Chandon Brut Classic is a sparkling wine from California that tastes very good, costs $22, and comes in a red, white, and blue bottle that’s inspired by the idea of the American summer. The Dream Downtown is a hip New York hotel owned by my Indian alterego Vikram Chatwal that’s popular with celebrities, artists, and bon vivants of all stripes. Last night Chandon hosted a party at the Beach at the Dream Downtown, a funky day-and-nightclub by its second-floor swimming pool–to kick off a season of sun, fun, and bubbles. Naturally, the Chandon was flowing freely, both on its own–in white and rosé expressions–and in cocktails. I arrived early with my English friend Steve, and we plopped down on a cushioned bench by the pool and watched the scene unfold.
And what a scene it was. In addition to all manner of beachy decor and several bars serving Chandon, the organizers had gone through the trouble and expense of hiring models to personify the summer theme of the party. There were a couple of buff young guys wearing sailor outfits who looked like they could have just stepped out of an Old Navy commercial. There was a shirtless dude in red trunks batting around a beach ball and occasionally swimming in the pool. And there was a tall, blonde female model wearing a dress designed by Trina Turk and inspired by the Chandon American Summer bottle. DJ Hannah Bronfman kept the beats going with a summery mix of modern disco hits. Being a pool area, all the glassware was made of plastic, which didn’t bother me a bit. The weather was lovely and it was a pleasure to relax and take everything in.
One thing we couldn’t help but noticing was how many women were in attendance, and how few men. Of the men who were there, the vast majority appeared to be gay. And so we witnessed a parade of well-dressed, professional-looking women teetering on uncomfortable-looking heels and looking just a little bit nervous, their eyes darting around the party and eventually resting on the male models, who, at various points during the evening, were attempting to race miniature remote-controlled boats in the pool. Several of the boats took on water and began to sink before someone fished them out of the pool with a skimmer. It’s like a friend once told me about the joys of being a single straight guy in New York. "The best-looking women in the world are here looking for men," he explained. "And the best-looking men are here looking for each other."
This really didn’t affect Steve or me, we’re both accounted for, but we actually felt a whiff of sympathy for these ladies. Where were all the guys? I really don’t know. We hypothesized that the women in attendance simply outclassed most men their age. Better jobs, better apartments, better prospects in this new, information-based economy. It can be intimidating for a guy. In any case, my advice for any straight guys reading this is get yourself to New York, fix up, look sharp, and head to the Dream Hotel. I really like your chances.
We chatted with a few people, tasted the cocktails, sampled pretty much every one of the passed hors d’oeuvres (the mini crabcakes were the best), listened to music, caught up on old times, and stayed until they shut down the bars and ushered everybody out. It was 9:00 p.m. Time to go home.
Lest we forget what the whole thing was about, Chandon’s American Summer release is a fine sparkling wine for poolside sipping, and yet another reminder that you don’t need to wait until 11:59 p.m. on New Year’s Eve to pop a cork. Have a great American summer everybody.