Look, I hope you won’t be insulted if I keep this short today. I am way too busy to chat or be profound or funny or whatever it is I am doing these days. I got to get to the 17 Stanton space, formerly called The Elsinore, to finish up with the construction so you guys can go oooh and ahh or say …"What in God’s name was he thinking?" According to Scott Solish at Eater yesterday, nobody cares, but sometimes he is a little left of right. I read his take on my column yesterday and noticed just a little error…a right when he should have gone left. He said that Noel Ashman had changed the name. In reality, the name was changed over Noel’s strenuous objections. This will play out, as revelers attend the space and play with tables and bottles and other toys. Seventeen Stanton has a new name, which will be seen and heard sometime in the next few days. The place is almost ready. It feels good-to-go. After this writing and the day-job designing, I’m off to Hotel Chantelle to DJ with Sam Valentine and Michael Tee and a slew of others.. I’ll get home at 6am-ish. I was up at 7am, so it’s a 23-hour day for me. I figure I’ll get all the sleep I need in 20 or 30 years.
I used to tell all my potential first-time nightlife industry employees a little ditty before they actually agreed to come aboard. If you are a regular reader (well, you must be quite irregular for that) you have heard this before… and now you’ll here it again: I told the people working for me to have an exit strategy. The money is good. The people, the celebrities, the action can be an addiction – but the life, except for a few, has an expiration date. When it’s over, you have to have a way to support yourself. It ends when you need a change but no one will hire you because they want younger, or you just can’t put in the hours anymore, or the "distractions" of the night become a real problem. I would tell them nightlife is like a rollercoaster…you pay a little money to get on and the first thing you do is go up a great hill and from there at the top it seems like you can see forever, when in reality you are seeing just a bit more. Then its a fast ride down and around, thrills spill treacherous curves, some screams, some fear, some exhilaration, and when it’s over you end up basically where you started, spent a little time, had some fun. Many creatures of the night are putting themselves through school or are actors or artists or dancers. They are pursuing dreams in a place built on them. They often service stars, people who were just like them a decade ago. Failure and shattered hopes often are a heavy burden as time goes on. Breaking out is hard to do. The odds are stacked against them. Emily Lazar left NY behind to chase her dreams on the left coast. She used to work with me. She’s a rock star trying to let the world realize that.
The Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival, also known as the Moon Festival and the Mooncake Festival, falls on this Sunday, the 30th. While to the Chinese and Vietnamese it symbolizes the fall and harvest time, it also means plenty of parties, feasts, and festivities for New Yorkers.
Downtown, at the Yunnan restaurant Lotus Blue, a 10-course Moon Festival Banquet will commence on Sunday for $88. For this lavish dinner, executive chef Kian Lam Kho will serve stir-fried lobster with green Sichuan peppercorn, crispy chicken with pu’erh tea, pea shoots in peanut broth, and the traditional mooncakes, though his version comes flavored with rose petal and pistachios. They also offer a vegetarian option with lotus root soup and Yunnan pseudo ginseng, fried purple yam, and hot and sour wood ear soup.
At the New Amsterdam Market by the South Street Seaport, they feature Asian-inspired foods by guest chefs and market venues, including chef Simpson Wong from Wong and Wasan. Brooklyn Cured will make banh mi, Home by the Range has tom kha gai down, and Black Tree Sandwich will whip up bulgogi. If you just want an excuse to gorge on traditional mooncakes all day, you can pick some up at Fay Da Bakery.
Finally, what is a festival without a parade? At Sara Roosevelt Park (between Canal Street and Forsyth Street) the 10th Annual Autumn Moon Festival and Children’s Lantern Parade will commence at 11am and go until 5pm, which includes traditional performances, food stalls and a glorious dragon cake made by people from the Cake Boss that will feed 1,000 people after the parade. Now that, is a cake to celebrate.