Midnight’s Children: New York Nightlife Icons
Every field of endeavor has its icons, and nightlife is no different. To be an icon in this world, one has to be successful and stay relevant. After all, you’re only as good as your last party. For every genuine icon, there are swarms of scenesters who occupy the pantheon in their own minds — putting the “I” and “con” in the word. But it takes a certain amount of swagger to succeed in this business, so they should be forgiven. Besides, they are always the easiest people to shop for around Christmas: any mirror will do. Listed below are my six New York City club icons — solo artists and teams — and the up-and-comers with the potential to replace them, if only their predecessors would move to India (or somewhere even more remote, like Brooklyn).
ICONS: Club owners Noah Tepperberg and Jason Strauss, who scored big with Suite 16, Marquee, TAO New York and Las Vegas, LAVO and the new super-hot gastro-lounge Avenue. WHO’S NEXT: Eugene Remm and Mark Birnbaum currently operate a number of A-list properties including Tenjune, Abe & Arthur’s and Simyone, and have put together a strong marketing company in Emm. If they’re missing an ingredient, it’s downtown cool.
ICON: Nur Khan, whose sophisticated rock chops and social skills (his friends include everyone from Beck to Alexander McQueen) are tough to duplicate. When Rose Bar is at its best, it’s the best in town. WHO’S NEXT: Bowery Electric’s music junkie Jesse Malin, with some help from Rose Bar’s DJ Nick Marc, might do the trick. Throw in Mark Baker for the high-end crowd.
ICON: No matter how many times his sister wears one of those “Save the Beatrice” T-shirts, Paul Sevigny’s iconic inn looks like it has shuttered for good. WHO’S NEXT: Carlos Quirarte and Matt Kliegman of The Jane Ballroom and The Smile come pretty close, but they need a Chloë. Here’s looking at waifish downtown rocker Lissy Trullie.
ICON: For years, Bungalow 8’s affable Amy Sacco has been the reigning queen of New York nightlife. WHO’S NEXT: If Sacco stays in London to be closer to her Blightly Bungalow outpost, which seems possible, could model-turned-club promoter Emma Cleary step up, with a little seasoning and help from Serpentine’s Patrick Duffy?
ICONS: Club czars Scott Sartiano and Richie Akiva of Butter and 1Oak fame. WHO’S NEXT: The pair’s partners in 1Oak — Jeffrey Jah and Ronnie Madra — are ready and able to slide right in. With a clipboard courtesy of door guru Binn and the hustle of promoter Adam Alpert, plus the high-end hip hop reach of DJ Cassidy or his manager Yoni Goldberg, they might just have enough edge.
ICONS: Party promoters Susanne Bartsch and Kenny Kenny. WHO’S NEXT: If these two took a powder break, heirs apparent Ladyfag and Desi Santiago would need to go for the gold. Clubdom is a numbers game and a merger with Mr. Black’s iconic Stuart Black would be necessary.