Lobster Rolls & Sunset Views: The Meatpacking’s STK Opens Rooftop Tomorrow

The Meatpacking’s sexy steakhouse STK gets even sexier tomorrow when it opens its single greatest facet: the rooftop.

For its third year in a row, a seat on this rooftop on a balmy, breezy spring night at sunset promises not just watermelon salad, crisp watermelon cucumber cocktails, and a dish of mini lobster rolls, but also a view of the Hudson River, the majestic Standard Hotel, and the cobblestone, stiletto-ridden streets below. 

But remember: the rooftop only fits 150 people, so get the first seat at noon – and hold on for dear life.

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What We Hope To See at Jeff Koons’ Whitney Retrospective

The Whitney Museum of American Art is getting ready to say goodbye to its ritzy uptown digs before moving to a larger space in Manhattan’s Meatpacking District. And before it goes, there will be one last huge exhibit: a retrospective of work by controversial artist Jeff Koons.

“This will be the first time a single artist has ever taken over almost the entire museum,” Whitney curator Scott Rothkopf told the Times. “We wanted to choose an iconic American artist as a farewell to the Breuer building.”

The show, set to open in January 2014, will include over 100 of Koons’ works dating from 1979 through 2004. It will be the first time a New York museum has been able to pull of a retrospective of Koons’ work, which is often very expensive to manufacture and difficult to handle.

Koons’ catalog isn’t made up of pretty paintings, however. The artist is perhaps best known for his oversized metallic sculptures that look like balloon animals and his “Made In Heaven” series of paintings, which depicted him and his (now ex) wife, Italian porn star turned politician Ilona Staller. 

There’s plenty of other work in Koons’ oeuvre, however. Here are five works we can’t to see up close.

Koons Jackson

Michael Jackson and Bubbles: In the late 1980s, Koons made three of these sculptures, which portray Michael Jackson and his best pal, the chimpanzee Bubbles, in porcelain and gold leaf.

Koons Puppy

Puppy: This 43-foot-tall topiary sculpture was created in the early 1990s, and while it’s adorable, the most interesting part of this dog’s life was when three members of a Basque separatist group attempted to plant explosives near the sculpture while it was on display in Bilbao.

Koons Car

BMW Art Car: Who says art can’t be functional? In 2010 Koons designed this car for BMW and then entered it in a race. Unfortunately the stunning and rare vehicle did not win.

Koons Train

Train: A $25 million, 70-foot replica of a Baldwin 2900 steam locomotive is being considered by the folks behind New York’s High Line as decoration for the elevated park. But where better to debut the piece, which could perhaps be finished in time for the Whitney show, than on Madison Avenue?

Koons Heaven

Dirty – Jeff on Top: Of all the porno-style images from the “Made In Heaven” series, this is one of our favorites. Plus it seems like a good sculpture to hang out near and meet people.

Rainbow City Adds a Bouncy Splash of Color to the High Line

I’ve said it before: New York’s High Line elevated park is best when it rains. No, you’re not going to visit during a monsoon, but a touch of ambient moisture is usually all it takes to keep the wimps away, leaving more room for the true aficionados to explore the world’s finest example of industrial repurposing. My rain rule also extends to the new Rainbow City project, which occupies a lot next to the 30th Street terminus of the High Line’s newly-opened Section 2. You’ll definitely need some kind of weather event to keep the crowds at bay, because it’s pretty amazing.

Rainbow City, which is sponsored by AOL, is the brainchild of FriendsWithYou, a Miami-based art collective founded by Samuel Borkson and Arturo Sandoval III. For this project, the duo took over a 16,000-square-foot outdoor space at West 30th Street and 10th Avenue and filled it with more than three dozen massive, pastel-striped balloons and other inflatable sculptures. There are three moon walks to bounce around in, as well as a whole bunch of floating sculptures tethered to the ground that you can bat around and try to whack your friends.

We visited last Saturday, and the light rain kept what would otherwise be an insane crowd manageable. The exhibition is ostensibly targeted to kids, and our wee ones were over the moon with the fantastical, Dr. Seuss-like world, running around like madmen and bouncing around inside the giant mushroom over and over again. Yet there were plenty of adults there on their own, admiring the impressive art forms and marveling at the ease of which the space was converted into an impromptu fantasy land. And, in an odd, NSFW twist, one of the moon walks has an exit designed to mimic the experience of being born. I’ll let your imagination take it from there.

