And Now, A Lovely Tuesday Night Out At Greenhouse, APT, And Highline Ballroom, Featuring The Roots, Of Course
Somebody tell Puja how to do this.
Greenhouse is one of those places that make us normal folks nervous. While some revel in the exclusivity of red-roped clubs, the thought of waiting in a felt-carpeted line doesn't exactly thrill me--over-glammed Jersey girls, statuesque Chelsea boys, and men with blinding jewelry (who announce their intention to buy a $40 bottle of vodka for $300) reign supreme here. Not to mention that lawsuit thing they're dealing with, or that the maze of ropes and stoic, clipboard-toting bouncers make you wonder if you're in for something much more sinister than a dance party. That said, last night's inaugural monthly "New York, New York" fete (with Stretch Armstrong, Eli Escobar, and Morse Code on the bill) was too enticing to pass up, and with Frank 151 hosting, how snotty could it be? I rallied a friend, downed a Red Bull and vodka, and decided that we could make it through this together.
We arrived at 12:30 a.m. and managed to finagle our way in. Phase One: success. Upon entering the club, a jungle-rave snapshot from J. Lo's "Waiting for Tonight" immediately sprang to mind. The walls were covered in faux vines and mossy panels, with red laser-lights flashing in time with the hip-hop party jams; hundreds of clear glass icicles emulating raindrops hung from the ceiling, while party-goers lounged around tables and a champagne bottle hosted a fireworks display in the VIP platform. The bar was filled with a pleasantly (and surprisingly) diverse group of people: Sure there were the suits and horrendously bleached blondes, but we also spotted hoodies, flannel, and even a pair of sneakers. True to the eco-friendly theme of the venue, the bar boasts organic liquor and crazy juice concoctions served up by incredibly friendly bartenders (ask for Nicole). The only downfall: The club's layout caters to bottle service, and walking around the sectioned platforms and couch setups was a bit of an ordeal. We recommend you find your two feet of space and stick with it. Otherwise, kudos to "New York, New York" for a delightfully unpretentious debut soiree. You proved me wrong. I am a little bummed I missed the rumored arrival of "Russell Simmons with 50 models," but I'll live. It's almost 2, and I live on a freelancer's budget. On to the next bar.
Soon, we approached the not-so-secret entrance to APT, a personal favorite. Though rumored to be secretive and hard to get into, it's not, really, and provides a safe haven from the usual touristy and fancy-shmancy spots that dominate the Meatpacking district. Drinks are just as expensive as anywhere else, but the cozy, apartment-style venue has a truly admirable love for DJ culture and hosts some of the greatest all-vinyl dance nights in the city. From NY crowd pleasers Rich Medina, Bobbito, and Primo to lesser-known disco fiends Snack n Cmish and Love on the Run, you're pretty much guaranteed a true record nerd on any given night of the week (and that's a good thing). Unfortunately, BK's dub/reggae maestro Ticklah didn't have much of an audience when we popped in (though the 10 people who were there were dancing up a storm). As if on cue, I received a text that led us out the door: The Roots had announced that "The Jam," their regular late-night gig at Highline Ballroom, is soon coming to an end. On to Highline Ballroom!
Upon arrival, Bajah & the Dry Eye Crew were onstage performing "Tell Somebody," backed by the Roots and their own brass ensemble. (I can't seem to stop talking about these guys.) This was followed by D.R.E.S. tha Beatnik, whose unbelievable one-man act involved beatboxing while simultaneously singing the melody underneath it. (Seriously, tell me how you do that.) The performance peaked with an incredible rendition of "Seven Nation Army," backed only by a soul clap from the audience.
True to the party's name, the Roots themselves closed the night with an over-the-top jam session, with Black Thought on the mic and looming over the sweaty, sold-out crowd. 300 or so revelers poured out of the venue at 3 a.m., and I felt pretty damn accomplished while reliving my adventures during the walk home. The Red Bull and lady-friend sidekick most certainly didn't hurt, and if you ever plan on hitting up Greenhouse, I suggest you bring both.