Art Basel Miami, the most talked-about art event of the year, is in full swing and all the usual suspects have turned up. At a party on Tuesday night hosted by the Times' T magazine and hotelier Andre Balazs, faithful scenesters like Calvin Klein, Takashi Murakami, Naomi Campbell, Rachel Zoe, Yvonne Force Villareal, Dasha Zhukova, and Ingrid Sischy all put in appearances. So how is it all going? It sort of depends who you ask! Judging by the breathless coverage on sites like Fashion Week Daily, all seems to be fine and well. It's "bigger than any recession-concerned naysayers could have predicted," reports Adam P. Schneider in a piece titled "The Best of Times." Over at Dasha's table, for example, the "important topic" on everyone's lips wasn't the recession; it was the "internet craze surrounding Shiba Inu puppies." Of course it was! Unfortunately, that cheerfulness escaped New York's Alexandra Peers, who reports that the fair itself had about half as many people as last year, and that everyone is still waiting for the gazillionaire buyers—like, say, Dasha's boyfriend, Roman Abramovich—to show their faces."Everyone is asking, where are the Russians?" Yes, Miami is very much empty at the moment, as we confirmed when we made a few phone calls this afternoon.
Last year, rooms at Miami's top hotels were fully booked months in advance. When we checked online earlier this week, we found plenty of availabilities. But we called again today, just to be sure, and things are just as bleak as they were a few days ago.
Rooms are Balazs' Raleigh, the center of the art world scene this week, are still available. A friendly reservations agent offered us a "city view room" this evening for $835. Over at the Delano, they offered us our choice of a city view for $795 or a view of the ocean for $895. And the restaurants aren't full either. We dialed up Michael's Genuine, one of the most popular spots in town at the moment, and they had tables for us at 5:30, 6:00, 6:30, or 10:00pm. Not exactly prime availability, but not a very good sign either. Enjoy the "best of times" and free champagne while it lasts!