But if that’s not enough to convince you that you needn’t be a breeder to enjoy the art, dig this: there’s a beer garden right next to the thing. Yes, Colicchio & Sons just opened The Lot on Tap, an open-air swilling spot just steps from the trippy fun. Delicious draft beers are just $7 per (reasonable for Manhattan) and there are numerous well-regarded food trucks nearby to satisfy your taco fix.

For the sake of research, we took a beer break before returning to Rainbow City, just to see if it’s more fun with a dose of suds in us. It is. The clouds parted, the balloons dried a bit, and we had a few more blissful moments bopping around the massive, lighter-than-air sculptures. Rainbow City is definitely worth a visit. Pray for rain this weekend.

Nightlife: If You’re Bored You’re Boring

Dinner conversation last night turned to how boring everything is and how great it was back in the day. I told my dearest friends how boring they sounded. They are avid readers of my rantings and accused me of hysterical optimism and other misdemeanors. I retorted that their perspective is based on the experience they had while partying in clubs I used to run.

That perspective is not relevant to today’s clubs where specialization and smaller venues rule, or vast neighborhoods with different small joints are the equivalent. Being all things to all people went out with the Gatien-era and my last great offering, Life Nightclub. I banged out a list of today’s clubs that cater to the wealthy, and those who feed at their teets: the rock venues and dive meccas, the hip-hoppy model bottle boites, and the sophisticated upper-class supper clubs and joints for genuine adults. I even talked about the Wiliamsburg/Greenpoint/Bushwick scene that used to fill the mega clubs when Manhattan had that particular edge. There are more places than ever. There is something to do every night. For the snarky at heart there will never be enough.

For the young at heart, like myself, there are never enough hours to enjoy them. There may not be a single, reliably brilliant 7-DJ spot that caters to a mix of cultures (although I argued Webster Hall on some nights really does it), but there are way more places to hang, and much more diversity than ever. Maybe drugs are not the center of the nightlife universe anymore. Maybe the “no smoking” policies have made it less noir, but I can live with that. There are amazing weekly parties, and one-offs, and pop-ups, and hidden gems if you pay attention. So pay attention.

Friday had one of those amazing one-offs. The 21st Annual “Night of a Thousand Stevies” was sold out at the Highline Ballroom. Brought to you by the Jackie Factory, it is a celebration of everything Stevie Nicks. Producers Chi Chi Valenti, Johnny Dynell, and Hattie Hathaway put on a night that made me laugh, cry, sing, dance, remember, and forget. The performers, which brought the ‘Stevie realness’ included Sherry Vine, Basil Twist and Little Stevie, Heather Litteer, Gypsy Wilde, The HoHo’s, Vangeline Theatre, The Rachel Klein Theatre, Poison Eve and and Darlinda, Jazmen Flowers, Adam Dugas and Mia Theodoratus, Amber Martin, Paul Alexander of the Ones, the Divine Grace and Lady Zobie, Machine Dazzle and Darrekk Thorne of the Pixie Harlots, Charlene Coran, Gusty Winds, Bella Luna, Velocity Chyaldd, Billy O, Miss Kelly Webb, Lea Loren, Fleetwood Visions, Johnny Quinlan, Carlos Alomar, Robin Clark, Fleetwood Visions, and of course—Slevy Nicks. I’m sure I missed a few, so please forgive. DJs Sammy Jo and Craig Spencer entertained between acts. It was glorious fun.

