Pacha’s Back, Plot Thickens for Home & Guesthouse

The good news came via BlackBerry from Eddie Dean in Ibiza. Pacha won its hard-fought battle against the NYPD, who seemingly would stop at nothing to close the club down. I had sat in the back of the courthouse and listened to arguments from both sides, and although I was extremely biased towards the defendant, I tried to be objective. But I couldn’t find a case in the government’s case. It all seemed to get down to the concept that although Pacha was taking extraordinary measures to prevent drug sales on its premises, the sales continued. The police case seemed to be that the continuing operation of the mega-club was a drain on the department’s resources. These resources would be better spent patrolling the nearby hood. All doughnut jokes aside, the argument didn’t seem to impress Judge Joan Madden, who threw it out. I read the verdict, and indeed there are stipulations that make this less than a 100% victory for New York’s last real mega-club; but for today, it’s a reason to be cheerful.

Monitoring, continued searches, and security cameras are required, and this seems to be a reasonable course of action. I have obtained the verdict and offer it you here. Oh, and Eddie says the good folks over at Pacha Ibiza read this column, so here’s a shout-out to them. Pachas thrive in 25 or 26 cities around the world. It’s nice that Judge Madden says we can keep ours. Although Ibiza may be an extreme case, a great many places in this world embrace nightlife as an integral part of their fabric and tourist culture. Overseas house-heads coming to New York this summer have had virtually no outlet since Cielo was shuttered till September. Lets hope the police will play fair. They have in the past had their undercovers call drug dealers to make buys in clubs, then busted the club for allowing sales. That’s un-American and unfair. They have allowed known dealers to operate in clubs to “prove” that they could deal without getting caught, putting patrons at risk. That is unbelievably dangerous. What if someone had died from these drugs?

The police have been accused by many of punishing Pacha for hosting the after-party for the Puerto Rican Day parade; this annual party follows a city-sponsored celebration, yet an incident three blocks from the club brings the wrath of the police, who say that party should not have been booked. This, many say, is racism — and I agree. Judge Madden seems to have discounted the police theories of what is happening up on West 46th Street, an area devoid currently of neighbors but not developers’ ambitions. By the time the celebration for this court victory subsides, the weekend will be upon us, and invariably the police harassment of a lawful, tax-paying business will continue.

Moving on: Word comes of the raiding of super-exclusive very hush-hush after hours spot Serpentine. A special friend sent me the word:

the place got raided gay pride weekend after a belligerent friend of a guest got nasty and started spouting homophobic rants. He’s the one who called the cops. Patrick ended up spending the night in jail. It’s too bad some asshole had to ruin it. I went a few times and really loved it – thinking – this is exactly what ny needs right now.

The backlog of liquor licenses has reached a point where the governor’s office is stepping up. As reported in DBTH, a bill to allow joints to operate while their permits are pending is on Governor Patterson’s desk. DBTH made the observation that community boards would be up in arms over this. To clarify, the fast-track temporary license is only for those places that have already received community board approval. An attorney in good standing will self-certify that the financial disclosures and background information and other important stuff are in order. This is an intelligent reaction to a bureaucratic backlog

There is more to the Jon B closing of Home and Guesthouse than previously reported here and elsewhere. Good old Jon just didn’t turn in the liquor licenses. He cooperated in the transfer of these licenses to landlord Harlan Berger in consideration of a reduction of back rent. The community board approved this transfer. Behind this whole thing is real estate developer Igor Ger of East 11th Street. What is to be done with the 530 West 27th Street property which once simultaneously contained Home, Guesthouse, Spirit, and Bed is unclear. “A fabulous concept” is in place. I asked who the designer might be (fishing for some work) and was told “you are, you dummy.” Ah yes, I remember it now. My partner Marc Dizon has been developing the space. We had a bunch of sit-downs and did a presentation a while back, but we do a lot of these and only about a third ever get past the concept phase. It indeed slipped my mind. Marc was laughing at me all day yesterday. Late night dates are distracting and confusing me he claims. When my design hat allows my writing hat to speak more of this, I surely will.