Summer Spots: Kenmare, The Standard, and Bowling Are Back
The night was to begin at a bowling alley and end at a bowling alley. I had it all planned out. I had a bevy of beauties including my ex, my girlfriend, a client, and some good friends—all in town from someplace else—and it was my job to entertain them. Most of my entourage avoided my DJ set at Lucky Strike Lanes. They missed a good party. It was so much fun, as birthday boy Noel Ashman turned it out. The place was packed with an adult crowd of mixed origins. People were partying and laughing and meeting each other. There is something relaxing about a bowling alley. It’s as American as apple pie, a Chevrolet, or baseball, and it was a much needed oasis from all of the World Cup hoopla. As pins shattered, the gals were jumping up and down and squealing, and the guys were pumping their fists and bellowing macho belches. You can play anything at a bowling alley, as the strikes and spares are the real heroes. I finished my set and turned the DJing over to the more capable Jamie Biden, and chatted up Grandmaster Flash and his crew. Matt de Matt, whose pushing the place to the public, loved the turnout. We talked about his upcoming birthday bash, and a thousand other things he is up to. A pretty actress asked me if I was going to the Hamptons anytime soon, to which I replied “I never go.” She then offered, “How about Hyannis Port? I’m friends with the Kennedys.” I left in a hurry. I didn’t pass go and I didn’t collect my $200. I headed to subMercer for its closing party, but wondered if the Kennedy Fried Chicken in Stuyvesant Town was open late.
SubMercer closed for the summer after last night’s festivities. Only a couple blocks from my humble home, which no Kennedy has ever visited, it’s my regular stop at the end of my evenings out. I live for the gal in charge, Gabby Meija. She always greets me with that special, warm smile reserved for drunks and bad little kids who get caught. She asks me if I want “my usual”—iced water in a tall glass—and greets my entourage with an affection common only to family dogs, or strippers. She introduces me to the most important people and tells them, “Steve Lewis is a legend.” Every time someone says something like that, I check my pulse. I headed for the door partly for fear of being introduced to some stray Kennedy, but mostly to hang with door gurus Moses and Richard Alvarez. I also live for Richard Alvarez. We go off on each other big time, in a language that few can understand. It’s a sort of pig latin laced with shade: chatter about getting laid, paid, or how some poor fool just doesn’t make the grade. He will now be moving his dog-and-pony show to the door of Boom Boom Room, or Bon Bon, the 18th Floor, Top of the Standard—or whatever they call it—for the duration of the summer. The new room at the Standard makes the undeniable more undeniable, and I will be found there as often as they will have me.
My crew hopped, skipped, and jumped over to Kenmare, where DJ Todd played basically the same set I offered at the bowling alley. That clever devil actually mixed one song into the next, and I must admit, that does make the old tracks more desirable. Proprietor, bon vivant, and all around good guy Paul Sevigny talked about the state of his art. I loved everything about Kenmare. It was a super-fun crowd. My crew had actually eaten there earlier and raved about it. Kenmare will be my new last stop. I asked Paul if he ever got to Hyannis Port and he looked at me like I had Kennedy Fried Chicken stuck in my teeth
I used to tell a great joke called ‘The Penguin Joke.’ Once, at a club that I operated, a DJ pal of mine, Walter Vee, asked me to tell it to this beautiful blond that was at the bar with him. I went into my dog-and-pony-show schtick and told it. She loved it and said, “You must tell it to my boyfriend,” and dragged some hunk over. He shook my hand and introduced himself as John. I started to tell my joke. Then it hit me: John was John F. Kennedy Jr., and the beautiful blonde was his girlfriend, Daryl Hannah. I blew the punch line, and looked like a fool, as I remembered the saluting child with his father’s flag-drapped coffin passing into legend. Six months later, the couple were waiting in line to check their coats at the Palladium, where I was selling booze to the beautiful. I helped them cut the line, and they were polite and perfect. It was the only time I ever checked a coat for a customer. I live around the corner from Old Saint Patrick’s, where John John got hitched to another perfect blond, and I never forget to tell visiting friends about that. It’s strange how I’ll use the Kennedy brand to enhance the tale of this ancient church.
I tried to end my night at another bowling alley, Bowlmor Lanes. It was the Gay Pride Carnival party from the legendary Amanda Lepore and Kenny Kenny. I was told it was great fun, but probably over since it was 3am by some of my friends at Kenmare who had just come from there. The fact that these 2 places have overlap is encouraging. For nearly a decade, only very few joints mix the gays and the straights, the rich and the not so rich, the fashionistas with the hipster schlubs. SubMercer does it, so does Kenmare, and so does the Boom Boom Room. Maybe that’s why I feel so warm and fuzzy at these places—and they said it couldn’t be done.
Photo: Patrick McMullan