It has been a while since I was in a club in NYC. I mean a real club: electronic music, danceable, with the right crowd and the right place at the right time of the night. The club scene in NYC has been hit pretty hard, first by Giuliani, who put raves and clubs in the same basket with crack and vandalism. And then came the bank boom and the need for newly rich hipster bankers to spend their money in public, leading a lot of club owners to shift from dancing to representing (aka $500 table charges to listen to crappy pop and the infamous bottle service). Add the rise of pop hip hop and the general decline of electronic here in the US and you have a declining club scene. (For all German speakers, very nice described here). The Time Out New York used to have 20 pages of club events a week, now it’s hardly more than 3 or 4. Most of the good stuff seems to now be in deep Brooklyn, Connecticut or up in Canada, at least that’s what I’ve heard.
Myself, I haven’t been clubbing lately either. Most of my friends here are either not interested in the “European kind of clubbing” (the German techno fan is a common cliche) or think it’s too expensive (which it can be, depending on location). Most people here are associate clubs with places you go to pick up girls/guys and any music will do for that. In short, I was missing the social crowd to club regularly, plus there aren’t a lot of options for it either.
Luckily last weekend it worked out. I was in the Sullivan Room with Basic NYC. Usually I tried to avoid anything near Bleecker St, as the tourist and college crowd can get pretty annoying. But I haven’t been in the room in such a long time (years?), it just had to happen. I actually forgot where the room was and had to run up and down the street a couple of times (a simple metal door is easy to overlook!). The club was less crowded than I remember it, but we were pretty early (11pm) and it filled up quite well towards the end, never packed though. Music was first class. The crowded was mixed, some Europeans, some of the pickup crowd and some of the real fans. So the club scene is not actually dead. I kind of felt the same way as I remember my nights years ago. So there is still hope for Manhattan after all! Also Club Shelter might or might not be re-opening. Thumbs crossed.