A Big Mess at GoldBar Last Night, Big Parties at the Soho Grand, Le Bain Tonight

I had the most fun at GoldBar last night. The Monday night party "BIG Mess" was actually not. Mino Habib is the host with the most at this chic soiree. Momus, Frank Olivo and Michael Christopher provide the music. It’s just a hop, skip, and a jump from Ken & Cook, which looked wonderful last night as I passed it in a cab. The two adult sexy hot spots so near makes for a reason to be cheerful on a summer Monday night. I’ll be at Susanne Bartsch’s party tonight DJing for the in crowd at the Soho Grand. It’s early, 9pm, and then everyone swarms over to her On Top weekly (pictured) at Le Bain.

There is so much going on these days. One of the best (most fun) parties I have been to in recent years is Wednesdays at DL (Ludlow and Delancey). The second floor Dorian Gray weekly stars Kayvon Zand and his fellow creatures of the night. Kayvon DJ’s with Anna Evans and Xris SMack and it is insanely beautiful, eclectic fun. This week Icona Pop is casting for their new video. The roof is headed up by DJ Prince Terrance and The House of Fields crew. This group is a younger, more mixed version of the fashion, gay/straight, hip crowd. The two scenes mingle and flirt and out dress each other and it’s all grand. I can’t recommend a more brilliant evening.

For me it’s deja vu all over again. As one door opens up to the fabulous, alas another must close, as in Max Fish actually, really, I swear closing. The usual reasons … rent going sky-high in a neighborhood that got its cool from places like Max Fish and St. Jerome’s and Motor City, which soared with cool while the streets were deserted. Nowadays a fratboy and gal nightlife mall scares the rats and the cool kids away.

[Related: BlackBook New York Guide; Listings for GoldBar, Ken & Cook, Soho Grand, Le Bain, DL; Susanne Bartsch’s On Top party; Follow Steve Lewis on Twitter]

Tao Team Opens Arlington Club, Hotel Chantelle is Starting Rumors…

Typically, the period between Labor Day and Halloween is slow in the club world. People are paying down credit card debt accumulated in a summer of WHEEE! Things like the Jewish holidays, flu season, back-to-school, and a dearth of tourists add to the red ink. The change of weather and the loss of daylight as we wind down to the Winter Solstice near Christmas are all negative factors. The season theoretically begins in earnest on Halloween. Sandy literally put a damp on those concepts, but building for an inevitable future is happening all around.

On a small renovation job, an electrician told me that getting even the most commonplace electrical supplies is becoming problematic as the post-Sandy rebuild is taking everything. I can only imagine what getting permits and inspections will be like from an over-tasked buildings department. Still, I hear of a Frank Roberts’ "mostly-a-restaurant project down in lower Little Italy.” I hear of a redux of GoldBar. Marquee nightclub, for a decade the "in" spot for the going-out crowd, is in renovations that will bring it up to speed with its Las Vegas incarnation.

Meanwhile, that Tao team is inviting peeps to the Thursday opening of their Arlington Club on Lexington between 73 and 74th Street.  St. Jerome’s has, of course, been sold to The Bowery Electric crew. That has left the St. Jerome’s "crowd" looking for a new home, and Hotel Chantelle grabbing for that gusto. Chantelle started its weekly Tuesday  “Rumors” party last night, going forward with famously ex-ex-St. Jerome’s honcho DJ Luc Carl joining DJ Ian El Dorado.

There’s all sorts of things happening over at Bantam where absolutely nothing to speak of has been happening. A re-thinking is occurring. Construction at EVR on 39th street between 5th and 6th is almost over – or is that ovr? I was there the other day checking out the progress and was very impressed.

On a final note: Friday I will be DJing the late set over at The Hanky Panky Club, up the side entrance of Webster Hall. It is a Sandy-related benefit called “Rock-N-Rebuild.” Acts/bands like Hits, Roma, Wild Yaks, The Netherlands, Outernational, and Kendra Morris will interrupt sets by Djs iDeath, Gavin Russom and, thankfully, Steve Lewis er …me. This shindig starts at 8pm. It’s hosted by man-about-town Terry Casey and the lovely Flutura Bardhi. Please help where you can. While people are ordering $1000 bottles of booze, many are still without basic necessities.

