District 36: What Music Scenesters Have Been Waiting For

Yesterday evening I traveled uptown to an inconspicuous location in the Garment District to preview the forthcoming club District 36. Nestled just north of Herald Square on 36th street, the owners have shunned all the fads and pretenses that night clubs are typically founded on, putting together an interesting space built specifically for club music aficionados. Its location, carved out of an old garment warehouse, at first seems an odd choice for a hopeful hotspot, but as I traipsed through the space with a couple of PR folks and Damien Distasio, one of the club’s principal investors, I realized that their choice of zip code, when paired with the club’s layout, DJ lineup, and—most importantly—one of the best sound systems in North America, is a huge part of the new dance club’s draw.

The space is custom built for the underground music scene, house heads and techno lovers foremost. The graffiti art, simple embellishments, and sound system, which persuaded Victor Calderone to move his popular Evolve party from Pacha to the mid-sized (14,000 feet) District 36, reflect this lifestyle. Aside from downtown’s Santos’ Party House, there really is no comparable joint. It’s smaller than Pacha and Mansion, bigger than Cielo, and already feels like you’ve stumbled across some amazing secret warehouse party in Stockholm – absolutely no traces of the kind of cattle herding we see at the bigger, DJ-centric venues. The atmosphere seems right up Musical Director Taimur Agha’s alley. Agha is one half of the duo behind the Blkmarket Membership parties – parties that now lead the underground house and techno scene.

The entrance, from what I can tell thus far, is plain and too-the-point. Instead, first impressions are made courtesy of the thumping bass just behind the front wall. But you wont be entering just yet. Instead, head to the left and make your way down a set of stairs decorated by street artists. When downstairs, you’ll still be teased by that pulsing sound system as you check your coat or have a lounge cocktail. When you make your way upstairs once again, you’ll be on the other side of those walls, gazing up at a giant disco ball surrounded by tweeter speakers and a spray of LED lights. The DJ booth is the main event: it’s metal, wire, and painted gray – a simple, raw backdrop for the mammoth speakers that tower over the dance floor.

“We open October 22,” Distasio is telling me as we lean over the banister on the top floor mezzanine, overlooking the dance floor. “That date seems like years away.” One can tell that Distasio, a no-nonsense New Yorker previously involved with Miami’s Twilo, is the father of this space. They were scheduled for a September opening, but like all new spaces in New York, have succumbed to the City’s permitting fire drill, pushing back the date another month. But as the date moves back and more is revealed about the space, the city’s house heads are getting more and more excited. It’s the perfect tease. Mid-October is the perfect time to draw them out to an area that turns into a ghost town past 10PM. Susan Barscht is rumored to be heading up the grand opening party, and the hard-hitting DJ lineup has yet to be revealed.

27th and 28th Street Ghostown: Clubland’s Lost Nabe

For years the epicenter of vibrant NY nightlife, the west 27th/28th street club corridor is now a virtual ghost town. Tonight, Scores will celebrate its anniversary, with Damon Dash DJing. I’ve been facebooked, texted, tweeted, and called to attend this gala. Noel Ashman and a zillion promoters insist I attend. I might not go— never been a strip club guy. No homo, I just don’t head to that area these days. But there was a time when I was there almost every night. The core clubs of that mall, Pink Elephant, Cain, Home, Guesthouse, and Bungalow 8 are gone, as are the cops on horseback and the Kleig lights that put virtually the entire area out of business. Gone also are a couple thousand jobs in an economy that needs jobs. A visit to the M2 website revealed an ad promoting Common and DJ Funkmaster Flex on May 14th. I guess I missed that as well. Tomorrow I’ll be meeting with Joey Morrissey to find out if the mega club will reopen—if he even knows.

A few months ago I attended the closing night bash for Cain. Outside, a reporter from the New York Post asked me why Cain was closing. I pointed to the new building being put up across the street and told her that the Post was partially to blame. I said it was no coincidence that the rezoning of the neighborhood allowed developers to develop those luxury residential building, which resulted in the harassment and closing of the clubs. I pointed out how the Post stirred up the feeding frenzy with its call to arms after the unfortunate death of Jennifer Moore. My comments weren’t used.