These days its all about GaGa and her half a dozen hits, which is fine and deserving of our love, but when you look at the catalogs of people like Stevie Nicks, or, say Diana Ross, who have dozens of brilliant songs to their credit, the GaGa hype seems just that. GaGa is from us, from our scene, and she is much loved. Watching the brilliant performers belt out hit after hit of Miss Nicks was enlightening. The highlight of the “Night of a Thousand Stevies” was a video message from Stevie Nicks promising to one day show up in disguise and mingle, then pop up and sing a song. Past superstars who have performed included Debbie Harry, Cyndi Lauper, Boy George, and Courtney Love. The crowd dressed in Stevie wear. The suggested dress code was:

“Hopelessly Enchanted Eveningwear, Heart Motifs,Vampiress Velvets, Nightbird Capes, Steampunk Stevie, Victorian Heart Lockets, Beauty and the Beast,/Jean Cocteau references, Leather (Daddy) with Lace, Stevie adorned Top Hats, fearless Sable on Blond hair effects, Spider Web Shawls or Total Stevie Realness all eras. BYOBT (bring your own bedecked tamborine) or catch one of our coveted throws.”

You must wait until next year, but keep in touch with this gang and attend events that they throw at you. Their club Jackie 60 was a top 20 joint of an era past. They are not as prolific as they were in the 90’s, but the quality, the fun, the genius, and the realness still thrives in these one-off events. Tell them Bugsy sent you.

Industry Insiders: Nicole Nadeau, Art Star

Nicole Nadeau doesn’t understand why the art world reacted so vehemently to Work of Art — Bravo’s reality TV show in which artists competed for a chance to have their work shown at the Brooklyn Museum. After all, art is meant to provoke, and competing in the show was “an experiment,” she says. Nadeau grew up in small town in Connecticut, where she played sports, danced, and dreamed of becoming a dolphin trainer. But she was always creative. Her father, a fourth generation craftsman, had a woodshop in their garage where she began experimenting with art objects at an early age. Rocking her signature beehive hairdo, she met us at the High Line, where a Bravo publicist monitored us on speakerphone as we discussed the highs and lows of reality television, and having her work judged by Jerry Saltz.

Background: In school I focused on the arts and sciences. When it came to college I knew that I wanted to do sculpture, installation and design, so I went to RIT and did an engineering/design type of thing. Then I transferred to Parsons for product design.

After school: I started out at an architecture firm because I wanted to see the larger scale of a building or a whole room instead of the objects that are in a space. Then I started KNS Design, an experimental collective that is a conversation between art and design. If you really want to be an artist you just have to go for it. You have to make things possible for yourself and break boundaries of what people think art and design is.

Alternate career path: It would be very creative. An anthropologist or traveler of the world doing archaeological digs. Something involving experiments.

On her art: A lot of my art is inspired by nature and geometry, because I try to add harmony and balance to it. But I keep it simple and open so there is a point of seduction.

On designing for Ralph Lauren: I love doing design consultancy because creativity is my strong suit. It’s fun to be brought in and give it a certain direction, or use materials I might not be able to find in my studio.

Favorite artists: There are so many. Tobias Wong inspired me a lot when I was in school.

On the High Line: I love the High Line. Not too many people know the story of it. Tenth Avenue used to be called Death Avenue because the trains used to kill people on the street. There’s a certain sense of life and death to it. They raised it up so people wouldn’t die.

Favorite fashion designers: Rodarte. Chanel. Issey Miyake. I really like Tom Ford because he’s a Renaissance man. And I really love that movie he made, A Single Man. Every scene was so beautiful.

On reality television: I actually don’t own a television, but I find reality television interesting because it’s a product of our time. It’s a system, there are archetypes, and at the end you really don’t have control over what goes on.

On being judged by Jerry Saltz: Pretty epic. I love reading all of his reviews in New York magazine. He’s very approachable and I can identify with the things that he says. It was so magical to have people critique your work everyday and have a gallery show every day.

On the Work of Art experience: I did it all in good fun without really thinking about the repercussions. I wanted to see what the constrictions and control on the materials and time would have on my work, and if it could produce a certain level of creativity. I found the response to it to be a little bit conservative. I understand their point, but at the same time I’m like, Have an open mind and explore this a little bit.

Did the best person win WOA? No because I should have won.

Germans Party on Autobahn, None are Run Over

The German autobahn was converted into a people-bahn for six hours yesterday as a sixty-kilometer strip was closed to cars for a major summer party. Dubbed Still Life/A40-B1, the event drew a crowd of nearly three million, earning it the title of World’s Longest Street Party and giving residents of the primarily industrial (read: kinda depressing) Ruhr District an excuse to shake their arsches under the Teutonic sun. Pedestrians flooded the roadway—normally the province of Benzes and Beemers clocking triple digits—and set up the longest picnic table Europe has ever seen alongside impromptu concerts and dance exhibitions. Naturally, we here in the USA are happy for the Germans and their fun party, but the question remains, is this something we could pull off stateside?