Around The World: Valentine’s Day Parties I Can’t Get To

My Facebook page and inboxes are over flowing with Valentine’s Day invites. Susanne Bartsch and Patricia Fields Valentines Day Ball at Marquee is undeniable. If I were in Miami (a rarity) I would surely take Ivan Wilzig up on his offer to attend Valentine’s Day at the World Erotic Art Museum. If I was landed in Bangkok ( a name I always have trouble saying) I’d RSVP to Daryl Scott and go to UB Radio and Bash present Unlucky in Love at Bash. If I found myself in Paris, Frederic Agostini and I would toast ourselves at Slap-Valentine’s Edition with Feadz/Manare/Noahey Green at Wanderlust. If I found myself in quaint San Francisco, I’d do anything to attend Joey Arias’ with Veronica Klaus’ Valentine Day Concert at the Castro Theatre. If I were swept out to Baldwin, Long Island, I surely would be interested in hanging with Todd Shapiro and the VH1 Mob Wives Star Ramona Rizzo at the Coral House.

Alas, fate has me here, and I will probably go to Nick Andreottola’s shindig Champagning at GoldBar. Devorah Rose is having a Valentine’s Day Massacre gala at RSVP but I have never RSVP’d for an event at RSVP before and although I worship Devorah it probably will stay that way.

Another clever gal Natasha Adonzio is having her own unrelated Valentine’s Day Massacre. It’s a fashion show of her very rock and roll clothes. Rock legend Donna Destri will join models Miz Katastrophe, Extasy Micheals, Bonnie Elizabeth, Latoya Muneca, Shannon Fatale, Tiffany Johnson, Laurel Aslaksen, Grace Telephone, Anna Pine, Brittney Haren, Barbie Dematel, Eliane Luduvino, Kortlynd, Glamour Jessica, and Bethany Mae. It’s going to be hot. The show is at the Parkside Lounge, Thursday night at 10pm. There’s a bunch of bands as well, including Krebs & The Maynard G’s, King Bee & The Stingers, Puma Perl, The Rewd Onez, Charm School, and The Bowery Boys. I am no longer doing my rock night at Hotel Chantelle so I will be in attendance and probably in heaven.

Now, back in the day a friend of mine named Jillian Black died of an overdose of heroin on her second try at the junk. I was livid and obsessed. At that time, St. Marks and the surrounding streets were places where dealers set up shop. I decided to support the newish local business with a series of huge events to support them and drive the dealers elsewhere. Natasha Adonzio had a store on St. Marks across from the still-relevant Trash and Vaudeville near Enz’s , Manic Panic, and many others. I threw the "East Village Look," a fashion show at Danceteria with over 20 designers. It made all the papers and my nightlife career began. I had thrown Dee Dee Ramone’s birthday party at Max’s Kansas City prior to this event, but this party got me hooked on nightlife as a career. 

Natasha was the first person to say yes to me. All the other designers came on board because she legitimized me. Thousands came and everybody who owned a club wanted me to do events with them. I am one who rarely forgets a disservice and always remembers a favor. Natasha Adonzio is fabulous and I cannot wait to see her  show and hang at her party.

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Last Night: Rosewood Was Slamming, Spotted Leo DiCaprio & Amanda Bynes

So last night I had a blast. It was a bit of a pleasant surprise how great the opening of Rosewood, 5 E. 19th St., turned out to be. The space Rosewood occupied was once many clubs run by many operators. In my opinion, none of those joints were any good. Dorsia, some people said, had its moments, but none while I was there, which I admit was rare. The redux of the space into Rosewood seems to be on the cheap but that often doesn’t matter as long as it’s comfortable, the flow is good ,and the overall feeling is positive. I had heard that Leo…yeah “that” Leo, was there at the "friends and family" event a few days before, and that last night other boldface names were expected. From my perspective in the DJ booth, I saw beautiful people committed to a good time, and one semi-celeb: the much-talked-about Amanda Bynes. As far as I could tell, she was behaving marvelously. Noah Tepperberg once introduced me to her at Marquee many years ago, and she was all smiles and sweetness. I like to think of her that way and try to dispel reports of her "Lohanisms.”