Last week, the NY Times reported that the highly successful “fast tracking” of liquor licenses would not be put out to pasture. When new State Liquor Authority chairman Dennis Rosen implemented the program, almost 3,000 license applications were awaiting processing, with 9-month delays very common. The SLA is now sitting on under 900 and there are plans to go back to normal, with state inspectors doing the heavy lifting. The program allows qualified liquor license attorneys to self-certify that the facts on their client’s applications are indeed facts. The budget crisis in Albany, with a moratorium on overtime for state employees, necessitates the continuance of Mr. Rosen’s solution. This is good news for clubs, bars, and restaurants, and good news for business in general. New licensing means new jobs in construction as well as hospitality. Community Boards are severely at odds with a state that may finally be recognizing the potential in sales tax and new jobs the hospitality industry offers.

The difficulties bars and clubs impose on a neighborhood can usually be solved. A new construction project I am working on at 146 Orchard Street is engineering a complaint-proof establishment, stopping the belly-aching before it happens. A new ceiling in this establishment has a layer of sheet rock, with a layer of insulation between it and a new ceiling. The new ceiling is suspended from springs and is 3 additional layers of sheet rock thick, and that’s before the finishing materials of wood and wallpapers are applied. All ductwork is treated to a soundproof construction. Sound will be hard-pressed to find the ears of good neighbors. The problem will be when those dreaded smokers pop outside for puff-and-chats. Responsible management must enforce respect and demand soft talk. This can be done.

What’s been a real problem at hotspots is cabs honking. The clubs have lobbied for a cop from the Paid Detail Program to be allowed to work outside to enforce the quiet. You see Paid Detail cops inside banks and other businesses. Commercial establishments can hire a uniformed patrolman to act as security. Licensed premises are the exception. Raymond Kelly, the police commissioner, has nixed the idea of his soldiers working near bars and clubs. Potential corruption has been cited often. A possible solution is to use Department of Transportation employees instead of cops. A uniform with the authority to write a costly ticket may well serve the community. Sometimes it seems that a solution isn’t being sought at all. It can feel like constructive dialogue falls on deaf ears. The club community moves into neighborhoods that are so often derelict, filled with prostitution and crime, like West Chelsea and Meatpacking, and spend millions of dollars to turn these hoods around. Politicians are prompted to rezone these districts for mixed-use, allowing residential construction. The real estate industry then builds high rises and city agencies persecute the clubs until they go out of business. This is the reality of West Chelsea. It seems the city just wants the clubs to disappear or move on to another unattractive hood and start the process again.

Maybe I will go over to Scores tonight. Noel Ashman has invited me a hundred times since Friday. Nostalgia begs me to revisit the strip club that I enjoyed until just a few years ago. I’ll walk down 27th street and then up 28th. It will be a relaxing walk down memory lane and, frankly, I could use the peace and quiet.

Sad, Sad City

The city continues to wage war on clubs. The fining, suspending and eventual closing of many clubs speaks volumes about an administration, which in its quest to end smoking or coddle to real estate interests, has once again lost sight of the man or woman on the street. Clubs suffer from a zero tolerance policy from City Hall. If a couple of patron–out of thousands–light up a cigarette, city agencies swoop down and declare it a public menace. God forbid a couple of drunks punch each other. The city’s response is, “OMG! See what I mean?” And an order to close the place is obtained. If a drug dealer sells a joint, that becomes living proof of the reincarnation of Pedro Escobar and a declaration of war on the club is issued.

This might sound like an exaggeration, but when I spoke to M2 owner Joey Morrissey last week, he cited these very reasons for the shuttering of his joint that put over 400 New Yorkers out of work. However, go to a Dead concert at Madison Square Garden (Don’t go, take my word on it) and you’ll pick up on that sweet smell of familiar herbs. A fight might break out, cigarettes will be smoked here and there (despite the best efforts of MSG, their security forces and the hundreds of cops the city will supply for the affair), but nobody suggests closing that joint. If someone gets caught dealing a few pills, that person is arrested and nobody talks of closing the Garden or declares it a public nuisance. I guess if it happens during a Knicks game you’d have some takers.

We’ve talked about this before. The city is using the nuisance abatement law, designed to close whore houses and gambling parlors, to harass an industry that employs hundreds of thousands, generates billions in tax revenues and is frequented by more people in a year than the Yankees, Mets, Knicks, Rangers, Broadway shows and museums put together. The cops get a judge to close a club under the flimsiest of pretexts: a few people smoking cigarettes or someone sells a handful of joints or a couple of pills. A judge signs an order one day and the cops wait ’til Friday afternoon or evening when there is no judicial recourse and that’s that. The club is closed until Monday when invariably the order is overturned. However, the resulting loss of revenue puts hundreds on the street and hurts the club so badly financially that it can’t survive, let alone mount a vigorous defense in court.

