Thursday, July 22, 2010
The Nightlife Report for July 22, 2010
Compiled by Gamal Hennessy
I hunt down the nightlife news so you don’t have to…
If someone is killed out side of a Whole Foods, Chase Bank or Starbucks, the location of the crime is not the focus of the story. When someone is killed outside of a club, that club is immediately associated with the crime. Case in point: disgraced EMT Jason Green was shot and killed over the weekend by a man who drove up in a car. Mr. Green wasn’t in the club and he didn’t come out of the club. The shooter wasn’t the club either. But the club is being targeted as a breeding ground for crime. Greenhouse doesn’t have the cleanest record in the industry, but even if it did, how can a club be held responsible for crimes that take place on the street?
Boom Boom Room
The ultra exclusive club of the moment is taking another step towards on the road of “you might never get in here.” The local community board approved a plan that would allow the hotel lounge to become a private venue after 10 PM. Prospective members will now have to fill out an application, be pre-selected and pay a fee for the chance to drink with celebrities. How many more high end venues will follow the members only option? Will membership fees replace bottle service and become as common as gym fees? Stay tuned…
The dark streets of West Chelsea could be getting a little brighter. M2 which was shut down a few months back along with several other venues in the area, is set to reopen after working out an arrangement with the Department of Health. The club was closed after health officials and police found that the operators were willingly violating the smoking ban by allowing patrons to smoke and even selling cigarettes. While the reopening might be good news for West Side patrons, M2 will clearly be under a microscope. Local officials, police and residents of the new luxury condos in the area might all be looking for a reason to close the venue for good.
Mandatory Breathalyzer Tests for Former Drunk Drivers
New York is preparing to impose stricter rules on anyone who drinks and drives. Drivers convicted of DWI will have to have a device installed in their car that administers an automated breathalyzer test every time they get behind the wheel for six months. If you fail the test, your car won’t start. While this could possibly reduce the number of repeat DWI and save lives it might not be foolproof. We don’t know if drivers will be able to dismantle this device and I can think of a few scenarios where offenders enlist the aid of a “designated breather” to fool the machine into letting them behind the wheel. But if you knowingly get into a car with a drunk and help him drive drunk, you probably won’t live long enough to make that a habit…
This week two nightlife operators are sharing the limelight. Andy Shaw of Shaw Promotions talked with NBC Nite Talk about his TRASH party and the rise of Brooklyn nightlife and Angelo Bianchi talks to the New York Times about his experiences with Beatrice (Inn) and Jane (Ballroom)
Monday, July 19, 2010
One of the main forms of music associated with modern nightlife is house music. While it did not originate in New York, the diversity and energy of the City created fertile ground for the genre and established New York as one of the epicenters of house music.
House music evolved from disco in the late 1970s and early 1980s. This new form of music had distinct elements of soul and funk blended into a tempo and composition structure designed for dancing. House differed from previous genres because much of the music was generated by machines as opposed to live instruments. While this was a source of aesthetic tension between traditional musicians and house DJs, it did give the house artists the ability to create music rapidly and independently from other artists.
House music developed in Chicago in the early 1980s. It didn’t begin to take off in New York until the opening of Paradise Garage. David Mancuso opened the venue because the gays and minorities he catered to were often harassed at mainstream clubs. One of the first DJs Mancuso hired was Larry Levan, who has been credited with not only developing house music in New York, but bringing together disparate groups like Blacks, Latinos and punk rockers, and introducing an environment designed strictly for dancing.
Paradise Garage gave many prominent house DJs their start including David Morales and Francois Kervorkian. Other house venues soon began showcasing major talent all around the city. Grammy winning producer Frankie Knuckles spun with Levan at Continental Baths, Warehouse, Sound Factory and went on to open his own venue, Power Plant. Junior Vasquez progressed from his initial residency at Bassline to found Sound Factory and have popular residencies at Tunnel, Palladium, Exit, Roxy, Twilo and Spirit. He still plays regular sets at at Cielo. Dozens of other artists developed house over the past two decades, including Todd Terry, Danny Tenaglia, DJ Lithium, Mateo & Mateos, Little Louie Vega, Kenny Dope Gonzales and Blue Six.
