Tuesday, March 28, 2006

The You-Know-What In The Room

I can’t remember the last time I went to a club. Boutique-y lounge, hotel bar, trendy restaurant, sure but your run of the mill two story club? I thought I outgrew those Grey Goose guzzling, Patron pounding, base bumping days. But perhaps I spoke too soon.

The new Pink Elephant, which moved from its Chelsea location to club central on 27th street between 10th and 11th, now rubs shoulders with the likes of Bungalow 8, Home and Cain and has become the latest hot spot destination.

Turns out my girlfriend was throwing her 23rd birthday party at the joint, so of course, I forwent my usual rule of ‘no clubs’, and went. We arrived at the scene around 2am to find 27th street more packed than ever.

Looking at the infestation of people surrounding the door at the Pink Elephant, I knew this wouldn’t be easy. But without thinking twice I dove in. After shoving my way to the front and earning my share of dirty looks and sleazy remarks, I found myself at the velvet rope face to face with a short, mean-looking doorman I discovered was named Adam, based on the myriads of hangers-on yelling “Adam, Adam!” as if they were his best friend. It’s funny how easily you can see why doormen choose their craft. Napoleon Complex much?

On any other night my pride would have been too humiliated and too degraded to be subject to such pitiful pleading to this sorry stranger but for some reason on this night I was determined to get in. So I stood there. And I stood there and stood there. Calmly and resolute, I stood there in hopes that he would eventually single me out from the rest of the peons to let me and my fabulous friends in.

Thankfully before my legs fell asleep, my friend’s brother-in-law who was throwing the party stormed out and spotted me. Before I knew it, we were whisked in, past the peons, past Adam the miniature doorman, past the coat check and cashier girls and into a fantasy world that calls itself the Pink Elephant.

It was packed. The only sight in the black room was bodies moving and grooving to base-jumping sounds of house. Catherine Malandrino tops and Paul Smith shirts rubbed one another to the booming beat while entertainers worthy of an Ali Baba’s menagerie roused the crowd. To my left a man on bongos drummed in perfect rhythm to the thumping thuds coming from the stereo. To the right a small older man enthusiastically doled out immense peacock feathers to any girl without one. And in the corner of my eye a woman in her late 30s shimmied topless in burlesque fashion wearing a full-on white headdress and multiple strands pearls draped over her chest. Where the hell am I? I wondered aloud.

It took nothing short of a miracle to find my friend’s table but once I did I was quickly handed a Belvedere-Cranberry and found myself on the banquette shaking my stuff. A smoke machine spewed an eerie fog while a strobe light brought me back to my pre-teen days at Tunnel and Sound Factory (yes that was a confession). But it was all surprisingly fitting in this mega-club.

Final Word: A breath of freshness from the Aers and other element-named venues, Pink Elephant combines old school style with modern day temptations. To Cain, this is Abel. To PM, this is morning. To Home, this is a Club. Welcome to the Pink Elephant. 27th Street between 10th and 11th Avenues.

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