Snowfall didn’t deter ten brave cyclists from competing in Monstertrack XIX’s warm-up race ahead of the main event this Saturday. Crihs Throman, the winner of the messenger-style alleycat took called the conditions “fucking brutal.”
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Michael Arenella and his Dreamland Orchestra shook the historic floor of Chelsea’s Norwood Club during his eighth annual Sweetheart Soiree this past Saturday. After we bid Michael farewell at the close of his Jazz Age Lawn Party last August, he invited us this Valentine’s season to see Norwood Club’s five floors of classic decadence. Many in attendance embraced the soiree’s roaring-twenties mise-en-scene
Michael’s orchestra held court against the tall windows of the main parlor at the Norwood, a private club opened in 2007 in what had been the landmarked Norwood House, a fully intact Chelsea mansion. The dancers on the floor had gotten lessons from jazz choreographer Roddy Caravella, whose group The Canarsie Warblers are a Jazz Age Lawn Party highlight.
As the soiree’s guests went up the townhouse stairs, they found a second floor where winding tables gave couples plenty of places to canoodle. Ascending further to the red-lit third-floor parlor, they were stopped in their tracks by the wrought vocals of Queen Esther.
For those in the mood to toast their valentine with champagne, an intimate room at the top of the mansion served little bottles of bubbly to go along with the soft strings of flamenco guitarist Maria Benjumeda.
Michael’s full orchestra won’t be taking the stage again until his first Lawn Party on the weekend of June 16, but in the meantime you can catch his small ensemble every Wednesday night from 8:30pm to 11pm at the Clover Club in Carroll Gardens. During a recent visit, I saw Michael’s friends dancing along the bar. Their footwork was phenomenal considering the quaint space and low light.
Beloved bar Red Hook Bait and Tackle said farewell to its tight-knit family with a party that raged well after the cops came, as advertised. Owner Barry O’Meara, who’s closing the bar after 14 years due to the neighborhood’s “different financial demographics,” hosted an all-day affair that started with a chili cook-off, continued with a full concert and ended with a dance party where locals mixed their sweat and tears till the doors finally shut for good at 6am.
Bizarre Bushwick celebrated its fifth anniversary last Saturday with an eight-hour performance marathon that spanned its entire repertoire. Venue co-owners Jean-Stephane Sauvaire and Greg Baubeau welcomed longtime performers Madam Vivian V, Lee Valone, Darlinda Just Darlinda and countless others for a night that literally went out in a ball of flames. The thrills were true to Bizarre Bushwick’s motto of “assorted madness and the unexpected.”
Bar Matchless closed last night and it stayed crowded till the very end. All of hipsterdom from the realms of musicians, DJs, artists and those with 9-to-5 jobs came to celebrate what was for many the Ellis Island of Williamsburg. Owner Erik Green made a last call at 3:30am and it took another hour to empty the place out.
Barflies of every drinking age said their goodbyes to Grassroots Tavern last month and kept the East Village dive busy right up till its final day on New Year’s Eve. During the time I spent there during its last days, it was never empty. Even in the early afternoon, people just off from work or school, along with curious tourists, finished off pitchers and munched on dollar bowls of popcorn.
This New Year’s Eve/Day, I visited 18 parties, many in venues whose windows had been steamed up by crowds in no hurry to head back home through the cold. The condensation could be seen early on as I visited the farewell parties for downtown’s Noho Star and Grassroots Tavern and continued as Claptone rang in 2018 at Bang On! NYC’s Time and Space warehouse party.
Here’s how it all went, hour by hour. If you’re looking for signs of unity as we turn the page on 2017, you may find them in these group portraits.
International Bar’s final night at its longtime East Village location was as loud, crowded, but also as intimate as you’d expect. The bar, which originated on St. Marks Place and has been on First Avenue since the ’80s, was filled with regulars who waited till the wee hours for co-owner Molly Fitch to arrive and make a rousing speech.
Over 75 bike riders sprinted around Manhattan’s supermarkets in the cold rain on Saturday for New York City’s 19th annual Cranksgiving charity bike ride. The informal “alleycat” race, held in cities across the world, was described by this year’s organizer, Austin Horse, as “a sudoku board manifest of supermarkets where certain foods have to be bought in specific places with both long and short versions that riders of all levels can follow.” The food went to The Bowery Mission.
Who let the dogs out? Who, who, who, who?
Ben Sisto spent an hour pondering that very question at Ace Hotel New York on Sunday night. Backed up by a detailed powerpoint and some items from his vast “Who Let the Dogs Out” collection, Sisto told a tale that stretches around the globe and is currently sending him on a small US tour.
New York City partied hard over the weekend and today is a bit of an intermission before we celebrate all over again tomorrow. My annual marathon of Halloween party portraits took me all over town and culminated backstage with Fatboy Slim after a raucous two-hour set that shook the block-long entirety of Bang On’s Warehouse of Horrors.
Last month, we noted that a mighty Wurlitzer organ that belonged to the Brooklyn Paramount before it was converted into a gym would be played one last time before the building’s conversion back to a theater. After writing about “The Beast,” we just had to see the thing for ourselves. So we stopped by Saturday as Los Angeles-based organist Mark Herman rehearsed for his once-in-a-lifetime performance.