Thanks, I Needed That

Thanksgiving gave me a needed break from the hustle, bustle, and daily grind. I used it well, mostly bundled under covers with old westerns on the tube. Friends from afar scurried in and then out, comets of nostalgic love. Friends went back home to visit, only to return just as I began to ache to see them again. We will all reunite tonight for bingo at Bowery Poetry, which is more fun than a barrel of monkeys. I have so much to be thankful for. Foremost, a great dinner among family, followed by another with friends and my Amanda. I am thankful that it still feels right to write every day, and for all the BlackBookies that make it possible to seem literate. I am thankful for those tone-deaf and misinformed moguls and tastemakers who allow me to DJ once in a while. I’ll be doing it, doing it, and doing it well at the Chelsea Room Wednesday night for the APM holiday party. I am very thankful for those who placed their trust in me this year by allowing me and Marc Dizon to design their joints. I am so pleased to see APL chef Camille Becera’s restaurant thisclose from opening. I love the way it turned out. When you dream a place in your mind, and through the hard work of many people, it comes to be – that is a feeling to be thankful for. This 146 Orchard Street space couldn’t catch a break, as landlords and agencies and all the furies combined to prevent it from happening. I stopped in late Saturday night to see what you will soon see, and I was very proud of it. It is one of the most forward design concepts we have attempted.

I am also pleased and thankful to see Snap, the sports bar we designed on 14th and 8th, hitting a home run every night. Leonardo DiCaprio caught the fight there last week, and the crowd is always solid. “There’s always something on,” replied co-owner Justin Mcmanus when I asked about games continuing to bring the crowds. Not being a sports aficionado, I took him for his word. On Friday night there were multiple events on the multiple TVs, and different groups huddled around the banquettes and tables to watch. Cheers came in wave as players scored points, or goals, and other sports things happened. I like.

I went next door to The Darby to see the swells arrive for tastings. The patrons seemed to be enjoying the food, the stage show, and the ambiance. Until the public actually occupies a space, kicks the tires, and takes it for a drive, it’s all only theory. Only ego or arrogance prevents a designer from looking at what he has done and seeing what isn’t working. Darby is working real well. The minor tune-ups that will make it purr like a performance roadster will be done in a few moments. I think Darby is a dining experience breakthrough, and I told co-owner Richie Akiva just that as we watched the stage show on Friday. This is a very different concept than the other joints around town. You half expect to see Humphrey Bogart in a white tuxedo jacket with a babe on his arm. Darby caters to a crowd that has grown up seeing it all and wanting something new, and yet mature. I am thankful to see this place near complete. It reminds me of that old Air France Concord advertisement that hovered over the Midtown Tunnel exit. “Concorde, For Those Who Have Already Arrived.” Darby is for the set that is all set.

Capri nightclub in Bay Ridge was all over Channel 1 this weekend, and it was fabulous to see people enjoying and celebrating it. For decades this spot has entertained the local bridge and tunnel crowd, who are often welcome in Manhattan but do like a place closer to home. Capri’s renovation proves that effort and vision can once again revitalize a space that has grown weary. The place is packed with a nice crowd. I am thankful my redesign is being appreciated. One of the owners said to the reporter that they will likely renovate again in six or seven years. I’m volunteering now.

Eddie Dean called me to thank me in advance for attending the Pacha 5 Year Anniversary Week (plus a bit longer) Celebration. Starting this Friday, December 3rd with DJ David Guetta, 5 great events will underline the importance of this city’s only international dance presence. Saturday, December 4th, Kaskade will appear. Next Friday, December 10th, it’s DJ Luciano, and that following Saturday it’s Erick Morillo and Fedde le Grand. I love that name, Fedde le Grand. It sounds like a fabulous character from a Warner Brothers cartoon. That’s a joke but Fedde isn’t. This Dutch-born DJ/producer has worked with everyone, and produced such well received tracks a s Put Your Hands Up for Detroit, Let Me Think About It, and tons more. The Pacha party closes that following Sunday night with Danny Tenaglia Classics.

We need to be thankful for Pacha. It was the focus of a massive effort to shutter it after small amounts of drugs were purchased there. In court it became apparent that some of the drug buys were actually orchestrated by undercover cops who told dealers to meet them there for exchanges. It was proven that Pacha had done more than humanly possible to prevent drug use or sales. Thankfully, cooler heads prevailed and this important international cultural icon continues to thrive. Pacha has its friends and detractors. Nightlife scenesters sometimes complain that the door policy is too “democratic” for their refined tastes. Large dance clubs of my checkered past are sometimes cited. It’s almost 2011 and comparing that to this is unfair. The so called “A” crowd has found nirvana huddling in smaller places, listening to familiar tracks spit out of lap tops by ex-model DJs. And it’s all good, but house music in its purist progressive form can rarely be found in any place other than joints that can afford the international circuit DJ. The troubles that these mega joints get from the powers that be often result in closure, or big fines or legal fees. Santos’ Party House remains clouded in mystery, with secret knocks and rumors possibly indicating a bad finish. Hopefully, something will be done to prevent this travesty. I hear we will know more this Thursday.

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