BlackBook Party Tonight, One Of NYC’s Biggest Party Nights Tomorrow

‘Tis the season to be confused as too many events attempt to wash away the memory of the storm that nearly washed us all away and continues to define the lives of so many. The Sandy events will culminate in that Paul McCartney, Bruce, Bon Jovi, Who, Roger Waters, Kanye, Alicia Keys, etc., etc., etc. thingy at the Garden on December 12. I wonder if Kanye will complain about Paul McCartney’s billing or something like that. Kanye is doing three shows at Revel in AC for New Year’s weekend for those who do that.

A couple years ago, New Year’s Eve nights were defined by how long the open bars were and what kind of music was played. DJs are still the stars, but it’s great to see mega, super-duper, uber acts raising the good time bar. I can’t believe its Thanksgiving already. The storm seemed to wipe away the calm before the holiday storm. Up is down and down is up and gee, I have to pay rent already? Uptown comedy club Stand Up NY is taking its show on the road tonight with a one-off (which I’m guessing will eventually turn into a two-off or more) at Hair of the Dog, 168 Orchard St. at Stanton. A whole lot of great comics will bring cheer to your holiday starting at 6pm. You can get tickets here.

My Thursday rock and roll DJ gig at Hotel Chantelle with Sam Valentine is canceled due to turkey festivities, but it’s being pushed forward to Wednesday, tomorrow night. Hope those rockers get the message. 

Tonight, BlackBook has teamed up with Stoli for a Mixers and Shakers event at the Thompson LES on Allen Street. I hear the new hotel they are doing by City Hall is wonderful. I never get invited to these BlackBook things and I’m getting paranoid about it. I’m gonna crash it. Flash my column or something to the intern at the door. 

The confusing-on-purpose Murray Hill and his cohort Linda Simpson will make their Monday night BINGO extravaganza extra-extraordinary this coming Monday again at Hotel Chantelle with a joint birthday celebration. I, of course, never miss a BINGO and I am considering turning pro. I even had BINGO tattooed on my shoulder a couple months ago. I roll like that. 

Tomorrow night, the night before Thanksgiving, is traditionally one of the biggest nights of the year. Many have four or more days off work looming, and many are traveling in to dine with friends and relatives. Many places let college kids take over as they are flush with holiday loot. Others know their patrons will be absent for a moment or more as the snowbirds flock south to mark the Miami season and try to grab all the gusto and cash from them before they leave. Big DJs and quality entertainment abound, but call to see if the joints you usually like haven’t sold out to the frat-boy set. 

So if this is Thanksgiving, then December must be near and I am in no way ready for December. I must remind you as you feast and celebrate that many of our neighbors are still climbing out of the mud. Find time to help, donate, and contribute.

BBQ Ribs & Board Games: Blue Ribbon’s Beer Garden Opens Today In LES

Could it be? A beer garden is now open that offers baby back ribs, cornbread, ping-pong, and board games – and it’s in Manhattan?  Dreams come true, and its the lauded Blue Ribbon team who’s making it happen with tonight’s grand opening of Blue Ribbon’s Beer Garden, right outside the Thompson LES. Just shimmy through the Blue Ribbon Sushi Izakaya to the terrace, and you’ve arrived. 

The same folks who’ve brought us truffle honey sauce-dipped fried chicken & bone marrow at 2am are expanding their deliciousness repertoire with Americana summertime BBQ-inspired dishes, Belgium and Brooklyn beers, and carafes of wine. All the BBQ hen, black-eyed pea salads, coleslaw, grilled veggies, and boiled peanuts will trick you into thinking you’re in Mississippi, on a patio somewhere near a sprawling plantation. But don’t feel fooled. You’re in NY, kid. And you better love it.

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How Was Your Gay Pride?

Yesterday was the 43rd annual Gay Pride Parade in New York City, with celebrities like Cyndi Lauper and politicans like Governor Andrew Cuomo and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn joining thousands of celebratory LGBT community members and their allies. Plenty of floats played Lady Gaga as they rolled down Christopher Street in the West Village (although the most popular parade float soundtrack hit was "Call Me Maybe," natch). But of course, the most important sights were those off the beaten path.