Today I talk to Emily Lazar who has made her living in clubs while she chases her dream of being a rock star. Her appearance the other night with her band September Mourning at Irving Plaza, opening for Ratt marks a step towards her dream. There are thousands of people supporting themselves in a jobless economy by working in clubs. Many are actors, writers, musicians, dancers, students, poets, Broadway performers, mothers, fathers and such.

A billionaire mayor sits in the clouds and never really gets it, never understands the struggle. How could he? The loss of “night” jobs severely affects the ability of many creative folks to make it here. Dustin Hoffman, Bruce Willis, Debbie Harry and so many others worked in joints on their way to stardom. Emily Lazar sees a light at the end of the tunnel. Her ambitions have been supported while she worked with me and many others. It was work, a little sleep and band practice daily for so many years. Her big stage NYC breakout the other night is one story of many that tell a tale of careers that get paid for through night work. Irving Plaza was a big break. Now she’s hoping to break out.

You grew up in and around NYC working in clubs and in the scene. How would you explain this molding your artistic vision to what it’s become today? I started coming into the city when I was about 15. NYC is its own living, breathing creature. The city attracts so many artistic people in so many different industries and houses them on a relatively small island. It’s truly a melting pot of culture. The nightlife scene here has left its mark on me as a performer. The scene gave me the freedom to express myself in so many different ways. There were no limits. The more larger-than-life, the better. There are so many amazing personalities that have their roots in this scene. I think my artistic sense was developed through my exploration and creation of my own “characters” and personalities that I’d become when I’d dress up and go out. I can definitely see a correlation between my stage persona and some of the people I’ve met in nightlife. There’s definitely a little Kenny Kenny fierceness when I growl into a mic, and some Amanda Lepore sexiness when I prance around onstage.

You front the band September Mourning, but you see yourself as a performance artist. What distinguishes you as such? September Mourning started a few years ago as an art project. When we launch it in the fall you’ll see why I still reference it as such. The band started a little over a year ago. The music is the sonic impressionism, the costuming which I made and designed myself and the makeup and overall look is the visual presentation. There are a few other facets that’ll be revealed in due time. I consider myself a creator and connector, in all different mediums.

What’s your motivation behind your artistic pursuits? What drives you? Chuck Palahniuk said it best. “We all die. The goal isn’t to live forever; the goal is to create something that will.” We’re all given gifts and the resources to make our mark on this world and to accomplish the things we dream. We just have to have the courage to pursue them.

You’ve worked in clubs for many years while you pursue your career. What jobs did you have? I worked the door at some clubs and reception and helped in the offices and waitressed.

You’ve been trying to make it for awhile now. Are you getting closer to your goals? I’m definitely getting closer to where I wanna be. It used to be that I wanted to be on tour for the rest of my life, but now it’s a greater goal. I have an artistic vision and movement that I’d like to start/share with the world. I have an abundance of emotion and creativity inside of me. I’ve been waiting my whole life for the proper way to channel it and this project is it. We opened for Marilyn Manson on tour which was amazing. Kerry King from Slayer was there, DJ AM, so many people saw us. The Ratt show was also amazing because Irving Plaza is a special place for me. I’ve watched so many bands play there and I’ve always wanted to take the stage.

What drives you? For people like me, art is our sanity. It’s our husband. It’s our therapist. It’s our lover. It’s our most prized possession and the gun at the back of our head as well. It’s not something I do because it’s my job, more of an instinctual thing like breathing.

You’ve been linked romantically to a few famous players. Can you speak to that? I’ve dated a few guys who are in well-known bands. Dating other artists is one of the hardest things to do. First of all, finding time for one another in your schedules is nearly impossible unless you’re at the point where you are flying in private jets and have a house on both coasts. It’s pretty brutal. Right now I’m very focused on my career and where I need to get to. I feel like the rest of my life will fall in line when it’s suppose to. I like putting all of me into my art because it’s the one thing I can give my heart to knowing it won’t ever say it doesn’t love me anymore.

