How did I end up throwing an illegal rave on my birthday? It’s really simple. The restaurant has closed and it is impossible to find a place downtown to bring a group of forty on a weekend night without paying thousands of dollars for a takeover. (I pledge annually to be rich next Christmas, so stay tuned for next year!) Plus, there were enough DJs with equipment (some borrowed from a local establishment) and a site show, so…
There was inline skating, angry neighbors, and 311 calls, but in the end, no one who saw anything said anything. Guests and strangers who wandered in, which I greatly appreciated, and the party went in later in the morning than wanted my eyeliner – a rare victory given the not-so-secret location. DIY has always been a response to what’s lacking in an established nightlife. In Brooklyn, there is much more room and tolerance for this kind of behavior. I went to a party last month at a warehouse I’d frequented five years ago, and had almost forgotten how easy it was with less housing. (He used to have that kind of shipping container, if you remember… like Bushwick Le Bain, too HBO’s girls.) In Manhattan, between places locked up for various reasons—expensive new developments, climbing rent prices, grumpy people trying to sleep—and the precarious nature of the current DIY nightlife is being put anywhere we can find it. When a club closes, where do its kids go?
The Downtown DIY took a hit when the city announced that it needed to “lift” East River Park. “Um…” everyone said, before finding out it was caused by climate change and the park’s waterfront framework. It was the biggest casualty in the ongoing construction chaos, of course East River Park Amphitheater. This sacred space has been home to many memorable illicit gatherings. It brought a spontaneous, accessible DIY feel and parties where the DJs would carry their equipment down the park and keep playing after the cops arrived. Maybe it’s a combination of losing that space and losing some level of necessity… Was this DIY moment simply the answer to the aftermath of lockdown?
If so, the places will become more lively. The hole that Chalet China left in the hearts of lower Manhattans after its 2020 closure will never be repaired, though. For the perfect party, Club Glam has found a new home for FiDi, and even recently ventured to Midtown. Max Fish on the Lower East Side closed, as did Beverly’s, which provided a lost balance to its dark and noisy next-door neighbor, Clockwork. Party girls might argue that its closure contributed greatly to the flooding of the now submerged Clandestino. In the not-so-massive club scene, owners of the Flower Shop and Little Ways, Dylan Hales and Ronnie Flynn, opened Loosie’s, answering the constant question, “Where can we go dancing?” They’ve retooled the Moxy’s basement space to create a proper club, complete with servers tossing bottles in the air, and with a proper dance floor: a shockingly rare feature downtown.
Early next year, Jane’s Hotel Club, one of the aforementioned dance floors, is set to change management. This hotel housed actual survivors of the Titanic in 1912, but the real history lies in its beginnings Stars full of celebrities which caused it to close briefly in 2009 due to discontent with its West Village neighbours. Imagine you look out your window and see Mary-Kate Olsen and Kirsten Dunst smoking cigarettes…and decide to call the cops. anti-party Jane Street Neighbors United It was the same coalition that raided and shut down Paul Sevigny’s Beatrice Inn that year, leading to the Cooper Square Hotel’s famous “Free the Beatrice” party, proving that the best effort to save one party is to have another. Even clubs within the establishment struggle to stay out of trouble…
So who is the new owner and what will happen to this precious space? she was announce In February, Jeff Klein, former owner of Midtown’s now-shuttered Monkey Bar at the Elysee Hotel, is set to open a New York location for his Los Angeles-based social club, San Vicente Bungalows. Maybe I’m too excited about it groan, He also promises that “money is not important” (except for the $1,800-a-year membership fee) and to cater to creative types like “independent and documentary filmmakers,” but do we need another social club that everyone hates but has a pathological desire to get in?
It feels a little awkward to say, but wait…is DIY its own kind of social club? The general public does not necessarily have access; You have to know someone on the inside to know that, or at least walk into the right place at the right time. In this way it provides exclusivity and creates mystery for those who want to enter the outside. DIY is essential in the ways it differs from established clubs. It attracts a crowd that is bad at buying tickets for things in advance, or simply doesn’t feel like paying. It’s self-sustaining, central to New York nightlife, and gives a middle finger to establishment and capitalism, which are an essential part of the game. There’s an excitement at the prospect of getting into trouble that a record club can’t supply, even as it tries to imitate. It’s no fun going to a party under the K Bridge when you’re at a place called “Under the K Bridge” with a $40 ticket.
In a positive light, closed spaces and restrictions imposed by anti-pleasure authorities require more creativity in finding new spaces. A few weeks ago, I ran into my deck to FiDi to see my boyfriend playing techno hard in the back of an old Irish dive bar with craft store Halloween decorations and elderly bar staff. The magazine party I attended was in a huge ground-floor apartment in the West Village, with no floors above it somehow. In the event of an emergency, there is likely to be a restaurant in Little Italy willing to open their dining room after hours after the tourist. There are thousands of empty commercial spaces near Battery Park City, and fancy lofts waiting to have a blast party when the owners are cool with it, or ski away in Aspen, or something. We may not feel like there’s always room, but we take the place we have, and hope that when the club closes, God opens up a better place an Uber ride away.