Upon my immediate arrival in the West Village, I was not surprised to see hundreds of proud onlookers trying, like confused hamsters, to navigate the barricaded sidewalks on Sixth Avenue. I made my own way through the maze, finally managing to cross the street so that I could walk over to the nexus of homosexuality: the corner of Christopher and Gay Streets (the gayest intersection on Earth, really). Before I made it through the throngs of tank-topped gays on Waverly, I spotted a skinny blonde girl squatting on the sidewalk, beads hanging from her wrists as she cried into her iPhone. "Happy Pride!" I thought.

Rather than watching the parade, I immediately headed into Pieces to meet my friends. There was a seven-dollar cover which included a free "entry shot," a novelty I by-passed for several full-priced gin and tonics. I suppose the real reason to pay a cover to get into a gay bar on Pride is to be able to use the bathroom, which I guess is worth the money as I am an adult and don’t really like peeing in streets. Also noteworthy: the two times I entered the bathroom, I saw a woman gleefully squatting backward onto a urinal, as there were no toilets in the facility. I’ve seen a lot of crazy shit in the bathrooms of gay bars, but that was probably my favorite sight.

After leaving Pieces and walking back out into the bright daylight, I caught a total of five minutes of the parade. I saw a group holding up signs saying, in all caps, "QUEERS FOR PALESTINE," and then a high-school step team. "I’ve seen everything I wanted!" I thought, as I tipsily wandered back toward Sixth Avenue, where I knew I could find some pizza and avoid being pelted with condoms and tiny rainbow flags. 

After scarfing down a pepperoni slice, I headed over to the Thompson LES, which was hosting a party thrown by the hipster gays Gumbo, the bi-weekly dance party that alternates between Brooklyn and Manhattan locations. They had required an RSVP for the event, and then emailed all RSVPers that such an RSVP did not guarantee admission, which makes me wonder why, exactly, parties such as this one request one in the first place. Never has the idea of waiting in line for an over-crowded bar filled with gay guys enticed me to head out at night. Having said that: we were already out, and figured we’d give it a shot.

We stood on Allen Street outside the entrance behind some silently confused twinks in tank tops and shorts, and finally we asked if they were actually waiting in line to get in. "I guessss?" one of them slurred. In response, two of the braver guys in our party just walked in, and then texted me, "Just say you’re going to the bathroom on the second floor and then you can just take the elevator to the third where the pool is." Seemed easy enough! We did just that, smirking as we walked by the party doorman who had floppy hair and a sleeveless denim jacket. (They run a tight ship over there!) Of course, the party was not as fun as the typical Gumbo event; rather, it was just a gathering of random strangers sitting on the sofas around the Andy Warhol filmstrip pool. In the pool were two people: a beefy dude in short blue trunks, and a very giddy topless woman. So proud! We did not stay long.

There was a time when the pride parade was a good excuse to drink all day in the heat and stay out all night. While I did imbibe quite a bit and stayed out until around midnight, it was still a tame affair compared to my years in Chicago, which always seems much more of a debaucherous parade than in New York. (The cops there turned a blind eye to our red solo cups filled with more whiskey than ginger ale, where as I watched as New York’s finest yelled up at parade watchers and instructed them not to stand on their fire escapes.) The New York parade is also soooo long, with most floats and marching organizations sponsored by corporate entities or political groups. It seems like every year there is a debate about the oversexual nature of the parade, and each year sees fewer assless chaps up on those truck beds. 

Is the parade getting too soft, too corporate, too family-friendly and lazily political? Are we missing out on the activist spirit behind the origins of the event, which was more of a march and less of a parade of the svelte, the muscular, and the beautiful? Have the years of treating the notion of "gay pride" as a party resulted in the blasé attitude that most (including myself) have of the weekend, which is now just an excuse for an entire community to collectively day-drink and shed layers of clothing? It’s an issue I struggle with at the end of every June, and will likely be reminded of next year. There are no immediate answers, obviously, and what I think most of us are pleased with today are the ability to celebrate so openly—and that our hangovers aren’t completely preventing us from accomplishing anything today.

