Atlantic City, After Sandy

Tomorrow many of us give thanks for our families, our health, and the food at the table; but while we feast in comfort, areas of New York and New Jersey have yet to bounce back after Hurricane Sandy. One place that does have something to be thankful for is Atlantic City and many of the businesses there, which, miraculously, didn’t suffer as much damage as you might think.

“Thankfully we were not structurally affected,” said chef Alain Allegretti, a partner at Azure by Allegretti in Atlantic City. “Besides being closed for a total of 12 days, the only problem we had was contaminated water.” John Meadow, a principal/founder at LDV Hospitality, which owns and operates three restaurants at Revel Resorts, mirrored that sentiment and said, “The overall theme [of the hurricane] seems to be that it’s terribly devastating in the surrounding areas, but in Atlantic City you couldn’t see any effect. We lost food when we shut down, but Atlantic City proper is surprisingly in good shape.”

The worst damage to the area occurred in the residential area, ABC reported:

“The Atlantic City Boardwalk that was washed out by Hurricane Sandy is an area limited to the Boardwalk fronting the Absecon Inlet only,” Thomas R. Gilbert, District Commander of the Atlantic City Tourism District, told ABC News following our initial report on the damage. “That small section of the Boardwalk is located in South Inlet, a prominent residential section of Atlantic City.”

While everyone just assumed the glitzy, seaside gambling town was washed away, and earlier reports said as much, actually, it’s not too bad. Yes, since most people don’t know that, they haven’t had much business since Hurricane Sandy. 

“People think it’s under water, but that’s not the case,” said Meadow. “Business has been significantly hurt by virtue of this general fear factor.”

Meadow isn’t callous to his neighbor’s plight, he said, “You don’t think about having good steaks, good wine, and whole fish when your neighbor just lost his house.” However, he mentioned the majority of their customers that first week were people who had just lost everything and needed a little escape from the wreckage.  

Now, he and other Atlantic City business owners are urging others to take break from reality and head to the one part of the New Jersey shore that survived the storm. In the end, it appears a little debauchery pays off.

Beyoncé Opens Atlantic City’s Revel, Is Back to Business

On Saturday afternoon I got to experience the hell that is Port Authority for the first time, but I kept telling myself as I stood at a directory with absolutely no idea where to go that all of the madness was worth it: in just a few hours, I’d be in the same room as Beyoncé, who was playing the second of four shows to celebrate the opening of Revel, Atlantic City’s new resort that is attempting to bring the sophisticated debauchery of Vegas to the Jersey Shore. The four-show event was dubbed "Back to Business," and it was clear that the boss was ready for action.

First of all, my companion Maura Johnston (whose review you can read here) and I were in the seventh row in the orchestra, close enough that I am certain that not only did Beyoncé see my face but that we also made eye contact and she is aware of my existence. No, seriously. I am convinced of this. I was very, very close to the stage, as you can see in the image below:

Sure, Bey didn’t blow me a kiss or anything (as she did to Sasha and Malia Obama, who sat with friends in the front row of the VIP box just above my seat, dancing and singing along with the rest of the crowd), but I’m pretty sure I made an impression. Have you ever locked eyes with one of the most famous and talented people in the world and so clearly had a deep connection with them in the brief moment you shared before they had to go stage-right and do their signature shoulder pop and booty-shake? No? I’m so sorry to hear that! 

Grey Goose Outside Insiders: Ashley Williamson, Revel with a Cause

The scene at Revel in New York’s Meatpacking District really heats up in the summer, but mixologist Ashley Williamson never loses her cool. The former ballerina knows all about grace under pressure, always remaining focused on making guests feel comfortable with every aspect of the nightlife experience. “You’ve got to provide them with all the amenities they can’t — or don’t think to — give themselves,” says the North Carolina native. “That includes music, lighting, and mind reading.” We chatted with Williamson to get the lowdown on entertaining under the stars in one of the most welcoming open-air spots in Manhattan.

