A First Glimpse At What’s Opening and What Never Should Have Closed

A very fat – or is it phat – quiet cat is out of the bag. I am sworn to secrecy about Toy, the new Tony Theodore/Koch brothers-driven spot in the Ganesvoort Meatpacking. I was graciously and quietly given a tour the other day while workman readied the Jeffrey Beers-designed space. I promised to keep it all on the low but once a PR firm sends out invites… it’s time to talk. Toy looks like it will be fun to play with. My goodness that was corny but expected I guess. Daniel, Derek, and Tony gave me the $2-tour and I was impressed. There is a wonderful outdoor space, an oyster bar and multi-levels and faceted mirrors all over the ceiling, fabulous blue booths and ebonized tables, and the whole place is better suited than previous incarnations to embrace those seeking the good life down in the Meatpacking District.

The event the PR peeps are hawking is this Monster Diesel party Thursday night. No, that’s not a truck and an energy drink soiree rather it is the clothing company announcing the launch of its "Noise Division" and a headphone company. Noise at the event is offered up by Theophilus London, Solange Knowles, and Brendan Fallis. I promised everyone I would attend and will do so.

On Saturday night I was hobnobbing at Snap and Stash where bon vivants gathered to watch that wonderful fight where Tim Bradley whipped Manny Pacquiao. After the fight, the models, promoters, and owners poured into the street and then over to Darby Downstairs. I heard Ryan Gosling and a slew of others like that attended. I didn’t see them in the crowd. I did get to chat up a bearded Leonardo DiCaprio who I hadn’t seen in a minute. He used to hang with us at Life and other joints we ran. He’s as cool and down- to-earth as ever and it was great to small-talk with the big star. I don’t much like to talk about celebs in clubs, but when they’re on the sidewalk talking to me I figure it’s OK.

After all the hoopla, I joined my party downstairs at Snap for a bottle of Beau Joie Champagne. My group included Jenny Oz Leroy of Tavern on the Green and Russian Tea Room fame. It’s amazing to me that this city pushed her out of Tavern, the joint her dad created from nothing and now, years later, the building is rotting. It’s a testament to bureaucracy gone bad and it’s complete and utter bullshit from the pencil-pushers involved.

Tavern was part of the fabric of this town. It was weddings and galas and lights and magic. It was visited and revisited by generations. It was memories. It was jobs and tax revenues from one of the highest grossing restaurants in the country, until Vegas exploded the undisputed truth in restaurant revenues. It lays empty, and every warm summer day underscores the huge mistake made by this administration. Admit it fellows…admit that you royally fucked up, dropped the ball, blew it, and beg Jenny to take it back.

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Industry Insiders: Jeffrey Beers, Resto-Architect

Jeffrey Beers, the creative mind behind Bostonian restaurant tour de force Bond, on his many passions, pacing department stores, and the differences between New York and Dubai.

How would you describe yourself? I’m a passionate and intense artist. I’m an architect by training, but I’m also a glassblower. My interest is in the arts and painting in general. When I was in architecture school at RISD, I met Dale Chihuly, the glass blower. I became a glass blower under him as I was studying architecture. I had exposure to the world of glass art and all sorts of very talented artisans which made a huge difference in my perceptions as an architect. Glass blowing is all about form and balance — being able to balance volumes and explore forms from a strict architectural sense to a fluid sense. So glass blowing allowed me to really explore form and color and things that were impossible to study on paper. The only way to physically draw these things was on paper. It taught me so much.

What are some places you like going to eat and hang out? Well, I enjoy all food. I go everywhere. I go from the Four Seasons to Pastis. I would also like to go to Above Allen. In Monte Carlo, Jimmy’z is one of my favorite clubs in the world. I like the energy and the way the club is designed. It’s extremely stimulating. It’s a fantastic nightclub, very theatrical.

What are some of your favorite spaces you’ve designed yourself? Well, I would probably have to say the Cove. The Cove Hotel at the Atlantis in Nassau in Paradise Island. It’s a hotel project as well as an indoor/outdoor project.

How did you design it? With a bit of Southeastern, South Asian feel. There’s lots of teakwood and French limestone. It’s a very interesting melding of nature and architecture. There are water elements and floral with lots of natural elements that weave in and out of the property. The Fontainebleau in Miami Beach is also one of my favorites. We just opened that last year. It was amazing to be able to work on a project by architect Morris Lapidus.

As an architect, how is your experience different when you’re designing for different countries? It certainly makes a difference because cultures are different. When I design a restaurant or club, I have to very mindful of who the guest is going to be. The guests in New York are very different from the guests in Bombay. I have to pay quite a bit of attention to what part of the world I’m in. I recently opened a very big nightclub in Dubai. There are things I did in Dubai which I wouldn’t do in New York.

For example? Half the club in Dubai is outdoors. There are more private and VIP areas in Dubai than in a club in New York.

Tell me about Bond. How was working on that? Bond turned out beautifully. It’s a grand space. The ceilings are 25 feet high. The room was a very prestigious bank in Boston. I came in with a lot of modern wood work techniques and metal. We brought a certain glamor to it. People want to dress up a bit and primp before you come to Bond. I’m also very happy with the lighting. Everyone looks like they’re a movie star. It’s a major hit in Boston. They’re off the charts. They’ve got 150 people waiting outside every night.

Who do you admire in your industry? I’ve always been a big fan of Ian Schrager. Ian has done really well, starting with Studio 54, back in the seventies, and through the nineties with the Morgan’s hotel properties, the Mandarin, the Delano. I think Ian Schrager’s just been a remarkable person in the hotel business. I think that the owner of the Four Season’s, Izzy Sharp, is another one. He’s just a remarkable leader in the hospitality industry. Keith McNally has done remarkable things with Pastis and Balthazar and Café Luxembourg and The Odeon.

What is something people might not know about you? Probably that I’m a space cadet and I wander Bloomingdale’s or Macy’s for ideas.

Do you get lots of ideas that way? I do … it’s sort of more of a distraction. I wander crowded places like Grand Central Station. It somehow removes me from the present and lets my mind completely wander. I need chaos in order to think.

Any projects in the works right now? We’re busy with the Fontainebleau in Las Vegas. It’s going to open the end of December this year. Then there is this big night club in Morocco called Sanctuary.