Who are your musical influences? I’ve always been a fan of heavy music. A lot of my influences stem from heavier bands. Nine Inch Nails, Marilyn Manson, Dillinger Escape Plan, Slayer, Metallica, Sabbath. Recently, I was fortunate to be welcomed into the home of Ronnie Dio and his family for Easter. Dio’s voice has always been one of my personal favorites, and his career is inspiring. He was a staple in the metal world and of rock as a whole. Meeting and speaking with him was amazing. My heart goes out to Wendy and his family and friends. He’ll truly be missed.

Great Philosophers, Parties & Rock Stars

This has been a very crazy week for me, and Friday needs to be Saturday, so I’m going to keep this brief. It’s almost like a great cloud of volcanic ash is preventing thoughts from flying around my head. A great philosopher, inspector Harry Callahan, sometimes known as Dirty Harry, once said, “A man’s got to know his limitations.” Six days in a row, getting up at 7am after attending the most important parties ever, has left me limp. I will muster enough strength to attend Danny Tenaglia’s birthday party at Pacha Saturday night. He’s one of the truly nice guys in the biz, and Danny’s DJ career is 30 years wonderful. Whenever some whippersnapper know-it-all proclaims the end of the mega-club era, I say go to an event like this. Only a Pacha and M2 (thankfully re-opened) or a Webster Hall have the systems, the sight lines and, of course, the space to host this type of party. The small clubs never experience the orgasmic frenzy that the super clubs are built for.

Speaking of super clubs — oh, I got that wrong — its’ Juliet Supper Club. I attended the BlackBook/Joonbug soiree there last night. My bestest blogger belle Brittany Mendenhall was harassing my Blackberry to attend. She is much larger than me and seemed determined, so I went. I shook hands with Scallywag and Vagabond’s Christopher Koulouris, who is way more pleasant than anyone says. I like him. Kristina Marino of Downtown Diaries reminded me of her party on May 6, and I swore I’d attend. I usually don’t know what I’m doing in the next hour, but I’ll try. I wanted to talk to Juliet owner Jon B about the design job over at Greenhouse. He has me and my partner Marc Dizon doing it, but I couldn’t find him in the crowd. Me and mine headed into the night to split a hot fudge sunday at the nearby Empire Diner. I knew there was a reason why I like Juliet.

Bobby Steele, the brilliant brash leader/singer/guitarist of hardcore innovators The Undead, is putting out another record, I Want You Dead. I met Bobby back in the day, right after he left the Misfits. I helped him with management for a minute. I was with him when he got signed to Stiff Records, which demised about a month later. His career has been like that: a claw to the next level and a fall back. Bobby Steele is a true hardcore/punk legend and clawing and scrapping and grasping for straws is the natural state. From it comes a purity that escapes those who have never known a squat or played rooms the size of an Oldsmobile. Even when they amputated a toe he wasn’t deterred. His next offering, 9 Toes Later, displayed the unstoppable grit and streetwise talent that have always defined him. Bobby Steele is a rock star. He may not have the castle or the platinum records, but he is the real deal. His unwavering loyalty to his genre insured a limited financial success, but undeniable street cred. Like Danny Tenaglia, Bobby is celebrating 30 years doing his thing. Catch him when he plays out and you might for a second understand the sound, the look, the visceral feeling that spawned a great deal of the rock scene of the last three decades.

Lastly, 100 years ago this week another great philosopher named Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain) passed away. I constantly read his quotations to brighten dreary days or moods. Here are 10 of his quotations that may greatly help myself and my fraternity of bloggers.

1) “Get your facts first, then you can distort them as you please.” 2) “There are basically two types of people. People who accomplish things, and people who claim to have accomplished things. The first group is less crowded.” 3) “To succeed in life, you need two things: ignorance and confidence.” 4) “When I was younger I could remember anything, whether it happened or not.” 5) “The most interesting information comes from children, for they tell all they know and then stop.” 6) “The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug.” 7) “Substitute “damn” every time you’re inclined to write “very.” Your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be.” 8) “The more you explain it, the more I don’t understand it.” 9) “Action speaks louder than words but not nearly as often.” 10) “It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.”

Anti-Smoking Inspectors Adopt Hip Disguises

The health department’s gone undercover — and their new inspectors are “younger and hipper-looking than the stereotypical bureaucrat,” reports The New York Times. Why should healthy department spies need to dress up quite so much, just to ferret out nicotine junkies?

“They have had difficulty gaining access to the clubs when patrons are actually smoking.

