My first rant re: nightlife in NYC.
I’m a househead (aka old-school club kid). I like to boogey. And I take it seriously: sneakers not heels, deep soulful house, avoidance of the Chelsea clubs, no drinks on the dancefloor because you’ll spill it all over me. I’ve met some of my best friends and boyfriends in a sweaty club or warehouse party. We share a love for music and dancing, which I cherish.
But I admit, I don’t go out to the clubs as much anymore. Life happens, even club kids age out and pursue other adventures.
Ben Watt played at Cielo a couple of weeks ago, so it was an excuse to go out for a dance. Normally, I wouldn’t venture into the Meatpacking District on Friday or Saturday (do I need to explain why? Well, just wait), but I didn’t think too much about it this time around.
I got shut out of buying my ticket online so I showed up early. The party’s official start time was 10pm, but they didn’t really let people in until 11pm. So we waited on line for nearly 30 minutes, even though there were only about eight people ahead of us.
We were greeted by airport-tight security at the door. I’d forgotten that Cielo had been shuttered a few months ago due to some drug-related issue w/the NYPD. The door people went through EVERYTHING, including the bills in my wallet, and every narrow nook and cranny of my purse.
Walk in, fork over $25 for admission, only to have another door guy demand that I check my jacket and umbrella in for another $4. Go to the bar, order a drink for $15. A bottle of water costs $5.
What a way to make a guest feel welcome! All of this robbery occurred before Ben Watt even started his set.
My friends and I settled on some seats next to the DJ booth, a home base with some room to dance. A few minutes later, a waitress and busboy with a giant chrome bucket shooed us away (without a word or even eye contact) so that a crew of middle-aged group in black could take our seats. Our new neighbors did a lot of talking and looking around, but not any dancing.
I thought the days of bottle service were over due to the recession’s back-to-realness. That was wishful thinking. I was reminded why so many people declare nightlife dead in NYC. I understand that clubs need to make their money to survive, but it’s too bad the great DJs have to play in these unfriendly venues to make a living.
However, it was a relief to see a fellow househead swipe an unattended glass of champagne from the bottle-service table. At least somebody is keeping it real in here!
Ben Watt was an A+ (and opener DJ Willie Graff similarly rocked). Cielo’s sound system and lights were top-notch, as always. These are my favorite things about Cielo, and they keep me coming back.
However, the mostly Eurotrash, bridge-and-tunnel, racially homogeneous crowd there to get stoopid or pick up was a C+. I still hold on to some hope that the situation is more laidback Sunday-Thursday. Yay for Francois K on Monday nights. And yay for First Saturdays at Brooklyn Museum, BklynYard, summer dance parties at Coney Island and Fort Greene Park, Water Taxi Beach, PS1 and weekdays at Sapphire and Sin Sin.
A bit tired of the meatpacking club experience, I left earlier than I’d hoped, but not before my face had the pleasure of coming within two inches of a sloppy drunken couple shoving their tongues down each other’s throats, as I waited on line for coatcheck.