BlackBook: Where are you from? I was born in South Florida, and grew up in North Carolina, where I did the usual kid stuff – cow tipping, tractor riding, tobacco spitting, making moonshine in the bathtub. (Kidding!) What kinds of jobs did you have prior to working at Revel, and how did you end up there? I was a ballerina for many years, and I worked bartending and waitressing jobs to supplement my income when I moved to the city. Eventually, I fell out of love with dance and in love with the restaurant industry. The job here at Revel was by chance, really. I spoke with one of the former managers and she instantly decided that here is where I needed to be. I couldn’t argue — the space is stunning. Revel has one of the best outdoor spaces in New York. What’s it like working there on a beautiful summer day or night? After some time you definitely take it for granted. Then, you have this really long day in the office and you walk upstairs and it’s just getting dark, the tree is lit, and there’s this romantic, early evening buzz. That’s when it always hits me. It’s a great place to work. A permanent vacation job. How is it different outside than inside? Because most of the space is outside, people tend to just let go and have fun. They are relaxed, but it is definitely loud and lively. It’s a garden party every night, which, in this city, is treasured ground. And drink orders are directly reflective of the weather. Light and refreshing in the summer, warm and cozy in the winter. What are your tips for making sure people are having a good time? You have to become as knowledgable as possible. When a guest says “I don’t know what I want,” you know what questions to ask and where the answers will lead you. How about entertaining at home. Do you have any tips for making your guests feel comfortable and have fun? 1. Don’t obsess! No one cares if you have 10 different types of glassware for the same cocktail. 2. Get innovative. You don’t need a million bucks to throw a good party. Roast a pig on your roof. Have a projector playing ’70s porn, or Planet Earth. Theme your pot luck something other than “Mexican.” 3. And have fun. Once you relax, your guests will, too. What do you do to relax when you’re off the clock? When I’m not working, I do a lot of yoga, play with my puppy, and frequent my favorite restaurants/cocktail spots in Brooklyn. Especially ones with great outdoor seating.

What cocktail can you recommend for keeping cool and feeling good on a summer evening? The French Poire Fizz: 1 1/2 oz Grey Goose La Poire vodka, 1/2 oz St. Germain, and a splash of fresh lime juice. It’s topped with prosecco and served up. It’s an easy drink to serve pitcher style for parties as well, and it tastes like heaven.

Grey Goose Outside Insiders: Brasserie Beaumarchais, Revel, RdV

Check out our Outside Insider interviews with the best and brightest in New York nightlife. Featured folks include Corey Lane at Brasserie Beaumarchais, Ashley Williamson at Revel, and Kelsey Mathes at Brass Monkey.

Morning After Beauty: Brunch Looks @ Revel

It’s brunchtime at Revel, the ital-eatery in the Meatpacking with the awesome patio and clubby morning atmosphere. I have to imagine the people who choose to attend a clubby brunch in the Meatpacking are craving the hair of the dog after a night of attending clubby clubs in Meatpacking, which has me pondering how these people look so pulled together, if not freshly scrubbed. A Saturday-morning brunch usually finds me in a variation of the same makeup from the previous night, smooshed under a baseball cap and sunglasses. Follow these partier’s lead for pretty roll-out-of-bed looks to save face the next time you’re following a night of drinking with a day of drinking.

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This is a silly recommendation for people who actually have a bit of style, but I always forget how much smarter a knit cap is compared with my usual baseball cap. Bed head or not, these guys make not caring look enthusiastic (which doesn’t work in Williamsburg and parts of the LES, but does for the MePa).

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Second-day hair is actually the best (though I’m more of a third- or fourth-day person myself). If your hair from the night before still looks great but smells a bit like cigarette smoke or is slightly greasy, use a scented hair powder. I live for Umi’s sweet smelling hair powder.

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The next best thing to second-day hair is a slick pony. I try to refrain from using the word “chic,” but that’s what it is. Put a little pomade (I said a little, Adam Lambert) to keep it sleek all day and night.

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This gorgeous gal does the impossible and proves you can do a smokey eye in the glaring light of day. Use a gray shadow instead of a khol and keep the color close to the lash line. And unless you’re name is Snookie, ease up on the liner.

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Ornamentation can go awry when you’re drunk-dressing, so be careful not to load up on too many headbands/scarves/sequined beanies. However, headbands and headscarves are an awesome way to tame hair while looking a bit dashing as they take the focus off of the tequila bags under your eyes.

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Speaking of bags under your eyes, who wants to put in contacts when they need to make it past the puffiness? Invest in a pair of glasses you actually like and give your eyes a rest.

Photos lovingly lifted from Kirill Was Here and Guest of a Guest.

NYC: All the Week’s Parties, New Year’s Eve Edition

It’s Wednesday! What are you doing just sitting there? You should be out! Running around, wheeling and dealing with the ‘in’ clubs and high traffic restaurants for a better deal on your prix fixe, four course, four hour premium open bar NYE pre-packaged evening, or at least working at the second job you picked up just to pay for the special night. That’s just the way it is, New Yorkers. Recession be damned, if you want to go anywhere even semi-hoppin’, you have to throw down major green just to step out your door. But alas, dear reveler, we have an easy to manage round-up of Thursday night’s festivities, with pricing included. To buy tickets for New Year’s Eve events in New York and elsewhere, check out Joonbug and NewYearsEve.com.

