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Williamsburg Water Tower Bar Opens With a $150 Negroni and ‘VIP Elevator’

(Photos: Liz Clayman)

It’s been nearly four years since we first caught wind that The Williamsburg Hotel was planning to install a bar inside of a faux water tower atop its roof, and now that crazy little dream is finally a reality. The Water Tower, as it will henceforth be known, launches tonight atop the hotel’s recently opened pool deck, and a look at the photos indicate this is not the kind of water tower that’s going to give you Legionnaires’ disease.

If you imagined something along the lines of those illicit art parties in a Chelsea water tower, sorry, this place is billing itself as more of a straight-up lounge and nightclub, with regular live acts and DJs. You have to reserve one of the 45-or-so seats by emailing, and walk-ins are “at the discretion of the door.” If the doorperson doesn’t keep you out, the prices just might: cocktails are $22 to $150 and bottle service starts at $500. Yes, you read that right: there’s a $150 negroni. But, hey, a publicist assures us it’s “really cool” and has truffle-infused Aperol and shaved truffle on top.

As for food, prices range from $20, to $525 for caviar service. We haven’t gotten a look at chef Nic Caicedo’s full menu yet, but we’re told items include a seafood plateau, a bowl of crudite, and a white-truffle grilled cheese on Brooklyn Bread Lab brioche.

I’m just going to quote from the press release here: “The lounge is accessible via a VIP elevator, and colorful murals painted by a local artist line the walls, offering an apt mix of grit and glam that pays homage to the neighborhood’s history.”

You can experience all that grit and glam for yourself Wednesday through Sunday, 10pm to 4am.

Interestingly, thousands of New York City’s actual water towers were built right across the street at the Rosenwach Water Tower Factory. That site was sold in 2009 and is now the site of, you guessed it, another one of Williamsburg’s new hotels, the Hoxton.

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Watch Julian Casablancas Be Lou Reed and Q-Tip Be David Bowie at a Jeans Store

A visit to a jeans store in the heart of Times Square is normally something I wouldn’t subject myself to even if my Spanish cousins had begged me to take them there during the height of their denim-mania in the early ’90s. But when Levi’s throws an opening party for its new flagship and promises performances by Lauryn Hill, De La Soul, Raekwon, and Chic, plus DJ sets from Questlove and Justine D, you’re going to make the trip come hell or high water. (And by high water I mean some nasty slush puddles).

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As Taxis Battle Ubers, a Cab-Friendly Ride-Hailing App Offers a Deal

(Photo courtesy of Waave)

Yellow taxis throughout New York are clapping back against the influx of Uber and Lyft drivers.

App-based cars outnumber taxis by a four-to-one ratio, and yellow cab drivers are complaining about financial strains as a result of decreased business. Earlier this month, 58 year-old Roy Kim hanged himself in his home, becoming the eighth taxi driver to commit suicide in the past year; the New York Post reported that he was over $500,000 in debt after purchasing his taxi medallion last year.

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Performance Picks: Ron Athey, Radical Burlesque, Cannabis Comedy


Compost Bin (A RadicalASS Cabaret To Deal With the World)

Thursday, November 15 at Starr Bar: $15

Brave the snow and go to Bushwick for Brass (Brown Radicalass Burlesque)’s latest Compost Bin, a monthly showcase of queer, trans, and POC burlesque, drag, and performance art that earned the inclusive, boundary-pushing group a feature in the New York Times(That’s not something all shows happening in back rooms of bars can say). It’ll be their last show of the year (though they’re returning in 2019, fret not), so come warm your frozen self with steamy and stimulating shows by Miss Aurora BoobRealis, Regal Mortis, Juniper Juicy, Exhotic Other, sister selva, Munroe Lilly, and more. Plus, Starr Bar has a new selection of food that looks pretty good, so you don’t just have to warm up with booze. Keep Reading »

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If the Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown Finale Made You Want to Learn More About Kembra Pfahler, Here’s Your Chance

Pfahler and Bourdain (via @anthonybourdain on Instagram)

The finale of Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown, which aired on CNN this past week, was a bittersweet love letter to the East Village and Lower East Side of the ’70s and ’80s. Which seemed like an appropriate send-off for a guy who was punk rock till the very end. When Bourdain filmed the episode in June, we knew only that it would feature neighborhood legends like filmmakers Jim Jarmsuch and Amos Poe at Max Fish, photographer and historian Clayton Patterson at his LES home, hip-hop visionary Fab 5 Freddy at El Castillo De Jagua, and hardcore musician Harley Flanagan of the Cro-Mags, who, after visiting Ray’s Candy Store in the episode, recalls living in fear of a local street gang that, um, listened to Kraftwerk.

