Tucked between the second (lust) and third (greed) circles of hell lies 21st Street, which the Post is calling the new clubland. And it's true the massive hornet's nest of clubs in the area belches out Axe-wearing alpha males and glitter-bodied sad girls like an old factory chimney. What with Prey Bar and Lounge, Snitch's, Duvet and Aspen, the FlatIron has become the lowest point in the dirty bathroom floor of New York club life. The Post notes the District's clubs now have a capacity of 10,000. To put that in perspective that's about twice the entire freshman class of NYU crammed into the space of a few blocks. (Eww!) And what, Prey tell, do you imagine might be the outcome of such a glut of revelers? Bonhomie? Fraternit ? Esprit De Corps? Nope. Murder, Mayhem, Marauding.
The newly opened West 55th Street restaurant Amalia recently unveiled its downstairs lounge, D'Or, a cavernous stab at downtown cool. Let's visit the upstairs first. Owned by Vikram Chakral of the OTT Dream Hotel and Greg Brier, Amalia is glorious midtown chic, an 8,000 square-foot hyperbolic dining "experience" complete with a portrait gallery (with framed paintings on the ceiling—CEILING!) and a black chandelier (black!).
Hollywood club attendance monitor TMZ.com has boldly supplemented its exclusive video coverage of Hyde's velvet rope-protected front door with the groundbreaking monitoring of its tragically underwatched rear egress, a secret exit so "ultra-exclusive" that only the town's biggest names are allowed to partake of its paparazzi-bypassing luxury. This increased effort to cover all access points to the establishment paid immediate dividends last night, as TMZ's cameraman caught a visibly ashamed Warren Beatty (those intermittent flashbulbs truly capture his embarassment) trying to discreetly flee the B-lister-infested glory-hole with which he'd rather not be associated. Now that Hyde's Passage of Shame has been compromised, its owners will be forced to come up with new ways to smuggle out its publicity-averse clientele, perhaps by constructing a series of underground tunnels that allow patrons to emerge from more respectable nearby venues, like the Sunset 5 arthouse theater, allowing slumming stars to avoid such humiliating incidents in the future.
Our admittedly limited exposure to the private clubs of our fair city has thus far been an exercise in douchebaggery. The pool at Soho House (which, let's face it, is the reason you join), when not filled with children and their pee, is filled with money managers, mortgage brokers, and Eurotrash; the National Arts Club average member age hovers somewhere between 75 and 77; the various university clubs we've visited have all been too boring for words. So the news that 29-year-old developer Ben Shaoul bought an $8 million townhouse with the hopes of turning it into a branch of the "Citizens Arts Club" (there's already one in London) didn't really excite us. What's more interesting is that Shaoul bought out-slash-evicted a bunch of artist squatters from a building he bought at St. Marks and Ave. A last April. Wonder if he'll be offering them memberships in his new club?
We hardly need to tell you where to obtain your coke: Ever since the passage of the Los Angeles Cocaine Legalization Act of 2004, Hollywood's preferred social lubricant has been readily available at every Starbucks, Ralphs, and CostCo (at deep bulk discounts) in the city. However, we recognize that sometimes you'd like a little company when blowing rails, for while cutting up a couple of lines by yourself and settling in for a night of The Jeffersons reruns has its own rewards, there's really no substitute for crowding into a bathroom stall and enjoying the unique camaraderie of communing with strangers over a shared eight-ball. For those nights when you're craving some companionship, we point you to Gridskipper's guide to the local bars where you might find a new friend with whom to shovel some snow with a tiny spoon. An excerpt:
We've pondered its enduring appeal before but we think we've finally solved the mystery of Chelsea twatspot Marquee: It turns out to be Ground Zero for some of the most significant events of this young century. After the jump, the good people who flack for the club remind us why Marquee has made a lasting contribution to the city's - nay, the world's - social and cultural well-being. [Sic] rule in effect.