The rock-themed den had Kelle Calco following me. His following is so hot that I was left shocked and awed and honored to make them sway. They seemed to enjoy my rock and roll tip. Upstairs, DJ Danny Rockz put the well-heeled crowd into a frenzy. He was like a rockstar with most of the crowd, dancing while facing the DJ booth as he put on a show. The room was illuminated by the requisite sparklers announcing the presence of the sweet set. Rosewood was slamming last night and I congratulate all involved.
After my DJ set, I headed to Hotel Chantelle to congratulate the wonderful Luc Carl at his birthday party. Luc is the real deal. He was humble about the event which also had a rock theme, with DJ Ian El Dorado offering rock anthems and crowd pleasers. Tommy London, one of the night’s hosts, handed me a flier for his Bowery Ballroom Dirty Pearls gig on January 4th, 2013. That is the first event in the next year that I have been invited to. It’s kind of eerie. The Pearls are heading off on their first-ever national tour and it couldn’t happen to nicer guys. We scooted off to The Famous Cozy Soup ‘n’ Burger on Broadway off Astor for a late-night burger and coffee malted. OMG I shouldn’t have; it was amazing and I want more but must maintain my figure. Cozy was slammed with familiar faces and eclectic strangers. It reminds me of Kiev, back in the day. Great food and a New York downtown crowd winding down after all the bells and whistles of the infinite night.

Sunday is Funday again at the re-tooled Goldbar. Jonny Lennon, a rocker from Queens, is at the helm of this weekly must-visit. Jonny and I are getting bro tattoos soon. It’s like that.

Good Night Mr. Lewis: R.I.P. Gary Stewart; Bijou Altamirano Talks Art & Music

Once again, Facebook is the bearer of bad news. Pal Bill Jarema alerted me to the passing of legendary sound engineer/artist Gary Stewart. The club world is as shocked by his death as it was awed by his sound systems. People spoke of his great ears and gigantic heart. Bill Jarema, ex-Studio 54 honcho, offered "imagine any of the great nightlife venues without sound and you will realize quickly how much Gary will be missed." Superstar House DJ Frankie Knuckles posted "It’s a sad day when someone so special passes on. Gary was a friend and a great engineer. On many occasion he made me sound so good. I will always love you, Gary. Thank you for being my friend."  Hundreds of people have weighed in so far but as the news spreads it will be thousands. Gary was a global presence. The club world, the scene, and the planet have lost a gentleman. I’ll put forth that a client list is worth a thousand words. Here is a list of his clients from the GSA website: 

ZOUK Nightclub (Singapore), Ministry of Sound (England), Sound Factory (NYC), Discotheque (NYC), Vinyl (NYC), System (NYC), Fitzcarraldo (Florence, Italy), Love (NYC), Sound Planet (Ukraine), David Morales (NYC), Centro Fly (NYC), Chaos (NYC), Flying Point (South Hampton, NY), Gaiety (NYC), Halcyon (Brooklyn, NY), Hearthrob (NYC), Liquid (Miami Beach, FL), Liquid (West Palm Beach, FL), Lot 61 (NYC), Melting Pot (NYC), Nells (NYC), Ohm (NYC), Palladium/Arena (NY), Paradox (Baltimore, MD), Pearl WP (NYC), Roxy (NYC), Sound Factory (NYC), Space @ FP (South Hampton, NY), Spectrum (Brooklyn, NY), Swamp (East Hampton, NY), Vinyl/Shelter/Body & Soul (NYC), Eric Morillo /Subliminal Records (New Jersey), Bar Room ) Miami Beach, FL), Balthazar (NYC), Candle Bar (NYC), Eagle (NYC), Eugene’s (NYC), Lucky Strike (NYC), Odeon (NYC), Pravda (NYC), The Break (NYC), Splash Bar (NYC), The Swamp (East Hampton, NY), Tiki Room (NYC), Works (NYC), Water Taxi Beach (Long Island City, NY), Danny Tenaglia Loft (Long Island City NY), Velvet Underground (Singapore), Attica (Shanghai), Phuture (Singapore), Minx (Shanghai).

While I am writing this I am listening to the beautiful music Gary provided on his GSA website. I am mesmerized by Dennis Ferrer and Jerome Sydenham’s track "Soundcastles," which offers the lyrics "I will live for loving you". I’ll let that serve as an amen. R.I.P. Gary Stewart.