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This Japanese Brand Is Now Selling $111 Rage Against Machine Hoodies On the LES

(Photo: Daniel Maurer)

If you’re walking down Orchard Street on the Lower East Side, you’ll see some laundromats, coat shops and a corset store — all of which look like they very much belong on the Lower East Side (kinda sketchy, a little dirty, but charismatic in the way Williamsburg pretends to be). If you continue your walk down Orchard, you’ll notice that one shop doesn’t quite seem to fit.

It might be because of the crystal-like sign or perhaps it’s the posh display of mannequins, but Snidel sticks out the way boyfriends do at a Shawn Mendes concerts — the presence is cute and all, but does it really belong?

The answer lies within the store’s major partnership, and it’s prominently displayed on a number of graphic tees. Because, mixed in between corduroy non-gendered collared shirts costing $130 and one-size-fits-all dresses (size F), there are Rage Against the Machine t-shirts, sweatshirts and iPhone cases. 

That’s right. The ’90s woke rap-metal group is selling merch at a fashionable Japanese store in its first U.S location. To clarify, the rock band did not pluck tour shirts and put them on a rack amongst quality fabrics. The partnership allows for RATM to slither its way onto objectively cool cuts and designs.

It’s basically like those $100 Wham! tees at Nordstrom. You wouldn’t go into a store looking for them, but somehow the atmosphere inside filled with potential is drawing you to the cash register, Wham! shirt (in this case, RATM shirt) in hand.

Born in Tokyo’s uber-hip Harajuku neighborhood in 2005, Snidel made a list of 10 Fashion Brands That Japanese People Love; Culture Trip wrote that the brand “focuses on making stylish but feminine silhouettes popular with women in their twenties and thirties.” Perhaps Rage Against the Machine found the trendy Japanese brand before the rest of America, or perhaps their management team got extremely lucky in pitching to Snidel before it opened in New York. Regardless, the store inside seems like it could find success in the midst of the LES.

Inside, you won’t hear Zach de la Rocha snarling the lyrics to “No Shelter”: “Empty ya pockets, son, they got you thinkin’ that / What ya need is what they selling / Make you think that buying is rebelling.” Instead Harry Styles and Taylor Swift played back-to-back, as if the Top-40 Gods were smiling upon the human making the playlist. As for the prices, they aren’t empty-ya-pockets expensive (by New York standards, anyway).

There’s a wide range of unisex tops, as well as skirts and checkered pants, typically ranging from $50 to $150. (The RATM hoodie is $111). And, for a store that opened in the U.S. two weeks ago, the clothes seem to go with fall fashion in the states — there’s an abundance of oversized sweaters, camel coats, knee-high boots and faux-fur jackets.

And, if that’s not enough to convince you to pop in, there’s one more partnership the brand has. The partnership perhaps makes even more Lower-East-Side sense than RATM.

It’s Hello Kitty.

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The L Shutdown Is ‘Not Going to Be Really Pleasant,’ Business Owners Are Told

(Photos: Cassidy Dawn Graves)

When I got off the L train at Bedford Avenue a little after 9 am this morning, the platform was surprisingly empty. This may foreshadow what’s in store for North Brooklyn when the 15-month shutdown of the L train between Bedford and 8th Avenue begins on April 27, just five months from now. Less people means less money-spending; a 2017 survey estimated 40% of small businesses expected to lose up to half their business. To prepare, the L Train Coalition held the first of what will be monthly informational meetings aimed at business owners along the L line.

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Nutella Nuts Flock to Cafe’s Opening to Check Out the Spread

(Photos: Summer Cartwright)

If you’ve ever wanted to physically walk into a jar of Nutella, you now can at its new cafe at 116 University Place.

Though what you’ll walk into isn’t physically a thick hazelnut-chocolate compote, what you’ll ingest surely will be. The menu is all about the cult classic spread — crepes are filled with it, espresso is combined into it and whipped cream is colored just like it.

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Village ‘Bagel Zone’ Expands

(Photos: Daniel Maurer)

Have you noticed this outside of Tompkins Square Bagels on Second Avenue? A crafty carb lover has modified a road-work sign to indicate a “bagel zone.” The weird thing is that Tompkins Square Bagels is behind said bagel zone, not ahead of it. Is someone trying to send bikers to Black Seed, a block south over on First Avenue?

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