Single in the City: Looking for Love at an Open Bar

I am a 26-year-old single woman living in New York City. Do you find that hard to believe? I sure do, but it’s pretty much my daily battle. The truth of the matter is that I have spent the greater part of the last year and half completely immersed in my job, and often times I have used work as an excuse for not fully living and being open to the possibilities of my own life.

I consider myself a fairly outgoing person, always down for a hang-out sesh with friends and never really having any expectations for a night out on the town. I like to toss back a couple brews; I don’t get wasted and know my limits. When I do go out, however, I usually end up in a circle with my ladies talking ridiculousness or busting out my best dance moves. Do guys like this? Do guys find breaking through the girl power-wall completely intimidating and not worth it? Am I just subconsciously resisting love out of fear? Ugh, probably.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’ve dated. It was just last summer that I dated the wrong person. (Excuse me while I let the reality set in that it’s been almost a year since I was last flung.) I let my guard down and disappointment hit me in the face on the eve of Hurricane Irene. The first person I really liked in nearly two years blinded me with his cheap charisma, believable excuses, and apologetic manner. I call bullshit on those who, in an age when we eat, shit, and sleep with our phones, deems it appropriate not to text or call back in a timely fashion or even at all. It’s just not OK! No one likes this!

I tried the OKCupid thing: I never messaged anyone, never went on any dates. I just sat back with a bowl of popcorn, a glass of wine, and scoured the site for at least one cute guy. This took hours. Eventually I deleted my profile because I got tired of waking up alone with wine mouth. It wasn’t for me, nor was it serving me in the way that it probably should have—which may have been my own fault. (Whatever. I was resisting. Fine.) If OKCupid shot an arrow in your direction, then great, good for you! I mean it, and you probably deserve it.

I am done. In an effort to be confident and not the guarded human I tend to be. I have decided to stop living in a fantasy land, envisioning the perfect romance, and instead become an active participant in my own life. Shit isn’t always just magically going to happen; I have to make an effort to put the work in to make it happen and live the life I know I deserve.

Thursday night my heart and I stepped on over to Flavorpill’s “The Rules of Attraction” party held at Above Allen at the Thompson LES. Upon my arrival I noticed a gigantic line—a gigantic line of CHICKS. I made my way to the back of the line of babes and waited. If you really want to annoy the shit out of me, force me to stand in a line only for the anticipation that the coolest thing ever is just beyond the velvet rope. My friend Janira was beyond late, and I was beginning to realize that I was probably going to have to head into this party solo. I was about two seconds from peacing out, but I forced myself to stay. I had to at least give myself the chance to be open and see what this party was all about.

When I finally got inside (solo), I quickly (and I mean quickly) realized this was not my scene at all. I looked over to the bar, which was swamped with the masses, who were guzzling a little liquid courage courtesy of Tito’s Vodka. As I was waiting to consume a vodka cranberry like it was 2004, I overheard the two dudes behind me exchange these words: “ I am quickly losing interest.” “Free booze and an excuse to be social?” “I guess.” I could tell these guys were likely in the same boat as me, but at least they had each other. Did I talk to them? No, of course not. Thirty minutes later I finally got my drink (which, I am convinced, had no alcohol in it), and I made my way around the crowded party, still on my own. I decided to people watch since it was evident I was not going to talk to anyone. Here are some notes I jotted down during this time.

  • Girl wearing shirt that says “THE FLIRT EXPRESS.”
  • Girls seem like they are dancing for attention and so far no guy in a suit has even looked in my direction.
  • 7:56 pm: cool, I just dropped gum everywhere.
  • Girl eating Cheetos out of the bag—classy.

I texted Janira to find out her whereabouts and warned her that the chances of her getting in were slim. Since she wasn’t missing much I said I would meet her and run to the nearest spot away from this party. Before I left, “Last Dance” came on the sound system (RIP Donna Summer!) This got everyone singing and dancing in typical deceased music icon fashion; it was then, of course, followed up by some Whitney. I mean, don’t we all just wanna dance with somebody? Yes. Yes we do.

