The truth is, I simply don't have the stamina. Especially for the way they party in NYC. I'm used to the North Carolina club scene, which opens at 10 PM and closes at 2 AM, Thursday through Saturday. People go out every, single, night in this city. Since when is Tuesday the new Saturday? I'm confused! And parties don't start happening until 1ish in the AM, ending around 4.
I can't do it. I just can't. I have to have an entire day of recovery which consists of three gallons of water and a frozen eye mask. Then the thought of going out again makes me want to swallow my nail headband.
But then I have a night like I did Tuesday, and I remember how FUCKING AMAZEBALLS nightlife in New York City can be. Okay, here's the scoop:
My roommate Byron and I are fast becoming besties, bonding over vodcake and domestic gossip. He needed to scout out some attractive single women for a VH1 show he's casting, and where better to find them than at NYC's "hottest" party (so I've heard it described), On Top at Le Bain. This is the kind of iconic party young gay boys on farms (*ahem*) dream of but are pretty sure only exist in movies. It's on the top floor and roof of the Standard Hotel, and you can see the entire city in every direction. Here's a picture:
|Daniel Barry for The New York Times|
But the venue isn't even the best part. It's the people. Take a look at this photo album from a few weeks ago (which I had no idea I was in until I Googled "On Top" five seconds ago - I had a blue strip down the front of me), and behold the shenanigans that make New York City nightlife what it is.
Clearly my roommate would find good TV material there. So I slapped on some red tights and my nail headband and we hopped onto the train downtown. There was a line to get in, obviously, and this is when I get a little nervous and iffy. I usually go to these kinds of things with my friend Margo, who has been in the club scene for 20 years. She can get in anywhere, except for this week, because she's on the other side of the country.
We had a little texting convo that went something like, "How am I supposed to get in without you! *explode*," to which she said "You'll be fine. Just be your fabulous self." I've befriended a few of the regular hosts and could just use their names to get in, but I haven't been brave enough to do it. Mostly because I've only even talked to these people at parties, and because I just don't know what the circumstances or ramifications of name dropping are. THERE ARE NO NAMES TO DROP IN SMALL TOWN NORTH CAROLINA. I'm not used to this... Although I'm sure it's not as serious as I'm making it out to be. The point is, we waited in line, which was fine (do you like the rhyme)?
We went straight to the breezy rooftop and plopped down on a huge round waterbed. It was squishy. A gorgeous girl in a beige dress and black, knee-high boots was lounging a few feet away, downing a cocktail and thumbing through a photo album on her iPhone. My roommate, being a social butterfly, somehow got a conversation going. Five minutes later we're talking about big black dicks and adopting puppy dogs, all my favorite things in life. We met her friends, got some drinks, and the conversation never stopped.
Eventually her big-boobed Puerto Rican friend with a perfect weave met up with us, and then the party really started.
"Is this cigarette menthol?" she said, in a deep, raspy voice. "I cannot do menthol! Isn't he cute with his blue eyes? I think he's Jewish. I cannot do... Oh! Let's go sing karaoke!"
It is important to note that prior to that evening I had never experienced karaoke. Ever. *virgin* When asked what "my song" was I just sort of grunted and hummed "Listen" by Beyonce. Which, apparently, is my song. Keep in mind it was around 2:30 AM at this point. I, naive as I am, asked if there were any karaoke places still open this late. I got blank stares from everyone and then a "Yes, they're open till, like, 9 in the morning." Woo!
All six of us made our way down to the street and flagged down two taxis. I was already buckling myself in (which, apparently is a laughable offense) when an older foreign man started yelling at us. I had no idea what he was saying, but eventually someone realized he was telling us he had a limo we could all take instead of riding in multiple taxis. I had no idea limo taxi things existed. My roommate and I shared a "look at us, we're movin' on up!" glance, and then we saw the limo.
If you can imagine a limo being so bad that you would rather be seen in a ten-year-old yellow cab, this was it. It was a white, mid-nineties extended Lincoln Town Car with one headlight, duct tape on a few windows, and three missing hubcaps. None of us could even get in because we were laughing so hard. Our friend was already in the back with her feet in the air screaming "JUST GET IN THE LIMO!" and taking pictures of herself with her iPhone. I'm pretty sure my headband hit the door frame while I was getting in and chipped off four layers of paint. Whoops.
During our fifteen-minute ride we had an impromptu hooptie-limo photoshoot and talked about where in Harlem to get the best weave. At some point our new hostess gave me three twenties and said, "Hand this to the driver and just say, 'Thank you'." I have no idea how much a hooptie-limo ride costs, but I'm pretty sure the entire vehicle was worth less than sixty dollars. I figured this would be as close to a movie star moment as I would ever get, so I put on my Betty Davis face, tapped the driver on the shoulder and said, "Fasten your seatbelts. It's going to be a bumpy night. Here ya go, doll." He looked at the money and stomped on the gas. I exploded on the inside. For reference:
Also, it is important to note that when I go out I don't take any money (because I don't have any and if I did I would spend it all). This entire evening was set into motion by our lovely new friend who by chance has loads of dough. I don't judge or take advantage of people based on their economic status. That being said, she's going to hook me up with a sugar daddy.
As our hooptie magic carpet sped away, we started running after it in hopes of getting a picture, because we knew no one would believe us. Here's the scene: our fabulous hostess trotting down the side of the street, ankles rolling and arms flailing, with her iPhone in the air, desperately trying to open the camera app but hitting all of the wrong buttons. "Oh! Oh no! Come on! Wait! Ugh. I'M SORRY!!!" Priceless.
We ran up to the karaoke studio where the owner led us directly to the "#1" room because apparently our hostess and her friends are regs. I always pictured karaoke being a stage in a loud and crowded bar with loads of drunk people fighting for the microphone. Instead it was a nice private room with big TV screens and a bottle of Grey Goose on the table. The only song I really remember singing (free vodka... what can I say?) was, as I mentioned earlier, "Listen" by Beyonce. I killed it. Or murdered it. Either way, I don't think anyone noticed.
The night ended with lots of double kisses, a walk to Penn Station, and an hour train ride back to 184th street. This will be one of the stories that I refer to in a hundred years when I'm hooked up to loads of machines on a space-ship and telling my half cyborg grandchild about "the good ol' days." And by that time my voice better sound like Betty Davis.