Thursday, May 28, 2009

Black Betty, Catch 22 and Littlefield

The NYN Club Report for May 28, 2009
Complied by
Gamal Hennessy



Park Slope gets a new art/ music space…


Black Betty
Williamsburg loses one its staple music spaces…


Catch 22
(New York Nights)
Nine months after it opens, the Flatiron lounge fizzles out…

Have fun.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Cooper Square Hotel, Warren 77 and Mixology Degrees

The NYN Club Report for May 19, 2009
Compiled by Gamal Hennessy

Warren 77
(Urban Daddy)
A sports bar that isn’t worried about tonight’s game opens in TriBeCa.

Cooper Square Hotel
Local residents have decided to disrupt lounge patrons with a bull horn. Now that’s classy.

Recession Effect
Rise of Mixologists
(Wall Street Journal)
Diego and Zagat team up to train unemployed I-bankers to be the next generation of bartenders.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Bell House, Hudson Terrace and Scores

The New York Nights Club Report for May 13, 2009

Bell House
The brains behind Union Hall bring a spot to Brooklyn with something for everyone.

(Good Night Mr. Lewis)
West Chelsea gets its strip club back.

Imette St. Guillen Case
New York Times
The murder case for the woman allegedly killed by a bouncer began this week…

Hudson Terrace
Address: 621 West 46th Street

Space: 5 The rooftop lounge across the street from Pacha is a good sized open air space designed for mingling and drinking. There isn’t a distinct dance floor, but there is enough space for spontaneous gyrations when you’ve had enough to drink.

Service: 4 HT is exclusive, which means the door is tougher than most of the spots in the city. Unlike other exclusive spots, the staff can be friendly, courteous and professional even when they are rejecting you.

Sound: 3 The music vacillated erratically from chill out to house to Top 40 to 80’s all in the space of 45 minutes and the volume was a little too high considering the focus of the crowd was mingling and flirting as opposed to dancing. The DJ knew his trade, I just wish he made up his mind.

Cost: 3 A Jack and Coke cost me $13 on a Tuesday night. Plan accordingly.

Overall Score: 3.75 out of 5

If you want a piece of the Hamptons or SoBe without the trip or the cost, come here. The transplant is a success.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The Politics of Dancing

Gamal Hennessy

This Saturday marks the third annual New York Dance Parade. The festival is a celebration of all forms of dance, the cultures that shape them, and contributions they make to the diversity of New York City. It is also a grass roots attempt to expose the double standards that nightlife faces, specifically the law that makes it illegal to dance in most New York clubs.

Since the 1926, there has been a New York City law that makes it
illegal for a bar or club to have more than a few people dancing to music unless it had a license for that activity. The reasoning for this law comes from the social and political climate of the era. The 1920’s saw a rise in the then perceived evils of women’s liberation and interracial dating. Jazz clubs were seen as a flashpoint for these trends. The law gave the powers that be the tools to shut down the venues that promoted behavior that they didn’t like. Luckily, the law didn’t stop the flourishing of jazz, greater rights and independence for women or interracial dating, but it stayed on the books for almost 80 years before it was enforced again.

The Giuliani administration began to use the law to shut down clubs under the pretense of avoiding disasters like the
Happy Land Social Club fire. His real aim was to shut venues that didn’t conform to his “quality of life” crusade. As it always does, nightlife found creative ways to get around the law and keep butts moving. Venues used lookouts, warning lights and DJ’s would instantly switch from dance music to soft rock whenever the ‘dance police’ were spotted in the area.

Depending on whom you ask, when Bloomberg came into office he either tried to repeal the cabaret laws or use it to
permanently roll back the closing time of New York nightlife from 4 AM to 1 AM. Nightlife advocates, who lobbied for several years to have the law taken off the books, rejected the 2004 proposal because of the connection between dancing and closing times. A subsequent legal challenge by grass roots organizations like the Dance Parade and Metropolis in Motion failed when a judge ruled that nightlife dancing is not protected form of speech under the 1st Amendment. The law currently remains in place. Out of the 1,100 nightlife spots in New York, only 200 currently have a cabaret license.

The cabaret law is a prime example of attacking culture and expression in the name of public safety. It is arbitrary and nonsensical to conclude that music is a protected art form, but dancing is not protected. It is hypocritical and pretentious to see ballet and ballroom dancing as high art but reject salsa and break dancing as artless. It is repressive and inhumane to require a license for something as fundamental as the expressive movement of the human body. While there are issues of overcrowding, ventilation, emergency exits and other security measures in certain clubs, prohibiting dance doesn’t solve any of these problems. People can be packed into a bar tighter than a rush hour subway without dancing. If you try to stop people from dancing, you will not stop overcrowding. You will not make anyone safer. You won’t even stop people from dancing. The only goal that can be reached by forcing a cabaret license on us is undermining one of the pillars that make New York a world class city.

Have fun.