Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Makin' Friends In The Meatpacking District

Three brand new friends emerged late during a steamy summer-in-New-York night.  After meeting up with AF and SMM and their friends to celebrate SMM's birthday on the rooftop lounge of Catch, Eddie and I learned that the rooftop was not open to us until 2 or 3 AM, and so, AF decided it would be best to finish drinks and head somewhere more open to earlier celebration.  This new place would have to be relatively close-by since the streets in the Meatpacking District are paved with cobblestone--really, they aren't paved all that much.  Cobblestone is what you would cover up when you pave.  It sure has its charm, but it wreaks havoc on women who wear heels.  And we were all wearing heels. 

We actually invented a new game that I could have played all night instead of heading somewhere else: stand on the corner in the Meatpacking District and bet on which girls are going to crash to the floor.  It was a fun game.  Also fun?  Guess how many people are going to get naked in the wide open windows of the Hotel Gansevoort, which was right across the street. 

Those games were ended in a few minutes when we made our first new friend, a club hooker-upper.  That's probably not the best title I could think of since it makes him sound like a prostitute.  Okay, let's see--how about, he's a guy who hooks up people with other people who have loose associations with lounges and clubs in the area for a small fee.  Actually, hooker probably is a good title for him seeing as he sells his kindness for a high price. 

At first, I thought that this guy was going to (A) take us somewhere to die - OR - (B) take us to a sex den.  I voiced this opinion, and some others agreed, yet we all still followed like eager ducks lining up for hunting season.  Luckily, we came to a street that had two lounges, both of which he could get us into quickly.

The second friend came quickly after that as we stood outside on a short line for Tenjune. 

Side note: Tenjune has been a lounge that I used to want to go to when I was obsessed with Sex and the City and thought I could become a cross between Charlotte and Carrie Bradshaw.  All that means now is that we were on line for a club that had its heyday about fifteen years ago.

Anyway, we were on line to get into Tenjune, wondering why we were waiting on line since we had the hookup, when some scrawny guy with wild hair approached the line.  He announced really loudly: Hey! I want you all to go visit my website!  And then he screeched: W W W dot helpaniggaout dot com!

Undeniably, he's the best self-promoter in town. 

The third friend came at about the same time--he was our lounge hookup.  Just say his name at the door and we'd be taken care of.  We'd have free bottle service all night at two tables.  Hmm.  Interesting.  This deal seemed too good to be true, especially considering that this new friend looked like he'd just swung by the Big and Tall store and took whatever was on the Clearance rack and decided that a pocket square should be really a messy lady's handerchief balled up and hanging half out of the jacket pocket. 

Yet, we stood there, waiting to get into the lounge, believing.  When we got to the front of the line, we got stamped and were let loose into the club.  Whoop whoop!  Down the stairs we went!  We found some place to sit since it was practically empty.  We asked where our friend's table was so we could get our drinks.  No one knew.  No matter--we sat anyway.  And eventually got kicked out of the seats so other people who were paying for bottle service could sit.  Then we gave up on bottle service hoop dreams and people got drinks at the bar, where they found that a beer could be $8, not because it was laced with gold, but because that's what they decided it should be for no reason.  None of our friends had mentioned this.

I turned to AF and told her that before the night was through, I was taking something.  I didn't care what it was--a cup, an ice scooper, whatever--I was leaving with something that didn't belong to me.  This is called justice.

The music was danceable.  So I danced.  Eddie danced.  We danced.  We kept doing so, with several breaks to ask about our friend, our tables, and our free stuff, but then gave up and danced some more.  Until the floor became so crowded that dancing was not really dancing but hugging each other tightly so that people could move through the room.  At some points, there was enough room for some slight hip-shaking, but that was always quickly killed by having to let someone by.  The hugging became more like desperate clinging so that I wasn't knocked to the floor and dragged.  You know--fun.

This was all I could see
Wall to wall people

and the ceiling
During the clinging, Eddie asked if that had ever been my scene.  It really wasn't--not to that extent.  I went to bars and lounges and clubs, but none that sold beer for $8 and corralled bodies into a space so tightly that moving wasn't an option.  I asked how people actually met each other there and he said, You know, they dance together and then start making out.  Ah.  Of course. Boy meets girl.  Boy grabs girl because no one has a choice in the matter.  Boy and girl mack it.  Girl files for child support a year and a half later.  Your typical love story.

And this guy.  Who the hell is this?

We did see our new friend in his ill-fitting suit roaming around the lounge but we couldn't get to him to ask him about our tables and bottles.  Maybe that's why they pack the club so tightly.  Then in case of a fire, no one will live to tell about the empty promises.

At one point when we had room to breathe, AF held up her finished drink and asked, Hey you want this?  I was like, uh YES!  So she dumped the ice on the floor and we tried cramming it into my bag.  No luck.  So she put it in her bag.  Justice is cramming a cheap plastic cup into your bag.

And feet.
Side note: Seriously, unless you're going to a rooftop, lounges in NYC are kind of like hanging out in someone's basement.  They're under these huge skyscrapers.  They have concrete floors.  This club was about the size of my parents' basement, and my parents have carpet.  You want to make money in the nightlife scene?  Find a basement, throw in some long cushiony seats, set up ten nighttables that hold three glasses each, throw some naked women on the wall and call it art, call up your friend from high school who collected DJ equipment from garage sales over the years, install a wet bar, get some booze from the Thrifty down the street, and charge at least $30 per person at the door.  Boom!  Instant millionaire.

Anyway, we wound up leaving some time late after one, and even though it had been incredibly incredible, Eddie and I were smiling and laughing and having a great time.  When we got upstairs, AF asked, You still want this?  holding up the cup.  Uh, YES!  I held it like a trophy.  I told her next time she comes over, I'll show her my collection of things I've taken in the name of justice.  One of her friends--someone whom I don't know--overheard and asked if I just said stuff I take.  Then realizing that I was coming off as some sort of thief (okay, I guess I am some sort of thief) I clarified, Oh I don't like steal from stores or shoplift or anything--I just take things when I'm out sometimes, you know, like coasters.  One friend said, well good you should and the other went on to tell me about how one of her friends took a big bag to a diner that was closing and came away with some silverware.  Ah, okay, so we're all on the same page.

Holding tight to my new plastic cup, I said my goodbyes and then held onto Eddie for cobble support as we headed back to the car.  This was a challenge considering that we'd parked on Jane and Greenwich, an intersection not easily found by following the grid.  We pretty much walked in a large spiral, winding closer and closer to the car.  Three times, I took off my shoes.  I simply couldn't walk in the heels anymore, not because of the cobblestones, but because the only cute heels I own are cheap and have no support.  I put them back on when we walked on really dirty sidewalks and when we saw a cockroach.  But they had to come off again as we walked and walked and walked.  Finally, though, things looked familiar and we headed to the car with less challenge.  Eddie carried me piggy-back for the last block.

As soon as we got home, I washed my feet.  Surprisingly, my feet were not blackened with city-foot.  Still, I washed them. Scrubbed them.

You know you had a good night when you walked barefoot in the city and you wake up the next day without diphtheria.  Good times.  Oh, and Happy Birthday, SMM.

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