‘Some of the clubs where smoking is going on tend to be very, very cool clubs, and a bunch of guys showing up in jackets tend to be very, very uncool,’ said Thomas Merrill, general counsel for the health department.”

Not anymore, kids. Not anymore. Now, the team “[works] into the wee hours, posing as patrons and hunting for tolerance of smoking by clubs’ employees.” And their tight jeans and extra vigilance are paying off: Exhibit A: the potential, disputed closure of M2. Exhibits B through P: the 15 other clubs and bars the department has recommended the Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings revoke the licenses of.

According to Daily Intel however, the still inspectors might not be hip enough:

“As soon as the Times published that article, I knew there was going to be a crackdown,” says Joey Morrissey, M2’s managing owner. For a mayor who’s admitted he scowls at smokers on the street, the Times story couldn’t have been easy to ignore. But tight door policies prevent health inspectors from consistently entering some of the upscale venues like Goldbar that were featured in the article; instead they’ve targeted larger, more accessible clubs like M2. After the story, Morrissey says, city officials hung around “every night we were open for two weeks.”

While mega-monstrosities like M2 and anything goes grunge/hipster mainstay Lit Lounge are fair game, higher-end venues are just as shielded as before. Hence, those with the money and the preference for sleek are free to run wild. The rest — the people who can actually get into places like M2 — are subject to the law. If Bloomberg’s forces are going to truly derail New York nightlife and police our vices, they’re gonna have to step it up.

In Good Faith: M2 Owner Reacts to Smoking Closure

As early as this Thursday, Administrative Judge Alessandra F. Zorgniotti will decide the fate of M2 nightclub. The lunacy of the smoking crackdown has begun. Whether the city will be allowed to close M2 and half a dozen other places (to start) is to be determined. It’s a circus that puts the livelihood of over 300 employees at risk and threatens a $6 million investment, not to mention $2 million in tax revenue enjoyed by our metropolis each year. I caught up with M2 owner Joey Morrissey and got his perspective.

What happens if you lose this thing? If we don’t get the result we want, then we will appeal to a higher court.

Why are you talking to me now as a decision looms? The health department has been running a PR campaign accusing us of blatantly disregarding the law. This is not true.

How is it going? Well, a health department official was just caught lying on the stand, and Judge Zorgniotti said some things in a cleared courtroom that indicated she wasn’t going to close the business down.

Tell me about the health inspector lying on the stand. He said he didn’t enter the premises, which isn’t true. On January 7, two undercover inspectors tried to enter M2. At that time of night, we only let in people we know very well or people who are willing to buy bottles, spend a lot of money.

Many clubs do that. Letting in strangers late at night can be risky as they are often drunk and/or desperately looking for women. It can negatively impact the dynamics of a night that is going well. So these two didn’t get in, and the inspector came over and showed his badge and walked the other guys in. He said, on the stand, that he went back to his car, when in fact he proceeded to go inside with my head of security. He went up to the mezzanine level, which was not open that night; he told my security guy to turn off his radio so he wouldn’t alert staff. From up there he could observe the whole room. He saw some people light up, but in a few moments security approached them and asked them to put it out. This happened a couple of times, and even though he said he never entered the premises, he filed a report — which we obtained — that said there were no violations. The health department said they couldn’t find this report, but we got a copy. On subsequent visits the health department said that they saw three smokers when we had a thousand people in the building. Another night we had 1,500 people in, and they saw three smokers; another night when we had 1,800 people, they saw five people smoking, and on the gay night, “Alegria,” when we had over a 1,000 people they saw four people in four hours.

How many security guards do you have, and what other anti-smoking measures do you take? We have anywhere from 40 to 60 security guards. We have over 60 “No Smoking” signs; we have security briefings where the importance of enforcement is discussed vigorously, and we provide a smoking area. When we called 311 to ask if they could send a cop to write tickets to patrons who violate, the lady told us they would just come over and write a ticket against the establishment.

If they would actually go in and write a $300 fine to patrons, word would get out pretty fast and the public would stop. Yes. At Madison Square Garden, Radio City Music Hall, Yankee Stadium or on the subway, that’s what happens. They don’t ticket Yankee Stadium, just the fans.

Doesn’t the law say you must make a good-faith effort to stop smoking? Good faith means you’re in compliance. That’s right. If we weren’t doing our job, it would be like the old days when half the place was smoking. We hired a court-approved monitoring service to observe our security to see if they were doing a good job. They are unbiased and testified that we have made a good-faith effort.