Now, I know this was suppose to be an effort in me being “open” and “experiencing,” but I know what I want, and I can’t force fun and conversation if it’s just not there. I left the fluff for those who looked like they may actually be having a good time and met Janira, who had arrived with four lady friends I’d never met. I reassured them that they weren’t missing out on anything going on inside that couldn’t be found outside, to which they were almost relieved because they didn’t have to force being anything other than themselves. Janira’s friend told us of a gallery opening she’d heard about happening in the neighborhood. This was what I was looking for: spontaneous, unexpected fun.

While I didn’t meet the love of my life last night, I was open to just being out and living in this city that has so much to offer. Sometimes you don’t have to put yourself in a situation where there is an expectation of what is supposed to happen. While I know this all has a Drew Barrymore in Never Been Kissed tone, I am begging you: if you have someone awesome and are just scared to fully commit out of fear I ask you to rethink, to live in the now, because the future may just be right in front of you.

I am single, yes. I know what I want, and I wont apologize or trick my heart to think otherwise. I want a man who doesn’t care if I pair leopard print with sparkles, someone who laughs at my jokes and understands that I don’t take things too seriously. Above all else a man who treats me with a little respect, some dignity, and is uninterested in playing games. I know you’re out there, I am ready, I promise I wont resist!

When I got home I did what any respectable woman would do: I took out the garbage (insert metaphor here) and made a gigantic bowl of popcorn.

[Photo: Lorenna Gomez-Sanchez]

New York Opening: Blue Ribbon Sushi Izakaya at the Thompson LES

Perhaps no New York restaurant "empire" has been built as quietly at that of Blue Ribbon. McNally and Batali are forever in the headlines, while the Bromberg Brothers and their Blue Ribbon restaurants have carried on with the business of cultivating the most devout following in NYC. But the new Blue Ribbon Sushi Izakaya will be their first foray into the world of fashionable hotel dining–replacing, as it is, the Susur Lee’s ambitious Shang at the Thompson LES.

The new Blue Ribbon Sushi Izakaya is a fun, shareable plates version of their revered sushi eateries, with communal tables contributing to the buzzy vibe, and an understatedly sexy interior. Fitting, for its location in this ceaselessly hip hotel, expect a cool, late night bar scene.

Startup Social: Fortnighter @ Above Allen

Why doesn’t anyone launch a startup in a dive bar? Is every startup really best represented by a fancy hotel bar? Granted, Fortnighter — a place to order custom-written travel itineraries for $100 and up — is best represented by a fancy hotel bar. In this case, it’s Above Allen at the Thompson LES hotel. I double-checked whether it really cost a hundred dollars to get anything from this site. It does.

On Fortnighter, which soft-launched three weeks ago, you fill out a questionnaire with sliders, checklists, and open text boxes about the types of restaurants, hotels, and activities you want. Then the site picks a travel writer from their network to write you a custom itinerary. One of the co-founders, Justin Kalifowitz, claims they’d already gotten feedback from users saying they got so much for their hundred bucks or two, they felt like they should have paid much more.

I don’t understand this. I do not understand the concept of feeling you have underpaid for information. I didn’t understand it in college when I paid $200 per world-unlocking textbook, and I sure as hell don’t understand it this week, when I freaked the fuck out at a one-hour Wikipedia downtime. My free information was NOT AVAILABLE. I complained on Twitter.

But the real sign you’re smart is knowing how many people are richer and dumber. Or, hell, just richer and busier. At some point it must actually make sense to hire a writer to custom-assemble an itinerary, right?

I never much thought about the economics of this until a stint I did at Gridskipper (then edited by BlackBook’s current editor) around 2007. At the time, Gridskipper was Gawker Media’s travel blog, aimed at jetsetters and written by poor freelancers. The reviews were thus either unhelpful, lies, or revealed the writers’ poor financial habits. Most opinions were stolen from Yelp reviews.

What a perfect moment in the great media switch. At one point, it made sense to pay someone to go on a trip just so they could write about that trip for others. But now you can ask people who went on the trip anyway to write up the experience for free.

So why do it any other way? Why hire writers for custom projects? To make people feel special? That’s probably why you hold a party in a fancy hotel bar, right? Because the guests wouldn’t normally just head to a hotel roof and pay $12 a drink, but you’ve bought out the bar for the first two hours?