In some ways, we already have. The High Line in New York’s Meatpacking District converted an abandoned elevated freight railroad spur into one of the country’s most attractive pedestrian thoroughfares. The Great Northeast Blackout of 2003 turned all of the major bridges out of Manhattan into no-holds-barred street parties. And of course, almost every block in the city is closed to cars once a year for block parties or street fairs where you can buy funnel cakes and slightly irregular GAP tee-shirts without worrying about getting clipped by a taxi. But deliberately closing a huge stretch of a major commercial highway just to let people walk around a bit without buying anything? Not in the land of capitalism.

Still, I’d love to see a chunk of the BQE in Brooklyn closed to traffic for a day. Drivers are in no position to appreciate its soaring views of Lower Manhattan, the Statue of Liberty, and New York Harbor, yet they’re spoiled with the splendid panorama every day. It makes sense that the humble pedestrian should get a glimpse as well. And if someone feels like rolling out a couple of beer barrels, all the better.

Party Faces: The Best Looks From a Week of Parties

Spring is all about rebirth and growth and yadda yadda: for Manhattan scenesters it’s mainly about ending winter hibernation and hitting the social circuit in order to show off the latest looks. This week was chock full of winsome odes to spring in Manhattan: parties to remind New Yorkers that the High Line will soon be in bloom, events that celebrated spring fashion openings and new spring catalogs and parties that got people excited to shed leggings, overcoats and layers of stuffy winter makeup. Here were some of the freshest beauty takes from this week’s party scene.

image Fresh Face: Unknown Party Person Event: Just a normal Thursday night out. Venue: Avenue Notable Attendees: Wass Stevens, Genevieve Jones. Look: Bold brows get the Factory Girl pairing with a bleach-blond coif, both elements are tres spring, as they say and have been runway mainstays waiting for their springtime devotees. Otherwise, this chick was just trying to pull an Edie Sedgewick. Recommendation: Get heavy brows with a highly pigmented brow shaper like Jean Paul Gaultier Monsier Brow Defining Pencil.

image Fresh Face: Alison Brod and Jennifer Ruff Event: First Bloom Art and Photography Auction to Benefit the Friends of the High Line. Venue: Equinox on 10th Avenue Notable Attendees: David Patrick Columbia, Christian Simonds, Gillian Hearst Simonds. Look: Baring your legs for the first time after a long winter can be scary, but these ladies look as if they’ve been wintering in some tropical local with smooth and tan limbs. Recommendation: Exfoliate your winterized stems with a good body polish like Brown Sugar Body Polish by Fresh. Get glowing with an easy self tanner like Victoria’s Secret Flawless Instant Bronze Body Spray.

image Fresh Face: Ian Cuttler Event: First Bloom Art and Photography Auction to Benefit the Friends of the High Line. Venue: Equinox on 10th Avenue Notable Attendees: David Patrick Columbia, Christian Simonds, Gillian Hearst Simonds. Look: A bold pair of glasses are having a hay-day after dark. Recommendation: Tom Ford’s assortment of interesting frames. If you are bold, opt for the cat-eye cut and really walk with the trend.

image Fresh Face: Noot Seear Event: Fotorelief and a Milk Gallery Project organizes a Picture Saves a Thousand Lives Venue: Milk Studios Notable Attendees: Richard Chai, Lucy McIntyre, Bonnie Morrison, Nicole Trunfio. Look: Noot works the no-makeup makeup look that was big on the spring runways of Tommy Hilfiger, Proenza Schouler, and Tory Burch. Recommendation: M.A.C. Sculpting Powder in Sculpt and bronzer in Matt Bronze.