That sounds like case closed. We think so.

You took over the biggest joint in the city that had just failed as Mansion, and before that as Crobar and Mezmor. I believe you turned it around in a failing economy. We pay over $2 million a year to the city in real estate and sales tax, plus we employ over 300 people. I put $6 million into this place; there will never be a place like it opened again. Who would invest that much money in a place if the city can close it just like that? Who’s going to risk it?

What is the atmosphere like? Very hostile in the beginning … seems like they were under pressure to find fault and never notice how good of a job we were doing.

Photo: Patrick McMullan

M2: First Casualty of NYC Smoking Ban?

We’ve bemoaned the smoking crackdown for quite some time: we ranted, we raved and with a little (misguided?) inspiration, even tried “quitting.” Now, The New York Times reports that Bloomberg’s forces may be one step closer to “winning:” M2 went on trial last week, and if all goes according to plan, the club could be shut down as early as this Thursday — making it the first venue to go down in non-smoking flames. Though we might not weep over M2’s demise (see above), the mega-club’s 300-plus employees are sure to feel otherwise. It’s a cruel irony that the very people Bloomberg is trying to protect from workplace smoking are facing unemployment. The fate of the Health Department’s other targets — Lit Lounge, The Box, and other venues to be determined — is still up in the air.

Also in limbo is the our freedom to smoke outside. A comprehensive ban on public smoking in parks and beaches was proposed as a part of health commissioner Thomas Farley’s 41-page report “Take Care of New York 2012”: “The New York City proposal would affect more than 1,700 parks, playgrounds and recreational facilities, as well as the city’s seven beaches, which span 14 miles of shoreline.”

Unsurprisingly, the proposed ban is having quite the affect already. The Third Reich has been referenced. Charming new names have been proposed. “Nanny State” is the buzz. Perhaps the most insightful response? “This is New York City we’re talking about,” commented University and State. “There is no such thing as clean air.”

Where Celebs Go Out: Richard Gere, Don Cheadle, Ethan Hawke, Wesley Snipes

1. Richard Gere, at the premiere of Brooklyn’s Finest: My favorite restaurant has to be the Bedford Post. 2. Don Cheadle: BOA, in L.A. 3. Ethan Hawke: Manganaro’s, on 9th Avenue. 4. Wesley Snipes: That’s gotta be home. My wife is an excellent cook! Where do I like to go? Oh, La Dinastia, the Cuban-Chinese restaurant on 72nd, near Broadway. 5. Hoda Kobt: I love 21 Club. I love Tabla. I love Shake Shack, just their burgers. ‘Cause the first time I saw a line, I thought, ‘Who would wait in a line this long for a burger?’ And then I realized, ‘I would.’ There’s something about the size, the texture; they’re moist, they’re delicious. And I like Kefi — on Columbus — the best, best Greek food ever, delicious.