Only at some point the open bar ends, and you get to watch people decide whether they care enough about you and your company to pay the $12, or watch some BlackBook freelancer order a seltzer water and see if he blinks when he gets charged $5 (though you don’t have to watch to see if he bitches about the cost to your other guests, because that never doesn’t happen).

The party was friendly but ultimately like all other startup parties: serial startup consultants Rex Sorgatz and Rachel Sklar showed up, as did several members of the ad agency Barbarian Group — where Colin Nagy, one of Fortnighter’s founders, also works. All four founders — Nagy, Kalifowitz, Noah Brier and Alex Basek, who I want to make clear are lovely, smart, confident but self-effacing young men — are just moonlighting with this thing (though one hopes to turn it into a full-time job). Justin and Noah were surprised to find I’d just asked my way into the party; everyone else attending was a friend or a friend’s plus-one, which probably proves that the same ten people are doing everything in New York startup-land.

They handed out sample itineraries at the party. And, well, they read like typical guidebooks. The New York sample is broken down into destinations, which seems less helpful than the walking tours in a Lonely Planet. A sample paragraph:

Take a breather back at the hotel before contemplating your evening out, or relax at the smash-hit Eataly, the sprawling, many-splendored Italian food hall brought to the U.S. by Mario Batali and his partner Joe Bastianich. From reasonably-priced wines and great salumi downstairs to the fantastic new beer garden up top, you can’t really go wrong for a fun happy hour. Mind the locals wielding shopping baskets as weapons. (200 Fifth Ave.)

I’ll ignore the quality of the writing, because it’s a travel book, not a short story. But most of that info is in a free Zagat article from March, except for the beer garden and which floor the salumi’s on. Public travel sites, blogs, Wikitravel, and Yelp make most any paid travel guide ridiculous. My girlfriend planned an entire trip to Switzerland by asking questions of locals and previous travelers on TripAdvisor. Buy a $30 travel guide just to have an easy-to-browse physical anchor, but anything more seems unhelpful, until these custom guides actually get individual. Of course, that logic won’t kill this startup any more than the logic of free seltzer water.

Startup Social evaluates new tech and media startups based on their party-throwing prowess.

(Photo: Maya Baratz)

Are Toronto’s Chefs Biting New York’s Style?

Last year, when slick New York restaurateur Scott Conant brought his flagship eatery Scarpetta to The Thompson Hotel’s Toronto outpost, he did so with the typical bravado of a celebrity chef from Manhattan. Just prior to Scarpetta’s opening, Conant posted an “Open Letter To Toronto” on The Huffington Post, in which the James Beard award-winner introduced himself, his restaurants, and Miami, to Torontonians. “Miami is really beautiful, T-Dot. You should check it out sometime,” he wrote, urging his new friends to visit a city that is (gasp!) a whole three-hour plane ride away. It was just one of many perceived slights that Toronto’s food critics and bloggers accused Conant of. To his credit, the letter wasn’t all condescension and bragadoccio.

Conant praised the “local bounty” of the Niagara Peninsula, and the importance placed on locally-sourced ingredients throughout the region. He also marveled at the lightning-quick flight between cities, saying that it was “shorter than most crosstown cab rides I’ve been on.” But despite Conant’s effusive praise, the damage had been done. Toronto–always the bridesmaid and never the bride when it comes to major North American cities (and especially New York)–was once again left to lick its wounds, and wallow in its own sense of inferiority.

The fact is, Toronto has always been looked at as a vanilla version of New York City. It’s almost impossible not to compare the two metropolises, given their geographical proximity, and their reputations as the centre of all thing media, fashion, business, art, and food in their respective countries. In the 1970’s, Toronto even promoted itself as a cleaner, safer, more livable version of New York. It wasn’t long before Hollywood clued in, and began using Hogtown’s streets as facsimiles of New York’s own grand avenues and tree-lined streets (to this day, prop NYPD squad cars and yellow cabs can be spotted with a film crew not far behind). Toronto continued to encourage its self-appointed title as “The New York of The North,” until Rudy Guiliani arrived and made Gotham safe again. Suddenly, Toronto wasn’t much cleaner or safer at all. Just smaller. Or as Steve Martin flatly put it on a recent episode of 30 Rock: “Toronto is like New York, but without all the stuff.”

