Now it’s serious. The re re-election of Michael Bloomberg seemed inevitable until actual election results showed it to be a close call. Although most people I know would have thought he did a great job if he went quietly into the night after his second term, the “redefining” of the election rules allowing him a third term left most squirming. Back in my poli-sci college years — yes, we used stone tablets, and Fred Flintstone and Barney Rubble were my dorm-mates — we thought that the best form of government was a benevolent dictatorship. Well, let’s hope that is correct, for we certainly have one now. Mayor Mike has certainly been better for clubs than Rudy Giuliani, but despite what most people believe, I say Rudy was way better than David Dinkins. Under Giuliani, there was at least a dialogue, and business considerations were … considered. You could get the ear of someone making decisions. It wasn’t always perfect, but it wasn’t usually a disaster. The Dinkins administration was a mess. Community groups and special interests rammed through their agendas, and as I remember it, nightlife fell victim to this bureaucratic anarchy.
The last year under Bloomberg, club life has been better for most. Some clubs, such as Pacha, seemed to be under constant attack by the city’s bulldogs, but a day in court cleared things up, and Pacha thrives once again. Clubs, bars, and fusion restaurant/lounge joints have sprung up all over in the last year as a working relationship between the nightlife industry and the municipal gods seems to have been brokered. A new state liquor authority honcho seems to pave the way for better times. Even community boards, normally a rubber stamp “no” to most new license applications, have mellowed out as of late.
Bloomberg’s monumental act banning smoking in 2003 had more side affects than the secondhand smoke banished by the legislation. As smokers poured out of the clubs and into the streets to enjoy a smoke, neighbors were treated to the loud idle chatter and laughter of revelers outside their windows. Clubs’ security guards have proven ineffective in curtailing the noise, and this conflict needs to be addressed. What I would like to see happen during Mayor Mike’s third term is firstly the allowance, finally, of the “paid detail.” Banks, shoe stores, even private events can hire a uniformed police officer under the “paid detail” program. Clubs have been denied access to these officers, even though they could greatly improve relationships between joints and their neighbors. A man or gal in blue can order a cab to stop honking, he or she can convince loud patrons to keep their banter to a whisper, they can stop disturbances from escalating to a brawl, and they would be a protective entity on blocks deterring pickpockets, litterers, and even those who might want to take a quick tinkle on a lamp post. In the past, the administration cited possible corruption of their officers and denied the availability of the paid detail to night spots. Let’s hope this is reconsidered.
Secondly, the repeal of the nuisance abatement act. Cops go into places undercover, purchase small amounts of drugs, go to court, say that the club is a clear and present danger to the public, and get a judge to shut the joint down. This always happens on a Friday night, so clubs lose their weekend revenues and are therefore punished before a hearing decides the value of the police action. Under this administration, clubs can be shut down and harassed without due process. Armies of city officials basically invade clubs in the middle of a night. Flashlights are pointed in taxpayers’ faces, IDs double-checked, bars inspected for violations, fruit flies are sought out, pounds of paperwork are meticulously pored over. All in all, it’s a very police-state-like happening. The resulting tickets often result in serious fines, suspensions, or even closure. Now, there certainly is a need to regulate nightlife. There are bad eggs operating out there. Here’s hoping this new term brings fair play to the administration of nightlife.
Now it’s serious. The Yankees are back home and need to end this thing. From a nightclub point of view, the fall classic is not a great thing, as games go late and everybody is watching. If they win, people will go out and celebrate, but most have already hoisted a few at home or at local bars or parties. If they lose, some will certainly want to drown their sorrows, but many will stay home to sulk. I love baseball — in fact, it’s the only sport I watch at all. Back in the day when I would have a place, I liked to talk shop with players who would come by from time to time. Once, a superstar outfielder and his playmates told me that “home field” advantage was a bunch of bunk. He said that baseball players have been hitting, throwing, and catching on all sorts of fields under all sorts of conditions since they were babies. It doesn’t matter if they’re here or there or if the park is this big or that small. For the most part, they’re so synched in, concentrating on the moment, that they don’t notice the yelling or cheers.
The biggest advantage the home team has is they are home with their wives and girlfriends. Players told me the opposing team of young rich studs is out every night whoring and drinking and having a good time. My experience suggests there is truth to this analysis. I have carried all-star pitchers up precarious stairways in questionable states at 5am and watched them flame out on the mound during their 1:30pm start the next day. I saw one hero night after night partying hearty until he couldn’t throw the ball anymore. I’ve seen injured players well enough to get a buzz on, but never returned to the lineup long after their arms have mended. I’ve watched legends falling down drunk at night strike out 4 times the next day while their drinking-mate teammate dropped a foul pop-up. I saw a visiting team centerfielder have nine drinks and be barely able to stand up in the outfield the next day — in the World Series. He went to one knee a number of times while his pitcher warmed up.
I’ve seen rehabbed married idols leave my club drunk with a questionable lady who told me the next day she cut up their cocaine with his credit card. I’ve saved marriages by chasing stripper chicks from players’ tables because wives were “coincidentally” showing up for a dance. Clubs don’t burn their sports stars. I’ll never tell which three Hall of Fame quarterbacks dropped their pants while dancing on tables and wagging their willies to the DJs offerings. We need our stars to be above all that. We need them to be the purist warriors. Now it’s serious. The World Series game 6 will keep many of us home tonight. It’s a great opportunity to get a meal at that hard-to-get-in restaurant which might be impossible after the boys of summer have gone.