Tomorrow night while I spin for true-to-their-school rock and rollers at Hotel Chantelle there will be an event at the Adidas store 136 Wooster Street that I should be at. Ben Soloman and Nicholas Atkins present "HERE WE GO AGAIN," a visual history of the past 3 decades of New York City. It’s a celebration as well of 10 years of Adidas Original’s Shoe Store. Clayton Patterson, who’s been locked up more often than Lindsay Lohan in his pursuit of the truth of the streets and people of this town, is the bold face name here. He will be joined by one of my favorite artists/people Bijoux Altamirano. Also on the bill are Arab Parrot, Cheryl Dunn, Mordechai Rubenstein, Guess, Daniel B. Levin, Julia Willoughby Nason, Shadi, Angela Boatwright, and many more. Films by Clayton and Elsa Rensa, TVTV and many more will be shown. DJ Stretch Armstrong will surely be perfect for this event. It’s invite-only so start your wrangling, finagling, and begging now.

Bijoux Altamirano is one of those New Yorkers pursuing an artistic career and supporting herself with a billion jobs. Nightlife supports the up and comers, the artists, the gifted. It’s what separates us from Peoria. Bijoux, a sometimes starving artist, was a mainstay of Kembra Phalers Voluptuous Horror of Karen Black, she bartended at Lit and Santos and other inappropriate places. She was recently at the door of Westway and Goldbar and has been a bottle service girl to pay for her inspirations. She has pieces and bits in shows all over town and Erik Foss took one of hers to a show he curated in Mexico City. She weighed in: <

"I’ve been supporting myself through that and my artwork- music videos and photo. I directed a video last year which was the official music video for FIFA 2011 Women’s World Cup soccer featuring pop artist Alexis Jordan and her hit song "Happiness" which aired on ESPN in the US and Europe. I also did a video for Maluca ‘Lola’  (whom I met working at Santos) which aired on Tr3s and a bunch of other Latin music stations…. I also did a video for my boyfriend Prince Terrence’s band Hussle Club ‘quaranteenagers’ which was sponsored by Scion A/V and aired on MTV2, And I shot a rap video in Westway actually and also  did some corporate jobs, in-house videos for Bank of America. And just basically also focusing a lot on my photo work…. I’ve kind of worked at so many clubs with so many people it’s hard for me to remember a lot of it. I turned down $200 from 2 drunk guys trying to get in recently and I’m really regretting it right now. LOL."

I asked her what she was going to be when she grew up and she offered "What am I going to be when I grow up?  Well, I’m 29 now, so I’m pretty sure that means I’m officially grown up. But when I’m happy with my grown up-ishness I’ll be doing my artwork (photo, video) full-time and solely supporting myself from that. You can check out my work on my website http://www.bijouxaltamirano.com/,and my some other of my photo work on my tumblr http://bijouxaltamirano.tumblr.com/"

I cannot believe I won’t make this party as it will represent all that many people claim isn’t here anymore. The last 3 weeks have been a whirlwind of events and adventures. Anyone who claims nightlife is boring is a bore. 

Jamie Mulholland Teases His Return to New York

If you find the weather outside frightful and are seeking a destination that’s delightful, I have an idea. Book yourself a trip to the Bahamas and join the Cain at the Cove 4th Anniversary Party, next Saturday, November 12th. DJ Cassidy will join Stan Courtois from Paris, and the jet-set and Cain flock will be in full force. It could be déjà-vu, all over again. Cain was a legendary club anchoring a West Chelsea gathering of joints that included Bungalow 8, Marquee, and Pink Elephant. Owner Jamie Mulholland has been a little low on the NYC radar compared to then, but his Goldbar, anchored by its smashing Sunday Funday party and man-about-town Jon Lennon, still thrives. His Surf Lodge has just enjoyed its biggest season yet. News comes that something new is in the works, and I asked Jamie all about it, and the anniversary.

Tell me about what you are up to, your lifestyle, and business development? After taking a bit of a hiatus from opening anything new to enjoy my son and family, I have aggressively been looking with Conquest Advisors to open my new concept in New York. I have been refining the concept over four years and feel it is now the right time to do it. I have been spending a lot of time in the Bahamas at Cain at The Cove Atlantis, The Surf Lodge in Montauk, and also Goldbar in New York.

You seem to have chosen surf over turf. Is the life better for you with not so much of a presence in NYC? Ha! No, not really, mate. I am ready to do this new concept and have been working hard at assembling a strong team.