It’s been nearly six months since Scarpetta opened its doors, and so far, so good. Despite some initial lukewarm reviews (including a particularly scathing rant courtesy of the Toronto Star’s Amy Pataki, who clearly felt dissed by Conant’s letter), his trattoria has hit its stride, with tables usually booked weeks in advance. It’s a level of success that eluded Susur Lee–Toronto’s marquee culinary star–when he brought his inventive pan-Asian cuisine to Manhattan’s Lower East Side with Shang, almost two years ago (also in The Thompson Hotel). The restaurant received a frosty welcome from New Yorkers, which Lee blamed on the limp economy and their xenophobic taste buds. “People won’t go for chicken feet no matter how many truffles you stuff in there,” he once said. The folks at New York Magazine’s foodie blog, Grub Street, took offense to his remarks, and facetiously invited the chef to Flushing for pig’s blood and intestine soup. We’re guessing he declined, because, like, ew.

Though Shang remains open today (Lee insists that business has improved), the once-invincible restaurateur has returned to Toronto with his trademark ponytail between his legs. Susur’s new den, Lee Lounge, opened this month in the city’s burgeoning King West area (or Toronto’s version of the Meatpacking District according to Thompson co-founder Jason Pomeranc), and figures to perform much better than Shang, because despite a reverence for everything New York, Torontonian’s like to take care of their own. They’re also fascinated by their most celebrated chef’s failure in The Big Apple. There’s a permeating feeling that well, “If he can’t make it there, who can?” In a recent interview with Eye Weekly, Lee was again asked about the New York debacle, and again he blamed the economy, instead of his own food. He was also asked whether or not Toronto tends to copy New York when it comes to food trends. “I wouldn’t say copying, more like inspired by, like in fashion or art,” he told the magazine. But a handful of recent openings in Toronto might suggest otherwise.

Pictured top: Toronto’s Porchetta & Co.

At the end of last year, Porchetta and Co. opened in Toronto’s increasingly with-it Dundas West area, and has taken the city by storm. The sandwich shop specializes in that succulent brand of Italian slow-roasted pork, much like the similarly-named Porchetta, in Manhattan’s East Village. But the parallels between the two don’t end there. Both menus feature porchetta as their star, with greens, beans, potatoes, and soups available as accompaniments. That Porchetta opened over two years ago however, may raise a few eyebrows. “I was going to call my shop Porchetta, and started doing research to see if such a concept existed in Toronto,” said Porchetta & Co.’s owner Nick auf der Mauer, a former cook at Toronto’s foodie pinnacle, Canoe. “Upon further research, I learned about Porchetta NYC. I did take a step back to ask myself if I should keep going through with the concept. I looked more at Porchetta NYC as a window into the future, to see how I thought people would respond to my concept.”

Respond they did, and as to whether or not Toronto chefs tend to copy what their colleagues in New York are doing, auf der Mauer thinks it’s only natural. “It doesn’t bother me that people think Toronto mimics New York, and to a certain extent we do. It will probably always be perceived that way.” He continues, “It makes perfect sense to, as you say, ‘borrow’ ideas from New York. You can save a lot of time and money seeing if certain things have won or lost in New York, but it doesn’t mean that it will play out the same way in Toronto. You still have to take the risk, stick your neck out, and see what happens. I don’t feel that I borrowed the idea, but it did help to see what had already been done in New York. It is impossible to deny the obvious similarities of the two sandwich shops.”

auf der Mauer isn’t the only Toronto restaurateur reaping the benefits of great ideas hatched south of the border. Since opening last summer, The Burger’s Priest in Toronto’s East End has quickly become a destination spot for burger fanatics. Its classic take on the American burger–never-frozen, fresh ground beef cooked on a flat-top grill–is nothing new for most New Yorkers, yet The Priest is the only place of any regard in Toronto that prepares their burgers this way. But it’s the Burger’s Priest’s vegetarian option–slyly called “The Option”–that most mirrors New York City’s burger benchmark, Shake Shack. The patty, constructed out of two portobello mushroom caps, stuffed with cheese, then deep-fried, is a Shake Shack staple, and The Priest’s owner has taken full advantage. To his credit, the native Californian and former seminary student doesn’t hide the fact that he spent considerable time in New York studying the art of the burger, which would explain the shop’s striking similarities to Shake Shack. When asked if The Option was based on Shake Shack’s portobello burger, he simply replied, “I don’t really remember.”