Although many devoted house fans maintain that house has faded from New York nightlife, there are still several venues supporting house and its artists every week. Venues like Club Love, Sullivan Room, Cielo, Pacha, Sin Sin, Marquee still bring people together on the dance floor. In addition, many mainstream artists have adopted the aesthetics of house and electronic music. Acts as diverse as Kanye West, Usher, Katy Perry and the Black Eyed Peas utilize the energy and technology that was once the province of house producers. While hip hop may have eclipsed house as the dominant music form in New York nightlife, the influence of the music still generates a strong following and crowds of dancers are waiting for you to join them tonight.
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
The Nightlife Report for July 14, 2010
Compiled by Gamal Hennessy
We hunt down the nightlife news so you don’t have to…
Operators are trying different tactics to lure patrons in as the bottle service business contracts. Speakeasies, hotel bars, rooftop bars, private clubs, beer halls, bowling, barber bars, burlesque shows, and brunch parties have all had a chance to make their mark. The owners of Culture Fix are combining a modern art gallery with a bar to try and create yet another unique location. Hopefully, I’ll understand the art more after I’ve had a few drinks.
Are We Done with Hotel Bars?
The nightlife venue inside a hotel isn’t a new concept and it’s not a concept that is unique to New York. However in recent years, it has become a more prominent element among a certain class of patron. Every property from the Maritime to the Gansevoort to the Empire to the Thompson to the Standard to the Jane will have long lines of people standing outside on weekends looking for a party, not a room. Scott Solish sees this segment of nightlife becoming more congested with competition and a more watered down form of nightlife. He also doesn’t see the trend getting better or ending any time soon.
The Village Voice Nightlife iPhone App
The owners of the counter culture newspaper are diving back into the iPhone app market with a free guide listing local concerts and events, sortable by date or neighborhood. The guide won’t be purely about nightlife, since it will import content from several different VV columns, but you can sift through a little clutter when the app is free.
Monday, July 12, 2010
By Gamal Hennessy
No other form of music illustrates the potential impact of nightlife culture more than hip hop. It has gone from humble beginnings in New York housing projects to dominating the popular music charts and influencing other industries and media worldwide. While there are various types of hip hop associated with different geographic regions (West Coast, Dirty South, UK, French, Asian, etc.) the movement began in New York nightlife and flourished into a universal phenomenon.
Rap music began in the Bronx, when the records played at house parties and block parties became individual performances infused with the personality of the people playing and introducing the records, instead of the basic radio practice of simply playing one record after another. The influence of West Indian celebrations, specifically dancehall toasting (chanting or talking over a steady beat) combined with R&B, disco, funk and soul to create a distinct new sound.
In the early 1980s, early pioneers like Grandmaster Flash, Grand Wizard Theodore and the Furious Five developed the techniques of scratching, cutting and mixing at uptown venues like Disco Fever. Afrika Bambatta and the Zulu Nation brought hip hop out of the Bronx and into mainstream venues like Danceteria and the Roxy. He was followed closely by other local acts including Run DMC and Kurtis Blow.
Music critics labeled hip hop as a passing fad, but DJs began to spin records in venues all over the city. By the late 80s, artists as divergent as Eric B, LL Cool J and the Beastie Boys began to create radio ready songs and paved the way for a golden age of hip hop that gave us Public Enemy, De La Soul, a Tribe Called Quest and the Notorious BIG.
Hip hop began to spread across the US and into other countries by the mid 1990s. It was at this point that the genre was fully embraced by the mainstream. Groups like the Wu Tang Clan translated their musical success into clothing brands, video games and films. Moguls like Jay-Z and Diddy used hip hop as a springboard to own record companies, nightclubs, sports franchises, film production studios, clothing lines and real estate ventures.
Today, hip hop is the default musical genre of nightlife. It dominates the Billboard charts and the video play lists. Many mainstream pop songs have guest appearances from major hip hop acts embedded in them. Patrons looking for mainstream hip hop can go anywhere from Santos Party House to Hudson Terrace. People looking for the old school classics can run to bOb Bar or Painkiller. Anyone looking for the next big New York talent can visit the open mic events at Pyramid Club or the Nuyorican Poets Café. You can find hip hop in every borough every night. All you have to do is look.
The irony of hip hop is that instead of being a passing fad, it has grown from its humble roots in New York nightlife to a level of influence that surpasses almost every other genre of modern music. It doesn’t simply impact culture in terms of music, fashion, dance and entertainment. It has become a significant contributor to our speech patterns, language and the image of modern America throughout the world. Figures like Jay-Z and Diddy are symbols of the potential of nightlife to move from a counterculture phenomenon to mainstream dominance.
