing, most nightclubs and lounges don't either because they aren't open during that time slot or they don't make their money off that kind of volume.

The classic business rule says buy low and sell high. But a bar during happy hour works on a slightly different principle; it's buy lower and sell low. Often, their goal is to serve cheaper well liquor at reduced prices in the hopes that people will stay after happy hour is over (when they will start paying full price for drinks) or reject the well liquor for top shelf spirits (and agreeing to pay higher prices), or order food (which may not be discounted). As a business, a bar exists to make money. Happy hour gives them the ability to bring people into the bar during a time when it would otherwise be dead.

That's great (for the bar) but happy hour can cause its own share of problems. The main potential problem is overdrinking. This can lead to illness,
hangovers and questionable decisions made under the influence of alcohol (if you don't believe me, just think about the time your friend told you the story about how he woke up next to that midget after going to happy hour. You don't want to be that guy.)

Happy hour is still a great place for pre-parties, after work meetings, or just for those people who don't want to pay $10 for a drink. The question is how do you satisfy your need for inexpensive drinks and let the bar satisfy its need to make money?

We've got a few tips that might help you navigate the treacherous waters of happy hour without injuring your wallet, your liver, or your reputation.

1. Happy hour times can vary. Ask the bartender or waitress when you get there when happy hour ends, so you're not drinking up a storm after happy hour is actually over.
2. Some places offer special drinks during happy hour that go beyond well liquor. Again, it pays to ask questions.
3. If your happy hour spot offers food, get some. It can help you deal with your the increased alcohol intake.
4. Make drinking part of a larger activity. Maybe you're playing pool, or watching the game, or talking about what an asshole your boss was today. It doesn't matter. If you drink while doing something else, you can have a good time for less cash. If you're just drinking because it's cheap, don't be surprised when you're dry heaving over the toilet.
5. Bring friends. Happy hour is early enough for the B&T commuter to have a drink and still catch her train home. It's usually cheap enough for the intern or the student to drink without forcing themselves to eat Ramen noodles until they get paid again. You can use happy hour to connect with people that you won't see in the clubs on the weekends. An added benefit is the more people you bring to the bar, the better the bar does in terms of money, and the better they feel about you. This can lead to good things later. It always helps to be in good standing with your regular bartender.
6. If you are staying at the bar after happy hour is over, try to close out your tab and start a new one. This will help to remind everyone you're with that the prices have changed and it
avoids any potential problems with your bill later.

Happy hour can easily live up to its name with a little planning and a couple of questions. Whether you just grab a drink before watching Survivor: China or you're having a pre-party before a long night on the town, happy hour in New York can be the best way to start the night.

Have fun.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

New Event Sites from DKNY and NYN (Nightlife News)

We've Got News about New Club Sites from NYN and DKNY in the October 2nd Issue of Nightlife News


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