Tell me about the anniversary party. We are celebrating four great years in the Bahamas. We have a great line-up planned on the island for the weekend, including DJs Cassidy, Stan Courtois, and Frank Delour. I am looking forward to celebrating with all our friends that have been supporting us for the last four years.

Talk to me about Goldbar. I am really proud of GoldBar. It has a loyal following that has been with us consistently for four years. A lot of the credit is due to the incredibly warm staff, it is very much like a family. Jonny Lennon has worked hard at the music format and programming, and it is big reason why this venue has had such stamina. I love the venue and think it remains one of the most fun rooms in New York.

In Casablanca, it is said that the fundamental things apply as time goes by. What are the fundamentals in hospitality, and do they always apply, or is change itself fundamental to the biz? Well the business is always evolving, and there are certain things that are always taking different strategic paths, like the marketing and conceptual approaches. But I would have to say the fundamentals of this business, like the service and true hospitality never change, and are the roots of our business. When you look at the current state of affairs in NYC nightlife, you need to assess what is missing and what is in too much abundance.

This is obviously just my view and not necessarily the correct one, but I feel that there is a real lack in creativity at the moment. And I don’t mean that in reference to just design. There are places that we have all experienced that truly are living and breathing spaces, that have a life of their own, a soul. In a city like New York, we should be seeing a lot more than there has been recently. I think our business has become too cookie-cutter and lifeless.

Sex, Lies & Digital Cameras: ‘Kirill Was Here’ Talks New York Nightlife

Maybe you first heard of stealth nightlife photographer Kirill because he snapped evidence of your drunken lesbian makeout session, or because his raunchy site, Kirill Was Here, makes you swell with the queasy-proud feeling that there really is no place like New York City. Either way, it’s obvious that the Russian-born, New Jersey-raised lensman has lived up to his catch phrase, capturing some of the city’s most sexed-up nightclub denizens at their naughty best. I chatted with Kirill to get the lowdown on his shooting style, his favorite spots, and his fear of being “that creepy guy.”

image How did you get started taking pictures of people out in NYC? I always had a camera with me and I would hang out with my friends, who were DJs in the DJ booths, and just shoot them for fun. One night I got really drunk and I shot the crowd on the dance floor instead. When I came home and thought, ‘What am I going to do with all these photos?’ My roommates and I decided to build a site.

Had you studied photography formally? I dropped out of one photo class. I wanted to be an animator, graphic designer, filmmaker; I guess this is just one aspect of my art career. Everything else I just learned and fucked around with.

Do you prefer to shoot celebrities or just club-goers? I personally don’t give a shit about the celebrity aspect. I won’t go to a party because a celeb is there. Guys like LMFAO or Lil John that are actually in the party scene, they’re just going to rage and be part of the party and they just happen to be in the shot. But most of the traffic, or people that come to my site, come to see photos of themselves or of drunk girls partying.

Are your photos ever posed or are they entirely candid? At this point, it’s a little bit of both. In the beginning, it was a lot of candid. I shoot a lot – that’s the beauty of digital – I can shoot 2,000 photos in a night and only put up 150. If someone is about to spray champagne, I’ll shoot 50 photos in a row and one of those 50 photos will be the one where the champagne hits the girl in the face at the right time. Now, people know the site and know me, so they won’t pose; they’ll just party and they know I’ll get the shot that I need. So people know who you are and what you do? At this point, a lot of people know my face. Which is funny, because there are times when people don’t and girls will be like, ‘No, do not take our photo.’ Then they’ll see me take some other girl’s photo and hand that girl my card, and then the girls that rejected me will say, ‘Oh, you’re Kirill! Take our photo!’

Do you think of taking your photos as work? It is work for me, but it is also a lot of fun, which is why I’m out five nights a week. I don’t like to shoot sober if I’m at a party because I want to party with the people – otherwise, I’m just an outsider looking in and that can get awkward. It’s like if you go to a party with your best friend and take photos of each other. I’m just that kid at every table; I’m the best friend of every person in the club, taking their photo and drinking with them. If I’m at a concert gig – like the A-Trak tour – I pretty much stay sober the whole time. I didn’t really need to interact with drunk people, I was just shooting photos of the artist.

What do you think is unique about New York nightlife? The ability that if a party sucks, you can leave and go somewhere else. What other city can you hit five clubs in a night? In LA you have to drive everywhere, and all the other cities don’t really have as many clubs or as much going on. New York City has such a good party scene because they [the clubs] have to step the party up because people can just leave and go somewhere else.