While they've always been the most faithful chronicler of the goings on outside of Hyde, the local establishment which currently plays host to Hollywood's peripatetic high school cafeteria, today TMZ.com seems particularly obsessed with documenting the action unfolding in the vicinity of the venue's front door, having already put up four Hyde-related posts by noon. A round-up of things
that the site's omnipresent camera picked up last night:
• Eminem in whiteface. Someone, somewhere, is rolling in some grave, or something. [DealBreaker]
• TIME reporter claims magazine didn't touch Karr story. Claim eerily matches reality of Karr claim he touched JonBenet Ramsey. YEAH, WE'RE STILL DOING THIS. [Think Progress]
• Wired reviews Pitchfork Media. Gives it a 7.030032. Basically good, but a little bit derivative of [obscure reference], like some kind of [overwrought metaphor that doesn't actually make sense when you think about it for even two seconds]. [Wired]
• A CNN reporter has a private conversation in the bathroom while wearing a hot mic during President Bush's memorial Hurricane Katrina address. Embarrassing? Yes. Was anyone watching President Bush's memorial Hurricane Katrina address? No. [Wonkette]
•: Important Update on Bravest Actress of All Time: Natalie Portman is definitely doing something courageous, coyly seductive, and thoroughly Jewish, we're just not sure where. [One Park Avenue Reality]
• Maybe forcing millions of drunk people to interact in the same small corner at the edge of the city wasn't such a good idea after all. [VV]
• Union Square still has street cred. Where else can you enjoy Thai chili lime peanuts, free Ben & Jerry's milkshakes, and heroin? [ANIMAL]
Fox 411's Roger Friedman must have been too engrossed by shadowing Lindsay Lohan and waiting for her to pick up the bottle of water he needed to complete his anecdote about the actress's reformed, post-dehydration ways at Hyde on Monday night, or was otherwise too mesmerized by the scent of freshly baked cookies to notice the antics of Nicole Richie, who according to the NY Observer's Daily Transom blog, was putting on quite the Young Hollywood triple-threat performance of table dancing, genital-to-genital grinding, and public regurgitation in the very same, tiny celebrity clubhouse:
In an item that was seemingly paid for by the Joint Council on Rehabilitating Lindsay Lohan's Image and Making the Tightest Celebrity Glory Hole in Hollywood Seem as Wholesome as a Mormon Daycare Center, Fox 411's Roger Friedman ventures deep into the darkest recesses of Hyde, the currently most-favored, velvet-roped walk-in closet of local scenesters. And what he finds there will shock you to the core:
Imagine a place so tiny and densely packed with scene-whores, celebrities, and assorted industry VIP types that not even light (or an agent who's suddenly run out of coke and needs to call his connection before the mactress he's keeping high gets tired of him) can escape. If you can picture such a black hole of pure Hollywood clusterfuckery, you have a pretty good handle on the scene at Hyde. Because we know there is little in this world more satisfying than knowing who you weren't hanging out with last night behind the velvet rope, enjoy these reports of who turned up at Hyde last night, according to a pair of operatives:
The bit of loveliness you see here comes from the Post's Pulitzer-baiting examination of the bridge and tunnel crowd. (Your takeaway: Clubs like them because they spend a lot of money; being Italian-Americans, they tend to be too stupid to read the bill.) The chart above would seem to be a gratuitous swipe at merely two of the elements that make our city so objectionable, but even so, forcing us too choose between Princess Coldstare and The Crappo del Tutti Crappy is shockingly unfair. Can't we call it a draw?
Things at the Roosevelt have seemed eerily quiet since management cast out erstwhile Queen of Hollywood Nightlife Amanda Scheer Demme from the celebrity-fellating Eden she'd lovingly established on their premises, but today's Page Six reports that the hotel may have recaptured a little bit of its former velvet rope magic this weekend:
We've been unexpectedly graced with two reports of last night's opening party for nightlife impresario Rande "I'm Married To Cindy Crawford" Gerber's new celebrity-strewn watering hole at the Sofitel, the Stone Rose. Before we even get to obligatory B- and C-list roll call, let us tease you with this snippet of Actual, Unironic Hollywood Conversation overheard by one of our operatives: