WTP: For years now people have been trying to figure out who you are. Care to officially let us all in on your identity?
NYN: Thanks for asking (Marshawn Lynch voice)
WTP: One of the things that makes your twitter so appealing is all the inside information you are given or are privy to. Do you ever hold back information because it may be damaging to someone’s business or brand?
NYN: When it’s something that can hurt somebody’s name or more importantly, a business, I want to be 100% sure that whatever I’m saying is true. I’m definitely aware that something negative about a business can affect its employees who count on it to pay the bills; that being said, if something is true, it’s true. I’m more concerned about my audience knowing what’s up.
WTP: We like that. It’s all about integrity. Ever have someone get pissed you ousted them and threaten you?
NYN: I think I definitely pissed off some people along the way; I’ve had a few lawyers send me cease-and-desist letters but no real threats.
WTP: Given your immense knowledge of the NY party scene, are there any current trends you see forming in nightlife?
NYN: This isn’t a new trend but the term underground has become mainstream over the past year or two as the EDM wave passes. With some less interest being shown to the biggest names in the DJ world, clubs will have to look elsewhere to draw in crowds. I think there will be more celebrity hosting gigs like there were prior to the rise of the DJ. It’s all cyclical.
Secondly, I see dive bars getting better crowds. What that means for a dive, I do not know but there are definitely some places you pass with $4 beers that have people in them that you may find in a place that serves $18 cocktails.
WTP: What is the deal with celebrity hosting gigs? How exactly do they work? Why is it such a big draw for party-goers to come see a B-list celebrity in a club hiding out in VIP for a couple hours with minimal, if any interaction with the crowd?
NYN: Traditionally clubs pay a celebrity for appearing, put them on the invite, and blast it out. I think that can still work in Vegas but that’s kind of viewed as cheesy in New York (when events are not private, at least). One way clubs can do it is by paying celebrities to appear without talking about it in advance and just looking for mentions in press after the party, so if a club booked celebrity x, y and z under the table and get three different press pieces off of it, the general public perception is “this is a club celebrities go to” which helps it make it relatable to people and can indirectly drum up weekly business. I still think people are under the assumption celebrities can go wherever they want, so where they choose to go must be good, when in fact they may just be following orders from their publicist about where to go.
I also see performances (from non-DJs) increasing in frequency over the next 12-24 months. Parties that are known to have surprise performers seemingly do well in New York.
WTP: Underground music making a rise has to be good for some of the clubs in BK like a Good Room, Output, Verboten, etc. Do you see BK possibly being able to flip the bridge-and-tunnel crowd in the near future? Where most people from BK stay close to party and more people from Manhattan travel over to Brooklyn?
NYN: That’s already happening. I think I remember seeing a “stay in Manhattan please” comment about the crowd at a Brooklyn party recently.
WTP: What do you think has the potential to be the next hot neighborhood in NYC that hasn’t really been touched yet?
NYN: The Upper East Side, but not in terms of “hot neighborhood,” but rather a neighborhood that can use more options for the growing number of young people living there who wouldn’t have to travel downtown as much. I’m hearing some stuff may be headed up there but not in the sense of true nightclubs, but rather solid bars.
WTP: Rent is rising at a rapid pace all around New York City, for both residents and business owners. From Manhattan to Brooklyn to Queens, neighborhoods are changing drastically. Do you think this has effected nightlife culture at all and if so, how?
NYN: When rent is high, you can’t take as many risks. That can hurt creativity and stop it from even happening in the first place. You look at the $200-300 per square foot asks in certain neighborhoods and have to wonder how a 3,000 square foot club (which isn’t large by any stretch of the imagination) can cover a $62,500/month rent if it was negotiated to $250 per-square-foot. My guess is it’s probably not by giving somebody a chance to create a new party unless they have a proven track record of good bar sales.
WTP: With venue owners less likely to take risks on people nowadays, do you have any tips for anyone out there looking to break into the nightlife industry?
NYN: Build your name in another industry first and then take your brand/crowd into nightlife.
WTP: Speaking of neighborhood change, what are your thoughts on the LES Dwellers and what they are trying to accomplish in the Lower East Side?