Where do you like to go out and shoot? One of my favorites is GoldBar. Riff Raff’s is one of my new favorite spots because it’s different; I like that it’s kind of anti-bottle service. GunBar (in Meatpacking) is cool. I love SL East in the Hampton’s a lot. The girls are hot and they party, which is rare. It’s rare to find hot model chicks that get down. Those are pretty much my spots when I’m in town.

Do you think you’ll ever stop taking pictures? That’s something I ask myself all the time. I don’t want to be that creepy guy in the club when I’m 35 or 40. But then again, I don’t think I’ll ever stop taking photos. Hopefully I’ll transition to something new…maybe go the Patrick McMullan route. I guess I’ll wait until the alcohol and the partying catches up to me and I’ll keep shaving my face so I look younger and younger.

Follow Kirill on Twitter (@KirillWasHere).

Ruben Rivera on His Celeb-Studded Parties at XIX

It’s all about fit – the round peg in the round hole, and all the et ceteras in the square ones. Nightlife often tries to force things. An uptown promoter in a downtown space might not be able to perform; a great DJ who spins a certain genre might be placed in the wrong room with the wrong crowd. Ruben Rivera at Travertine is the perfect peg for the perfect hole in the ground. His basement spot XIX is continuously jammed with the right stuff.

Its casual, dark, street-smart atmosphere is a haven for those who know exactly who they are and what they want, which surely includes privacy, intimacy, and great music. It’s a place to party with your friends without attitudes and crowds. The restaurant is going through a few changes and will re-launch as a better fit for the neighborhood. Danae Cappelletto’s considerable talents didn’t seem to translate to this location. She was a talented square peg trying to squeeze into an unforgiving round hole.

Ruben Rivera comes from a door position where he met all the right people and learned from his mistakes and those of his employers. He learned well. Travertine is red hot and it’s all his fault. We are buddies. He is respectful, intelligent, and aware of who he is and how much he needs to learn to get it right. He learns from his mistakes, while so many in the business just deny them. He isn’t last year’s Ruben Rivera. He’s grown considerably, but in doing so has never lost sight of his lifelong values, friends, and where he came from. He’s a man who gives and gets respect, and that is at the core of his success at Travertine. I interviewed him yesterday afternoon as we both waited for our wonderful dentist, Dr. Farzin, to cure us of — and cause us — pain.

Travertine has no press and no PR, yet you are always packed with an A-list crowd. How are you doing it? I opened the place with lots of help from friends and great music. It’s a very intimate venue so I figured we’d start slow and let it grow through word of mouth, like the days before cell phones. There’s a mystery to that type of PR that attracts people, it’s a bit more real then just hiring every promoter in New York.

Which celebs have showed up? I always say that good clubs don’t need celebs to attract crowds, it’s the opposite…the club’s crowd attracts the celebs. As far as celebs, we’ve been blessed. I don’t do anything in Page 6 or any other publications. I think it’s a comfort zone for those who are obligated to go to other venues. http://bbook.com/guides/details/xixis a sort of a free zone for famous people. It’s refreshing to see an A-lister such as Scarlett Johansson come in and socialize with guests and dance all night. By the way, did I mention that people really dance at XIX? They really get down. The people and privacy and dancing is what’s attractive to celebs. I won’t mention anyone else on the list but it’s quite extensive and impressive. How about the food? We’re going through some complete changes at Travertine. We’re going in a different direction with the menu. I really want to give people in the downtown community what they want—quality, great tasting, well-prepared comfort food. They’ll know it will be open late night so everyone will be able to stay in the neighborhood and eat late.

What’s it like being the man controlling the space instead of just a door? What do you miss about handling the door? It’s crazy! It’s all about sticking to the script and knowing what’s hot and what’s not. I see that door man problems are a lot different from the shit I deal with now. The politics of booking DJs is crazy! That alone can make a man insane. Just things like simple repairs, AC, liquor orders, maintaining staff is difficult, but I have a great staff. Big Benny’s done a great job at the door, and Jay Lyon and Justin have been a tremendous help. I almost miss the days when I just had to show up looking good and send people away. Or the funny stuff like when you walk out holding some poor guy’s arm, yelling, “Who the hell let this ass in?” ha. I definitely don’t miss the losers that couldn’t get in and would annoy me all night. Guys: If you get turned away, just go home. You look stupider if you hang around talking shit. The door is the key to the room and if you don’t have swag, style, comedy, wit, or if you’re high, thirsty for press and tips, you’re not a good door man. The club will reflect its’ door and I’ve seen it ruin places almost instantly.