image Fresh Face: Stacey Bendet Eisner Event: alice + olivia by Stacey Bendet Shop Opening Venue:Saks Fifth Avenue New York Notable Attendees: Byrdie Bell, Melissa Joan Heart, Tinsley Mortimer, Kat De Luna, Richie Rich. Look: The eternally adorable Bendet adds a youthful edge to a classic alice + olivia frock with a bright hair accessory. The yellow barrette is simple but says a lot about how playful Bendet is when it comes to dressing up. That same irreverence was seen on the Dolce & Gabbana and the Marc by Marc Jacobs runways. Recommendation: Try a whimsical floral clip by Anthropologie or a simple barrette from Ulta in a bright color.

image Fresh Face: Models Michelle Buswell and Tiu Kuik. Event: Akris Hosts New Yorkers For Children Spring Dinner Dance Kick-Off Venue: Akris Notable Attendees: Tinsley Mortimer, Tracy Stern, Lisa Anastos. Look: The two nail proportion. Michelle rocks a voluminous ‘do to balance a lean jumpsuit for a very ’90’s aesthetic while Tiu goes cocktail chic with a slick updo to show off her elegant neck and shoulders. Recommendation: Get big, all-American 90’s volume with Umi volumizing spray. Spritz on damp hair before blow-drying hair upside-down, then from side to side. Accentuate bare shoulders with a highlighting powder. Nars Highlighting Blush usually does the trick (and works for face and body).

image Fresh Face: Harley Viera Newton (with Nicola Vassel, Todd Selby, Harley and Moses Berksom). Event: Todd Selby and Cole Haan Celebrate Their Spring Catalog Venue: 10 Downing Notable Attendees: Lynn Yaeger, Lisa Salzer of Lulu Frost, Mickey Boardman, Bonnie Morrison. Look: Harley gets all spring-y on the retro look by opting for a red stain rather than a pout full of gloopy lip paint. Recommendation: Tarina Tarantino Conditioning Lip Sheen in Paramour has a crazy pop-art red look but takes on the texture of lip conditioner.

I See Naked People: The High Line

The High Line on the west side of New York has earned itself a reputation as a place to check out naked people. It all started with The Standard Hotel, built to straddle the High Line, with its massive pylon base, and also, built with all glass walls that just happen to face the High Line. As people found out this summer, while visiting the newly opened public space, you can see more than just the nice view off of the three-story high High Line itself.

If you time it right (nighttime is best) you can catch a peep show or ten. The Standard Hotel is reveling in this attention and encourages their guests to “just have fun!” The hotel’s blog, ever briefly, even linked to photos of two unclothed women in provocative positions. Many hotel guests prance around nude, or nearly nude, and those down below can choose to watch. The peep shows have ranged from topless women to couples having sex, to just people walking around. It seems like a symbiotic relationship at The Standard and the High Line. People want to watch, and people want to be watched. We’ll see how long the fun will last before some spoilsport ruins it for everyone. In the meantime, hoof it down there sometime in the evening and catch a show for yourself.

When the High Line Was for Lowlifes

I was in my friend’s apartment at the magnificent new Caledonia on 17th Street a couple days ago. His joint is one flight above the grand new High Line, which was being readied for its opening yesterday. That affair, which attracted the mayor and all sorts of dignitaries, is a proud moment for this town. The energy and flavor the new park will bring to the West Side will be a much-needed shot in the arm for our city’s culture and economy. When I was standing there watching the workers, I realized that I couldn’t hear the drills and heavy tools they were using. I asked about the glass and got a rather long technical answer which I think meant it was thick. The insertion of mega habitats like the new Caledonia into the club ecosystem of the West Side will not be without conflict. It reminds me of all those people who build in suburban Los Angeles. They put up a gaggle of homes in a desert and are flabbergasted when a coyote grabs the cat. It seems that in this case, the surroundings — which include 1Oak, Avenue, and The Park — were thoughtfully considered. Traffic problems seem to cause the most beef with cabbies and other drivers blaring their horns trying to enter 10th Avenue, and a crane added to the congestion for eons.