NYN: I understand the LES Dwellers want to live in a quiet community, and save for the two weekend nights, most of the Lower East Side is fairly quiet at night, but I think their tactics are off. They’re going after the bars but the bars aren’t the problem, the people going to the bars are; and it’s not all of the people, it’s a minority who haven’t fully developed into being human beings. In The New York Post article, I remember reading a quote from a LES Dweller saying something like “she was over served!” when talking to a security guard about a stumbling girl outside of a bar; but I would argue “she drank too much!” Unless there was some sorority hazing going on inside where she was forced to drink, alcohol consumption should be on the individual, not the bar. Of course it is nice to have a bartender who is looking out for patrons’ best interest, but if I made the laws, I would never hold a bartender accountable for the actions of another person. It’s like when you go to the pharmacy and buy a bottle of Advil — you take 2 Advils and put it away; if you took 10 and OD’ed, well that’s on you, not the pharmacy. Unfortunately, alcohol limits vary from person to person, but regardless, if the Dwellers want to fix the problems, they would push to hold individuals accountable for yelling, urinating, and vomiting in the street instead of passing the buck to the bars.
WTP: Totally agree. One of the popular features of your Twitter account has been the Shoeless Series you’ve started where people send you photos of (hopefully) drunk girls/guys partying bare foot. How did this series come about and are you trying to shame people into doing the right thing and keep their damn shoes on?!
NYN: I honestly do not remember how it started. I think I sent a few tweets out about girls not wearing shoes in clubs after seeing it night-after-night. My guess is people felt the same way and started sending in photos of people with no shoes on with the club’s name. One thing I can say is: high table minimums don’t deter people from removing their shoes.
WTP: What advice do you have for the next wave of young club-goers who just turned 21 and are getting ready to flood these NY streets?
NYN: At 21, they’ve probably been going out for 2-3 years already, but if not, I’d say: learn your limits (alcohol, or otherwise). Earn your ego, and then lose it.
WTP: Peter Gatien had a great quote in an interview he did with MovieFone where he said,”My whole focus and marching orders to all the staff was we’re here for one reason: that is to create culture”. I love this quote because culture is what makes clubs like Studio 54 and Limelight so fascinating to us up to this very day. Nowadays clubs are more focused on bringing in bottle clients than creating a place for culture to thrive. Do you see NY nightlife ever trending back to this?
NYN: It’s still there but it’s more spread out so it can be harder to see.
WTP: You have over 50,000 fans on twitter that look to you for nightlife advice and news. Are there any people in the industry you look up to or are a fan of?
NYN: Certainly I think in general anybody who is able to run an honest business that has the respect of their employees is somebody I look up to and am a fan of. I like seeing an owner who still bartends, or helps out on the floor – those are usually the best run businesses. I think too many people focus on rapid expansion and opening a bunch of places, so when I see somebody who is content with staying in one place and executing on a high-level, it’s something I can really respect.
WTP: What has been your biggest scoop or most retweeted post to date?
NYN: I can’t recall just one in particular. Surely the Chris Brown and Drake incident at WIP was one of them.
WTP: That Chris Brown and Drake fight was crazy. Poor Tony Parker even got injured. Soon after WIP/Greenhouse would close its doors. Since then there have been a few Hip Hop parties that popped up and are doing pretty well. Is there still a stigma with Hip Hop nights in the industry? It seems like Hip Hop nights have been a last resort for high-end clubs that are failing.
NYN: When somebody hears “hip hop night” they usually first think of the crowd that comes, not the type of music that the club is playing, so for that reason, I would say there is a stigma. I can’t count how many times I’ve heard “they’re not even a year old and they are already doing hip hop parties.” From seeing what can happen at some of these parties, it is a risk because when things get out of control, they really get out of control and a place can lose their liquor license over it. That being said, there’s a ton of money being spent at some of these hip hop parties (some clubs would be out of business without them), but at the same time, every party can be the club’s last. There can also be added pressure from the NYPD on clubs that host hip hop parties.
As far as the music goes, there are definitely owners in New York with a “no hip hop policy” because they think that will attract the wrong crowd which I think is a complete fallacy as many races/ethnicities enjoy listening to hip hop. The door, hosts, marketing and sometimes the location really dictate the type of crowd coming in.
WTP: In closing, what does the future hold for the best social media account in NY Nightlife?
NYN: Semi-retirement. Time to pass the torch.