6. Antoine Fuqua: Carmine’s. They have Carmine’s in New York and L.A. 7. Richard Belzer: I hang out in bed with my dog! West Branch is one of my favorites. It’s up here on the west side on 77th and Broadway. And all of Drew Nieporent’s restaurants. Yeah, I get around. 8. Wade Allain-Marcus: I go to a spot like Legion in Williamsburg. It’s a bar. It’s a beautiful thing. 9. Nicoye Banks: I like the Hudson. The Hudson’s always good. The Mandarin has a nice lounge on the 35th floor, if you really want to relax, look at Central Park, be smooth. Good restaurant — Parlor Steakhouse on 90th and 3rd. 10. Grizz Chapman: Actually, I work. I don’t really hang out too much. Favorite restaurant is The Palm, the one on the east side. Being that my diet has changed, my favorite dish would, probably, just be vegetables and chicken. 11. Kevin “Dot Com” Brown: I don’t get a chance to hang out, like I used to. I come to these events, and I never remember the name — I just follow the flyer; whatever address is there; I just follow the address. But I never remember the names of the venues. And when you’re not at an event? City Island. I go to Sammy’s — I go to Sammy’s seafood in City Island, and I overeat! 12. Andre Brown: I hang out at the Rose Bar, the GoldBar, Juliet — that’s about it. 13. Daymond John: Restaurants: I always go to Nobu, Blue Ribbon. Bars, I go to Tenjune. Clubs — well, Tenjune’s like a bar and a club — I go to the Greenhouse and I go to M2. 14. Shannon Kane: Wow! I don’t really hang out at a lot of clubs or anything like that, but I have some really great restaurants in L.A. One of them is El Cholo, a Mexican restaurant. Any favorite dish? The vegetarian burrito, and the fresh guacomole — they make right in front of you. 15. Michael Martin: I used to love Bar Code. It’s, actually, gone now. I love club Amnesia, great place. The Tunnel is gone now. Tammany Hall — that’s a great one. 16. Wendy Williams: Victor’s — Cuban food. 17. Sherri Shepherd: There’s a restaurant on 56th, between 8th and 9th called Bricco’s. And it’s just a nice, little family restaurant, and I go there with everybody because they got fresh Italian food, and the owner — oh, my gosh — he kisses you like you’re the most amazing woman in the world! 18. John D’Leo: John’s Pizzeria in the village has, probably, the best pizza in New York. 19. Carrie Lowell: Bedford Post — the restaurant we own. 20. Lili Taylor: I love Bar Pitti. I like the Cuban restaurant in Harlem on 125th. Sylvia’s Soulfood in Harlem. 21. Bethenny Frankel: I like Kraft. I like the Strip House. I like Abe and Arthur’s. I like steakhouses. I need meat on the bone. I need to feed the baby! 22. D’brickashaw Ferguson: Probably, Junior’s. In Brooklyn? Yeah, gotta represent! Other than the cheesecake, I’m a big fan of their barbecued chicken. 23. Ellen Barkin: I don’t have [a favorite restaurant]. 24. Lena Olin @ “Remember Me” premiere: My favorite restaurant in the city is Nobu! 25. Gregory Jbara: The Standard Grill right now is open now till four o’clock in the morning, and they have a phenomenal menu. They have great waitstaff and you can always get a great meal, after the rest of the town is shut down. I’d recommend the oysters. They have a phenomenal selection of east-coast oysters. Also, they serve an appetizer of dried-crust cheese with English radishes. And you look at it on the table and you go, ‘What am I supposed to do with that — plant a garden?!’ And then you taste it, and you go, ‘This is a brilliant, original way to start a meal.’ Corner Bistro has the best burgers, but, if you want the best glass of wine and want to sample wines, you go to Dell’anima, which is down just south of 14th on 8th Avenue. 26. Peyton List: I love going to Dylan’s Candy Bar. I always go there and get treats or chocolates. I, actually, love the bakery called “Baked.” They have the best Chocolate Cloud cookies. What’s that? It’s a chocolate cookie, and it’s really thick and I love it, ’cause it’s so chocolatey, and I love chocolate! 27. Greg Bello: Oh, Jesus! Oh, I can’t give away all those secrets; then everyone’s gonna find out and they’re not going to be hot anymore. I don’t know what to tell you! Actually, probably, the Boom Boom Room is the hottest room in the city right now. 28. Allen Coulter: Del Posto, Peasants, Ouest –said with a French accent, but I can’t do it, Barney Greengrass. 29. Tate Ellington: ‘Cause I live in the Williamsburg area, one of my favorite places is DuMont. DuMac and Cheese is one of the greatest meals I’ve had in New York. There’s a place called Barcade which is pretty wonderful, as far as a bar, but it’s gettin’ a little packed, nowadays, but it’s a good place and the bartenders are nice. Huckleberry Bar is a nice, little cocktail lounge. 30. Peggy Siegal: Oh, I like the Monkey Bar. I like the new Jean-Georges restaurant at The Mark Hotel. I like 21, the Four Seasons, Michael’s, the Waverly Inn, the Standard Hotel. What else have I missed? I don’t know. Any favorite dishes? No, I’m always on a diet!

Julez Santana’s Birthday Bash! Now With Video!

Would anyone (including us) care about this rather lightweight looking “brawl” that broke out at M2 if it weren’t the birthday party of rapper Juelz Santana? Probably not. We use the term lightweight because the guy in the fedora got right back up after supposedly being beat up by a bunch of guys who think fighting at clubs isn’t the worst. But the sad fact is that it was Juelz Santana’s birthday, and therefore this video is elevated to national importance. We’d be surprised if the FBI hasn’t already confiscated it so they can indict M2 for ruining an okay rapper’s birthday celebration. Also, a guy named Maino was there.

In other TMZ video news, this is actual footage of LeBron James leaving the Jay-Z concert at MSG last night to chants of “New York.” But wouldn’t it make a great Nike viral ad?