The High Line was unrecognizable from the last time I was this close to it. Michael Alig had an after-hours club called Lotto which was all the rage. We were doing Redzone together and needed to have a place to service our friends and clientele after the club closed at 4am sharp, as they did back then. Peter Gatien won a lawsuit that allowed clubs to stay open after the bars were closed. His argument was that the places that had cabaret licenses should be allowed to have dancing at any hour. He argued that the city-issued cabaret license had nothing to do with the regulations of the state-issued liquor license. He won the case which makes the late-night boogies at Pacha kosher. Anyway, back to Lotto, which was located in an old Meatpacking office. When Michael showed me the place, I went through papers strewn everywhere ,and there wasn’t one newer than 1975. The building had an old rusted door leading to the abandoned railroad tracks which have since been upgraded to the High Line.

Michael thought of lavish dinner parties up there long before someone with clout got it done. The concept behind this place was as follows: about $1,500 was spent, some went to doorman Kenny Kenny, some to a security guard, some paid for the booze, and the rest was given to various artists who would decorate the rooms daily so that each time you went it would look different. Everybody paid five bucks to get in and paid five more bucks for a cocktail, and when the money was recouped, the front doors were closed, the drinks became free, and it was fun fun fun till it wasn’t. One night — er, morning — a particularly unsavory character known to all and feared by many arrived past the cutoff. He made a great deal of noise and brandished a serious weapon. Myself and a few friends eventually persuaded him to go away, but we unfortunately made a little bit too much noise in our persuasion, and the authorities arrived in numbers. Someone barricaded the doors, and I was told that the loud banging sound was a fireman breaking down the door to get us. I didn’t know what “get us” meant, but I elected to join an eclectic band who were going out the rusted door onto the tracks. I didn’t believe that the unsavory character would go to the police and accuse me of “persuading” him, but the tracks seemed fun anyway, and the banging seemed to indicate the authorities were upset. I was the only one wearing a suit, so I might have been assumed to be in charge and, well, it was a beautiful dawn. So I headed north on the future High Line. Our band — which included a few club kids dressed a bit like characters from Munchkinland — must of looked very odd to the birds and squirrels who lived up there. I loved the flora and fauna, but I wasn’t there to camp out and I wasn’t seeking the Wizard of Oz. I needed a way down.

Lotto was on 12th Street, I think, and when we got to 14th, there was a massive building — derelict then, really neat now — and a homeless man a bit startled by our legion. I asked him how to get down, and he pointed north and said 34th Street. Tall grass and birds nests lined our yellow brick road, and we were a merry band on this beautiful day. Dogs went nuts at us from tenement apartment windows, and there was barbed wire at every possible escape route. Finally I found stairs leading down to a little yard with more barbed wire over the top of a chain link fence. Early-bird hookers were harassing me as I tried to climb in cockaroach-killer shoes (I used to love them impossibly pointy). I climbed anyway, and when I got to the top, I threw my faux leopard sports jacket, which I had bought at Pat Field’s that long ago day before, over the barbed wire. The cop car that pulled up was alerted by the hookers trying to buy their way out of a jam with my skinny ass. The cops looked up, but some urgent call sped them away. The hookers told me incessantly as I dangled how lucky my skinny ass was. I carefully climbed over the wire and, feeling like James Bond, snapped my new jacket to safety. The barbwire took the lining, and it fell apart in my hands. For years I would drive by and watch that lining gradually disintegrate.

The rest of the crew got down in the 30s; I went back to the club and was told that the cops just laughed at the club kid crowd and told them never to lock the door again, then went away. Somebody alerted the landlord, and Lotto was done. Looking down from my friend’s window, I realize how much of a jackpot I hit when I lived and worked in that golden age of clubs. What was that line from Some Like It Hot? I think Osgood Fielding III, played by Joe E Brown, is picking up Jack Lemmon, who is in awful drag. Osgood points out his yacht The New Caledonia. It had replaced the old Caledonia, which went down in a storm off Cape Hatteras. The old railroad track has been replaced by the brand new High Line. Let’s hope that all the new buildings have thick windows, and the city can navigate the eventual storm as development of the High Line encroaches on the giant club strips in its path. I understand that at the new Caledonia — for the most part — the neighbors are embracing the vibrancy of their new neighborhood with very few grumbling politely. To me, it’s a great place to live and eat and play, to visit art galleries and the river. I love it, and I’m sure almost everyone will, as some like it hot. I suggest Long Island, the Upper West Side, or thicker glass for the rest.

Photo: Jonathan Flaum