Talk to me about your DJs. What’s working and what’s trending? I’ve got to thank DJ Sinatra, he was the only DJ that believed in XIX when we opened. He was spinning to 20 people the first month. Now everyone wants a night. I mainly deal with 4AM but I’ve had almost everyone of DJ importance in NYC come through, including Cassidy, Ruckus, Mick Boogie, Sam French, Nick Cohen etc. It’s really the most important component to what makes XIX. You can’t get a better sound system and you really feel a DJ’s music intimately at XIX. I’m excited about the music every night and the people in the room are musically literate so they also appreciate it. The energy is amazingly live when Sinatra is in the booth on a Saturday night.

What’s missing in nightlife today and what’s improved from the good old days? To be honest, after I left Juliet I spent the year in Los Angeles came home to XIX and haven’t been out much. I support “Funday” at Gold Bar but besides that I haven’t been anywhere in a while. I try and get rest every chance I get. I guess I’m old school because I really can’t mention anything that I like about this club era. I’m from a great era of night life the late ‘90s and early 2000’s, so I’ll just keep those great memories and try my best to duplicate that energy at XIX. I think it’s working out so far.

The Gramercy Park Hotel Is Doing Just Fine Without Ian Schrager, Thank You

Back in 2006, when Ian Schrager reopened New York’s Gramercy Park Hotel to much acclaim and a parade of celebrity guests, he left behind the specters of the former owners, the Weissberg family, whose string of tragedies culminated in scion David jumping from the roof to his death. Now Schrager, who still casts an apparitional shadow over his many previous ventures, has moved on, leaving the hotel to find a way forward on its own considerable merits. Hoping to get an inside take on the future of the Gramercy, I caught up with GM Scott Koster on a recent afternoon in the Rose Bar, which, it must be said, looks startlingly different at 3pm than it does at 3am.

“We talk a lot about when a hotel reaches iconic stature,” Koster explained. “There are a lot of people that take what Ian Schrager and Julian Schnabel created here and try to recreate it somewhere else. But there’s something intrinsic here that you can’t just replicate. Design alone does not make a facility; at Gramercy Park Hotel we’ve been able to maintain an ethos. At this point, you’d have to work to mess it up.”

Indeed, disguising myself as a guest, I found it remarkable how perfected the culture of the second generation Gramercy has become. From an almost pastoral breakfast on the Terrace to a buzzy lunch at Maialino to evening cocktails in the Jade and Rose Bars, it was clear that the hotel isn’t making any rash, ill-advised changes in an attempt to shake off Schrager’s influence. In fact, Maialino, Danny Meyer’s sophisticated but remarkably inviting Roman style trattoria, which opened in late 2009 (replacing the haughty Wakiya), may have already become the touchstone for a new era for the GPH.

Koster agreed. “We want [the Gramercy] to be a true New York experience. And to do that, you have to be involved in the community. What Danny Meyer and Maialino did was to cement that. I think it put us into the fabric of the neighborhood,” he said.

Damion Luaiye remains as Creative Director, but nightlife impresario and celeb-magnet Nur Khan has departed, with Sebastien Lefavre now brought over from GoldBar to oversee the hotel’s considerable nocturnal goings on. Also on the way is a new bar setup on the roof, which Koster hopes will create a more seamless flow of buzz throughout the public spaces.

“We want the Terrace and the Rose Bar to feed off of each other,” he further explained. “Being inclusive rather than exclusive is really the direction we’re going in. Not to say that the Rose Bar is not going to remain one of the most difficult reservations to get; it always will be.”

So, moving on from the era of Ian Schrager has not been too difficult, even though his and Schnabel’s touch still permeates the space. Indeed, the Gramercy Park Hotel in some ways feels more like an extravagant Florentine Renaissance palazzo than a hip New York hotel.

“He is an amazing visionary,” Koster observed of Schrager. “But once a hotel is created, the people who are running it help give it a life of its own. While he gave birth to it, eventually it does become its own entity.”