Good Night Mr Lewis: The Strike Zone
I haven’t had sex in eight months. To be honest, I now prefer to go bowling. — Lil’ Kim
Lucky Strike Lanes, an ultra-hip bowling lounge, opened last night with a suave soiree’ hosted by its marketing arm, the Strategic Group. I chatted up Strategic honcho Noah Tepperberg, and asked him, “Why bowling?” He replied, “Chicks and celebrities love bowling.” And so it goes. Crashing pins instead of crashing bores, and if a dude strikes out while trying to impress a girl, it’s a good thing. DJ Vice could be almost heard over the pin din and squealing models. The place is posh and new and clean, and it looks to be way more sophisticated than Bowlmor, where I’ve been throwing hooks into gutters for decades.
I started a Monday night party at Bowlmor, I think in 1995, that lasted a year or two. Lots of celebrities and lots of girls were into it — that Noah knows his stuff. I started getting pretty good at it, so my boys and I all got our own balls — mine was red with white swirls, and I was having my name engraved on it while the actress, Marisa Tomei, watched. She was a semi-regular and quite famous at the time. Right as he started to engrave, the pro shop dude recognized the Academy Award-winning actress. Well, “Steve” ended up “Sneve,” and there was no way to fix it, so I was Sneve from then on at Bowlmor.
Last night’s at Lucky Strike Lanes was packed with a crowd you come to expect from Strategic (Marquee, Tao, Lavo, etc.) — hip, monied, pretty, it was all there. Everyone was having fun; some were even bowling. A fabulous young girl said she “loved it all,” but asked “why it was all the way over here, in the middle of nowhere” (12th Avenue and 42nd Street). I replied with a straight face that, “the crashing pins and balls were real loud, so it had to be a little bit away from everything.” She accepted my explanation, sipped her sticky drink, and went off to squeal. Bowling is fun; it’s communal, and you don’t have to be any good to enjoy it. Bowling clothes are sexy, so it figures to be a home run … er, strike. Noah and Danny A. will host Halloween there.
I didn’t attend last night’s opening of the new Cain — photos of giant elephant tusks turned me off. I have heard mixed reports. Some say they’re real, some say they’re fake. If they are real, it’s not only a disgrace, but I believe very illegal. I consider the players over there friends and I sincerely hope the tusks are reproductions.
Instead, I went to Ella for the opening of “Soul Glo.” I was told by a reliable source that DJ Moma is the real deal. I was told, “He has a real job during the day, like an engineer or something, and he does this at night.” Moma wrecked the place. The downstairs was packed with a hip crowd, and everyone was feeling it. An urgent text message brought me next to the Eldridge, where a really hot crowd was also enjoying great music. This time, DJ Mos was wheeling and dealing, and I had a shot of something gooey and dark and potent with Jason and some of the Eldridge staff. I had to sit down after that, and Matt Levine had me at his table. Chris Noth was high-fiving him, and supermodels swayed back and forth, without squealing, at least; but I could still hear bowling pins crashing in my head, and so I headed home.
I had started the night at the opening of the restaurant my partner, Marc Dizon, and I had just completed in Times Square. Aspen Social began and, as far as I could tell, people were liking it. I spent many months conceptualizing — identifying fabrics and fixtures, and chairs and art, etc. — and I would like to thank all the people who were patient with me, as it tends to be all-consuming. The experience exhausted me, as we only had two months and a few days to build out this large restaurant/lounge. The MisShapes played an amazing set. I’ve heard them before, but really appreciated the music they offered to a crowd which wasn’t necessarily what they were used to. It didn’t feel out of place in Times Square. As Greg Brier has proven at Highbar and Amalia, it’s safe to go to Midtown. It stands to reason if they’ll come to Times Square, they’ll go to bowl over on 12th Ave.
Places are opening now, and the gloom of just a few weeks ago seems to be showing signs of hope, of growth, of new. I told this to some nice lady in a suit; she looked at me with deep, down, Dow Jones-y eyes and said, “You ain’t seen nothing yet.” I looked at her with that look I reserve for cabbies who take me through Union Square at 5 p.m. and said, “I’ve seen a lot.” My phone is ringing. Lots of people are talking about opening a restaurant, a club, and even a hotel or two. Suddenly, there’s loot to build. It’s as if they’ve identified the bottom — or is money coming out of the stock market looking for a place to breathe? I’ve been through a recession or two. People are going to go out, they’ll drink, they’ll dance, and they might even bowl.