Is it a big deal that Toronto chefs are trying to cash in on New York’s culinary success stories instead of trying to forge their own? Probably not. After all, a Toronto band is only cool after they’ve sold out a show a Williamsburg, and Jeremy Laing–the city’s most famous fashion export–was only a local icon after he showed at New York Fashion Week. When it comes to food, Nick auf der Mauerr probably puts it best: “Specializing in one thing and doing it well is something that every major city in the world can learn from New York. I think as chefs, we look at places like New York for inspiration, and as an amazing place to see what could be the future of food in their home town.” Now if only someone had told that to Susur Lee.

Midnight Snacks: A Few Suggestions For Your Friday Night

Party: Carmen Kass hosts cocktails and hors d’oeuvres to celebrate the launch of beyond7boutique.com with Reet Aus. Time: 5PM-8PM Perks: Music by The Misshapes. More: Dear Carmen Kass, I love you. You could be hosting craptinis in your grandmother’s basement and I would be more than thrilled to go. Also, can we be friends? Thank you for having us, Holly.

Party: Join StyleCaster to celebrate the launch of Qwiki (www.qwiki.com) at Backstage (152 Orchard Street, LES, NYC). Time: 9PM Perks: Music by Neil Jackson + iPad DJ Rana Sobhany. Complimentary cocktails courtesy of VeeV Açaí Spirit. More: Backstage? Qwiki? iPad DJs? I have no idea what is going on here, but I like it. And drinking spirits made from Açaí berries make me feel better about my liver and general lack of concern for it. PS: Space is limited. RSVP: rsvp@StyleCaster.com.

Party: T*n*A at Thompson L.E.S Time: 10PM-2AM Perks: Drink specials, and elbow rubbing with fashion-y elbows. Timo Weiland and Alan Eckstein host. Music by, you guessed it, T*n*A More: Does T*n*A stand for tits and ass, as the old adage goes? Also, you should really think about changing the asterisks to periods. It must be murder to BBM that to your friends mid-drink, amirite?

Party: Franco V’s 4th Birthday Celebration at the Bunker Club. Time: 11PM-4AM Perks: Franco V More: Darling, it’s tacky to pretend to know somebody just to get into the club of the moment, so don’t even think about pulling that trick, not for a second, do you hear me?

Party: Steven Rojas is DJing at the Soho Grand Tonight Time: 10PM-4AM Perks: What a GrandLife, right? More: The grands, Tribeca and Soho, have been powerhouses with staying power. Powerful stuff.

Party: Refresh Refresh Refresh at Happy Ending Time: 8PM-12PM. Perks: Ever wanted to be one of the cool kids on the internet, or just meet them? Those cool kids, including Leon Neyfakh, Katie Baker, Sasha Frere-Jones, Akiva Gottlieb, Nick Sylvester, and Mike Taylor will tell stories. More: I heard about it from the intranets, what does that tell you?

Party: Bear in Heaven plays with Twin Shadow, and Sun Airway at the Music Hall of Williamsburg. Time: 8PM Perks: All bears go to heaven. More:

Party: Tame Impala plays their second consecutive sold out show with Stardeath And White Dwarfs, and Kuroma at Bowery Ballroom Time: 8:00 PM Perks: Tickets will release at 9:30PM, and will also be found on Craigslist, along with everything else you could ever want. More: Video from last night;

Itinerary: Halloween Parties Begin Tonight

Technically, Halloween festivities fired up as early as last week, but New Yorkers really get down to business tonight, extending their weekend via The Bunker Club, or The Gutter, and rolling through the weekend with 1Oak, the Boom Boom Room, and the Hudson Hotel, with some lovely Brooklyn markets and parade options thrown in the mix. Enjoy one of the best weekends in NYC, and remember: next year, Halloween will fall on a Monday.

