Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Why the "city that never sleeps" may be putting us to bed.

It’s safe to say we have all grown a bit tired with New York nightlife. If I find myself one more time on the corner of 27th and 10th I may have to throw myself onto a moving taxi. Or at least, I would try. But they’re all at a stand-still.
First there was Bungalow. Then Marquee. Then Cain. But in the last year alone we’ve witnessed the birth of Home, Guesthouse, Bed and Stereo just to name a few. West Chelsea has turned into Mardi Gras—a drunken mess of tourists and wannabes.

Last week I found myself on the rare tour of the West Chelsea club circuit. I know, I know, but it was Fashion Week and some friends were in town and well, it just kinda happened. So when I got inside I desperately tried to search for something appealing. Familiar faces? No. Good DJ? Not really. Intimidatingly cool crowd? Absolutely not. So if all of New York’s “hottest” clubs completely fucking suck, what do people do for a good time in this town?

Now for me personally, I can have fun in a cardboard box. All I need is a stiff drink and a loaded iPod. But what about those people that need more direction? Who crave the scene? I mean honestly, where have all the club kids gone? And if you tell me fucking Encore, that’s it.

Though some will say, it’s Happy Valley. I happened to stumble in there last week for the after party of the Heatherette fashion show. Now, we’re all familiar with Richie Rich and his freakish little antics, but this crowd was a force to be reckoned with. I mean there were swings, and tutus and orange Mohawks. Not to mention, enough iridescent periwinkle eye shadow to paint the town purple. We did one lap and were out. “What the fuck was that all about?” we thought.

A week later I picked up the most recent issue of New York magazine only to find an album of images from that freakish night out. They were included in an article chronicling the return of Susanne Bartsch, the 55-year-old “underground iconoclast” whose 1980’s club promoting “cured New York of its post-disco hangover.” Like myself, she feels that “the state of nightlife today, it’s dismal! The clubs are soulless, dollar-driven. There is no energy.” So as a result, she has risen from her tomb of obscurity to host the Tuesday freak-fest at Happy Valley. But I honestly just didn’t get it.

So what does that make me? I am tragically cliché? Just bourgeois and bored? I hope not. Now, we may love our 80’s music, watch every John Hughes/Molly Ringwald marathon, and leggings have returned as this year’s True Religion jeans, but 80’s-style clubbing? Can our generation really hang? I mean, we were just wee little things back then. The raciest I got was mimicking the Thriller dance in front of the TV. Now I’m supposed to party like Susanne Bartsch? Or understand where she’s coming from with all this crazy masquerading? I don’t know about all of that.

The world has changed since then. We’ve had AIDS. We’ve had war. We’ve had hip-hop. And we’ve reacted to all of it. We’ve created a conformist society that we all—maybe reluctantly—are a part of. So does that make us boring? I guess. Or more maybe we’re just more realistic than we are voyeuristic. And personally, I think that’s a good thing. Now if I could just find myself I decent good time I’d be all set.

Final Word: Although truly decadent days may be behind us, that’s no reason to stop the party.

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