Friday, July 9, 2010
Compiled by Gamal Hennessy
A summary of the struggles between nightlife operators and NIMBY residents across the city.
(Good Night Mr. Lewis)
Steven Lewis offers a detailed explanation of the bill that could curtail and suppress new and existing rooftop bars all over New York City.
(New York Times)
Several different operators are submitting plans to revive the historic Tavern on the Green space, but they are going to have to spend up to $30 million to get the place opened again. If they fail, Mayor Bloomberg plans to make the space into a retail shop, which sounds strangely similar to the fate that the Limelight submitted to earlier this year.
A recent community board study shows that one in three storefronts in the East Village serves liquor, but with 2010 New York real estate prices who else can afford to open there besides Chase, Duane Reade and Starbucks?
The owners of Buddha Bar might not be able to turn a 6,000 square foot space on Park Avenue South into an upscale lounge because when he says “I’m building a restaurant” the community board hears “I’m building a huge club.”
Lower East Side
NIMBY’s are banding their resources to fight a liquor license transfer of Soulgasm’s Sin Sin lounge.
Upper West Side
Residents in a $5 million dollar a unit condo haven’t been able to stop a wine bar from developing on Central Park West, but the residents are planning to take the case to court to prevent the venue from opening.
Wednesday, July 7, 2010
The Nightlife Report for July 7, 2010
Compiled by Gamal Hennessy
We hunt down the nightlife news so you don't have to.
Aria Wine Bar
Not to be confused with Ara Wine Bar in Meatpacking, this new date spot is run by and for women. You can hear the men lining up outside already…
Telephone Bar resurrects itself as an East Village sports bar.
(Urban Daddy) The Fashion District is the site of New York’s newest rooftop bar, but will it be the newest for more than two weeks?
Best of New York in the Summer of 2010
Three leading nightlife publications offer their choices for the best places to drink, dance and mingle during this heat wave…
New York’s Best Dance Parties
(New York Magazine)
Some of the best spots to shake what your mama gave you, cabaret laws be damned.
New York’s Best Rooftop bars
The best places to enjoy the best views of your city with a drink in each hand.
New York’s Best Beer Gardens
Don't get stuck in a bar drinking beer. Go outside and drink beer. It's much healthier for you that way...
Thursday, July 1, 2010
The Nightlife Report for July 1, 2010
Compiled by Gamal Hennessy
…we hunt down the nightlife news so you don’t have to…
4th of July Events
New York is going to have hundreds of events to kick off the summer and celebrate the long weekend, many of them centered on the West Side to put you in view of the fireworks. Here’s a sample of some of the more popular events…
The Collective is having its first 4th of July in the Meatpacking District.
There will be an open bar yacht on the Hudson to view the Fireworks
Westside rooftop bars like Highbar will have a good view of the festivities
and the Circle Line and World Yacht are throwing a party on Pier 81
A little further away from the fireworks, venues like Pacha, Webster Hall and Governors Island are throwing big dance parties
And Santos is throwing its annual White Heat Party downtown
Most of these events require advance ticket sales, so order now to avoid the embarrassing rejection at the door.
Zagat Nightlife 2011
When the first Zagat nightlife guide came out in 2000, there were no cocktail lounges and only transvestite hookers and butchers willingly went to the Meatpacking District. Ten years later, the latest Zagat guide is highlighting rooftop bars, up and coming Brooklyn neighborhoods and the rebirth of the Meatpacking District. You can pick up the latest copy of this guide today if you want to know where to go.
Nightlife Patron Survey
The new Zagat guide also shows a decline in patronage across the nightlife scene. Compared to 2000, we are going out less, drinking less and spending less now. Most of this is attributed to Wall Street’s collapse, but higher prices per drink, fallout from 9/11 and NIMBY infringement on the total number of venues probably also played a part. I’m going out as much as I can, but I can’t do it by myself. Come join me.
State Senator Daniel Squadron is once again pushing through legislation designed to kill nightlife in New York City. His latest bill would allow the SLA to revoke a liquor license for any venue that has six or more complaints against it in a 60 day period. Since NIMBY’s have been known to coordinate with each other on message boards to systematically target venues they do not like, it is easy to see how many popular spots could get six or more complaints against it in a week. This won’t mean much to you, until you show up at your favorite spot and it isn’t there anymore.