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Tonight Yelloween Location: The Bunker Club Time: 9pm Veuve Clicquot is hosting their “Yelloween” Halloween party this Thursday night at one of our favorites in the MePa.

Launch Party for the Renaissance Hotel’s RLife LIVE Location: Renaissance Hotel Time: 9pm The Renaissance Hotel is launching a new entertainment/cultural program called RLife LIVE and will feature performances from various RLife LIVE artists including Robin Thicke, Sam Ronson and Solange Knowles. It’s a free national program created for hotel guests and patrons in cities across the country, which allows them to experience the music industry on a more intimate level on site at Renaissance properties.

Scott Sartiano’s Birthday Party Location: 1Oak Time: The usual time parties at clubs start. DJs Jus-Ske and Harley&Cassie help Scott celebrate.

Friday HallowMeme Costume Party Location: The Gutter Time: 8:00pm-2:00am Join Know Your Meme & Urlesque for the 2nd Annual HallowMeme Costume Party. Dress like your favorite meme, viral video subject or other Internet phenomenon. There’ll be free drinks, live performances, giveaways, a photobooth, and awesome prizes for the best costumes.

Saints & Sinners Location: De Santos Time: 10:00pm-2:00am Mandatory costumes with $40 open bar.

Saturday House of Horrors at Santos Location: Santos Party House Time: 9pm Guests include DJ Cobra Starship and Taryn Manning and Eddie the Gun.

Kinda Scary Halloween Party Location: Thompson LES, Shang Time: 9pm Rex Sortgatz hosts a costume party in which guests come as terrifying or spooky media and tech personalities. Prizes awarded for best costume.

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The Bowery Hotel Presents Ghosts of New York Location: The 2nd floor of the Bowery Hotel When: 11pm Celebrating Halloween and the world premiere of Nigh Home, a film by Gary Breslin. Join hosts Johnny Christ, Laura Cooper Brown, Brooke Geahan, Gary Breslin, and Brian DeGraw.

Day & Night present Seven Deadly Sins Time: 12pm-4pm Location: The Oak Room at the Plaza Start celebrating early with brunch at The Oak Room at the Plaza Hotel with the Koch twins.

2nd Annual Haunted Candyland Halloween Location: Le Poisson Rouge Time:10:30pm-3am The Sky Group pairs specialty cocktails with specialty candy and a whole lot of crazy.

Heaven or Hell Party Location: RdV Time: 11pm-3am Jamie-Lynn Sigler hosts this good/evil bash.

GrandLife Halloween Party Location: Tribeca Grand Time: 10pm-4am Hosted by Timo Weiland, Carol Han, Steven Rojas and DJ sets by The Misshapes, Harley&Cassie, and matt + maia.

The Hudson Hotel Presents DJs Jus Ske & Jesse Marco Where: Hudson Hotel Time: 10pm Hosted by 4AM in Hudson Hall.

Library Bar Presents the Tequila Avion Lounge Location: Library Bar at Hudson Time: 10pm-2am Our very own Steve Lewis DJs with Paul Sevigny.

La Roux at Hudson Bar Location: Hudson Time: 10pm-12am 2 hour DJ set by La Roux.

Veuve Clicquot’s Nightmare on 13th St. Location: Bagatelle Time: 8pm Veuve Clicquot throws a their Halloween bash to start off the night right.

image Sunday Halloween Market at Kings County General Store Location: Kings County General Store (125 Fifth Ave. in Brooklyn) Time: 12pm-5pm The local market has drink specials and free admission to the afternoon fall festivities.

Angels and Devils party at The Standard Location: Boom Boom Room Andre Balazs, Andre Saraiva, Olivier Zahm host your good and your bad side at the party of the evening.

Not Your Standard Bingo Location: The Standard Grill Costumes, prizes pre-Boom Boom Room.

Village Halloween Parade Location: Spring Street at Sixth Ave running up to 21st on Sixth Time: 6:30pm-8:30pm The classic parade at dusk in the Village.