As a general rule, I am never trying to go to a Fancy Hotel Party basically fucking ever. Drinks are a million dollars a pop, everyone there has more money than I do, and most of them have that air of intense, privileged prettiness that you find on that Rich Kids Of Instagram Tumblr. In order to successfully cover an event such as this, one has to have no qualms with not only interacting with these dinguses, but also, like, asking to take their picture and shit. I am not the type of person who likes to meet new people, but I am the type of person who is familiar with DJ’s and music and stuff, and I am the type of person who, when asked by the wonderful, benevolent people at VICE to cover a thing, generally do my best to cover it. My editor kindly requested that I take, “One million pictures.” I took two, because all I had was an iPhone and the lighting was terrible. One is the image that you see above of some rich people dancing (EDIT: which we didn't post because it was terrible,) and the other is of my friend Alexi, who is a rapper who makes (very good) rap music under the name Lakutis. (EDIT: which we also didn't post because it was terrible. He’s one of the funniest dudes I know, and was with an impossibly pretty woman who he kept referring to as his “lawyer.” He introduced Devon and I to the rapper Despot, who was very nice.
This is Lakutis. Not from this party though.
The event in question that I was sent to cover was last week’s after-party at the TriBeCa Grand hotel meant to celebrate the conclusion of the British band Bloc Party’s three-night, sold out run at Terminal 5. The DJ’s Them Jeans and Prince Baggage played, and their sets were pretty great in the sort of anonymous party-curator-rather-than-party-rocker way that certain brands of DJ sets are. The party itself, however, demonstrated everything that can be stupid and lame about New York, this sort of forced sense of insider-dom and exclusion when in actuality nobody gives even seven-tenths of a shit.
My friend and I arrived to a fairly dead-looking TriBeCa Grand at around midnight, aka party o’clock for most of the universe. Except, it seemed, at the TriBeCa Grand. I literally walked up to the front desk guy and asked him, “Where the party at?” He looked at me with one of those stone-faced expressions you find on soldiers in the field, or on large individuals with backgrounds in mixed martial arts who are being paid to bodyguard celebrities they secretly hate.
“There is no party,” he said. Oh.
This is the Tribeca Grand hotel.
“The Bloc Party thing,” Devon interjected, because she is much better at being smart than me. That specific party, it seemed, was downstairs, and it was a secret. There were a few people in the hotel’s sunken restaurant/extended lobby thing, many of them reading on iPads and generally acting like there wasn’t a party to speak of. When we got to the basement, there were a couple exasperated-looking people holding a big book with a bunch of names in it. I have been in these sorts of situations before, and sometimes even when various publicists swear up and down that your name is in the large book of names, sometimes it is not. I will never not worry about this. Turns out that wasn’t even a factor at this here rodeo, and she just let us in without checking the list. This was probably because once we got inside, it turned out that there weren’t many people in there.
The cool thing about parties like this is that there is usually a hilariously-stocked bar, and sometimes they give you free drinks. This is sort of what I was banking on as we sauntered up to the bartender, but $26 and two gin and tonics later, I discovered this wasn’t exactly the case. Drinking at any bar, really, is this sort of cost-benefit analysis thing where you try to figure out how much being drunk is worth to you given the price of drinks and ambiance of the bar you’re in. If you’re paying four bucks for a beer or whatever, you can reasonably expect to have four dollars worth of utility (read: fun/drunkenness) from said beer. There are some circumstances, however, where you either have to go all in or leave. If you’ve already paid thirteen dollars for a cocktail, you might as well have a few more thirteen-dollar cocktails so you can forget about how you just paid thirteen bucks to get distilled juniper berries mixed with something that will help stave off malaria. Y’know, one more just to make sure the first one is doing its job, another drink to keep the first two company, and a fourth one to make sure morale is high as the alcohol works its way through your system. This is called science, and it totally works.
These are cargo shorts.
Oh yeah, the party. There were maybe fifty people in there at the outset, and the number would oscillate from that to about a hundred once things really got popping off. It was really dark, with sporadic interjections from swirling colored lights, which gave off the feel of being in a really hip, fancy cave. There was a generous swath of the crowd whose presence at this event felt completely anachronistic. That would be the perhaps ten percent of them who were just tall, skinny dudes in cargo shorts and t-shirts, the type of outfit you generally see on college freshmen or frat dudes whose Vineyard Vines game was off due to laundry. The weirdest thing about them is that they all seemed to not know each other, and they seemed to exist as this weird tangent to the groups of well-dressed girls they were standing with. Did these dudes not know? They must have known. There is no way that they could have found themselves at a party that was largely unpublicized and whose existence was kept at a de facto need-to-know basis from even those staying in the hotel itself. Their grandparents must have invented the color yellow, or toilet paper. The rest of the crowd looked like they should have been there—Devon and I probably existed on some plane between them and everybody else—but the cargo shorts dudes somehow threw the party into sharp relief. By the time the guys from Bloc Party started filing in, we’d seen all we needed to see. The beverages had been consumed, the people we knew there had already been chatted up, and the cargo shorts vibes had been noted.
The real lessons to be gleaned here, it seems, is that if you’re going to a party like this you should probably be more prepared, and if you’re throwing a party like this you should really make sure you have a dress code.