Boom Boom Room: New Years Eve at the Top of the Standard. Time: 9:00 pm – 4:00 am. Price: $250 for standing room. Details: The Studio 54 of 2009 will feature a performance by Courtney Love. This may be your only chance to buy your way in. Revel: Day & Night Winter Wonderland. Time: 9:00 pm – 1:00 am. Price: $125 for a premium open bar from 9pm to 1am. Details: The Koch brothers were pioneers of the day and night in the ’00s, now VIP dinner reservations (up to 10K for a group of 30) will more than mimic their epic brunch shit shows.

Avenue: New Year’s Eve. Time:10:00 pm – 2:00 am. Price: $175 for GA. Details: Getting past Wass, priceless.

Hotel on Rivington: New Years Eve Party. Time: 9:00 pm – 12:00 pm. Price: $150 for GA, with an open bar from 9:00pm to 2:00am. Details: Sure, the hot tub is tiny and a total gimmick, but the roof is gold on a night like NYE.

Juliet: Supperclub New Year’s Eve 2010. Time: 9:00 pm – 4:00 am. Price: Call for pricing information. Details: This is a great place to fist pump your way into the New Year.

Tenjune: New Years Eve. Time: 9pm- 4am. Price: $150 per person, including premium top shelf open bar starting at 9 PM, $200 a ticket includes your own table, complete with 1 bottle of vodka, 1 bottle of champagne & waitress service for the night. VIP tickets are priced at $250, and this includes 1 bottle of vodka, 1 bottle of champagne & waitress service for the night and premiere seating. A special guest performer will also be there to ring in the New Year! Details: Eugene’s hotspot inexplicably still packs some heat, and he wont disappoint. Southern Hospitality: New Years Eve. Time: 10pm- 4am. Price: Tickets start at $80 per person, which includes a top shelf open bar from 10pm-3am, passed hors d’oeuvres, and a champagne toast at midnight. VIP package is $120 per person and guests will be given top shelf open bar from 9pm-3am, stationary hors d’oeuvres, a champagne toast at midnight and party favors. Additionally, VIPs will be treated to table seating for groups, two bottles of vodka, 1 bottle of champagne, and 2 buckets of beer! Ultra VIP Includes Prix Fixe Family Style Dinner including 3 courses for $140 per person. This includes top shelf open bar from 9pm-3am, champagne toast at midnight, party favors, 2 bottles of vodka, 1 bottle of champagne, and 2 buckets of beer. Details: Party starts at 10 PM and will feature live music by DJ Richie, party favors, and 14 HDTVs to watch the ball drop.

1OAK: New Years Eve. Time: 10pm- 4am. Price: $250 for a top shelf open bar from 10pm-2AM, champagne toast at midnight, live music by DJ Phresh. Tables are steep at a minimum $2K-$5K. Details: It’s price gouging at its finest, but it’s one of the finest clubs around. So it goes. Butter Restaurant: The Birchroom Soiree (downstairs). Time: 10pm-2am. Price: $125 per person, guests can enjoy an open bar from 10PM-2AM, stationary hors d’oeuvres, a live feed of ball drop in Times Square and a live DJ. Guests can also purchase a Large Table: $1500 minimum or a Small Table: $750 minimum. Details: A few weeks ago Leighton Meester sang here. A week later a Prince drove a Rolls Royce around the city and stopped in to hob knob here. None of this matters as much as actually being here on NYE. Guastavino’s: Kelly Killoren Bensimon Of The Real Housewives Of New York Hosts New Years Eve 2010. Time: 9pm-3am. Price: General Admission $125 for a 6 hour premium open bar. Details: Cuz it’s not a party unless there’s a housewife.

Tavern On The Green New Years at Tavern On The Green in New York City. Time: 9:30pm-4am 6 1/2 Hours Premium Top-Shelf Open Bar (930pm–4am), 4 1/2 Hours gourmet buffet dinner 9:30pm – 2am, Continental breakfast @ 3am. Price: General admission starts at $250. Details: Tavern’s “Farewell Party.” After 30 years, Tavern is closing it’s doors after this New Years event, so if you’ve yet to experience the awesome view and atmosphere, now’s your chance.

Webster Hall New Years. Time: 8pm-2am Price: $100 for general admission get’s you a 6 Hour Premium Open Bar with MSTRKRFT. Details: This is for the kids. For those who would prefer to be around sweaty, jumping, dancing drunkards and less around buttoned up, black tie, yuppie drunkards.

Roseland Ballroom New Years. Time: 9pm-4am. Price: $120 for general admission get’s you a within earshot of Paul van Dyk. Details: It’s unclear whether it is an open bar, but they do remind you to tip your waitress!