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10 Things I Hate About Clubbing in New York City

Who do you know? Are you on the list? Which outsider house DJ are you listening to these days?

by Michelle Lhooq
19 March 2015, 1:50am

Photo by Jens Karlsson/Flickr

New York City: shining mecca of broken dreams, obscene rents, and kale smoothie-fueled yoga raves. Everything in this beautifully fucked up city is a goddamn struggle. Your landlord's insane. Your girlfriend wants to be Carrie Bradshaw. Your neighborhood deli guy stopped returning your high-fives. Sometimes, the thought of giving up the hustle to drink forties on your stoop forever sounds super chill. To be real, the only thing that keeps me from stabbing the next stranger who creep-shots a photo of me eating on the subway is flipping off my laptop on a Friday and hitting the klerb. But even then, I've still got to deal with all the many forms of nightlife assholery detailed below. Here are ten things I hate about clubbing in New Jerk City.

Read The THUMP Guide to Clubbing: New York

10. Hype Cycles


Photo by Stuart Tracte

New Yorkers are fickle creatures, prone to the winds of Gothamist listicles. When it comes to clubbing, it's like we're stuck on a perpetual Cronut craze, except instead of delicious baked goods, we get obsessed with breakfast raves and DJ schools for babies. This constant thirst for novelty leaves nothing but a trail of perfectly good but totally forgotten venues that eventually get shut down because people forgot to Yelp review it. We're forever sucking at the teat of hype cycles and it doesn't look like we're growing up anytime soon.

9. Constant FOMO

No matter how epic the party you're at is, how fucked up you're getting, and how many babes are populating your dance circles, there will always be a better party somewhere out there. There's so much shit happening every night, you will never be able to taste the full rave rainbow this city has to offer--and you'll have to live with that for the entirety of your sad cab ride home. Oh well, at least there's always drunk Twitter.

8. Shitty Coke


Photo by Max Sparber/Flickr

This is a city that runs on cocaine. Even that quiet, pudgy manager who takes Buzzfeed quizzes at lunch will ask you for a bump at the office holiday party. This insane demand means that 90% of the coke in New York is actually powdered gasoline that has you running to the toilet as soon as you smell the bag, let alone inhale it. That also means every line to the bathroom is twice as long as it should be, because five girls in front of you are trying to clown car the nearest stall. Once the drunks go home to pass out, you're left with the terrifying dregs of jacked up strangers doing pull-ups at the bar. New Yorkers: we need to do less coke. Or better coke. Whichever.

7. The Tyranny of Bottle Service

In theory, there's nothing wrong with paying a babe on stilts to bring bottles to your table if you're exceptionally rich or exceptionally lazy. The problem with bottle service is that it's like a disease: once it enters a club, it threatens to take over every aspect of it, until all you have left is trust fund babies chugging champagne so that Kirill can photograph it.

6. Amateurs


Photo by Ram Wood/Flickr

New York City is the best city in the world because you can do whatever the fuck you want, as long as you follow a golden rule: don't be as asshole to the people around you. Unfortunately, not everyone follows this rule, and when it comes to going out, the worst offenders are the noobs. I'm talking about the girl gangs who barrel through the dance floor like a bowling ball made of elbows; the Euro techno bros who try to breakdance with five beers in hand; and anyone who takes a selfie. These rude good-for-nothings harsh everyone's vibes simply because they don't understand club etiquette. Which is totally a thing, so learn it.

5. No 24-Hour Party Palaces

Photo by Photo by Daniel Leinweber of Razberry Photography

New York City has a handful of legit clubs: Output, Verboten, Cielo, Le Bain, Good Room ... even Boom Boom Room, Space, Marquee, Westway, Webster Hall, and Le Baron have their moments. We've also got some pretty sweet bar-clubs: Bossa Nova, Bembe, Up&Down, Baby's Alright, and so on. But we still don't have our own Fabric or our own Berghain—house and techno citadels that stay open for three-day marathons of hedonism, touching the ecstatic brink of Peak Party. It also doesn't help that many of our megaclubs are European imports, rather than homegrown products. Keep the doors open past 6 AM, and let's see what happens.

Read "This is What Opening Night at Space Ibiza, New York City's Newest Megaclub, Looked Like"

4. Police Crackdowns


Photo by Stewart Butterfield/Flickr

Things have gotten better since the days of Giuliani, but not by much. The NYPD task force is still lurking Facebook event pages, causing promoters to shit their pants with unannounced visits and issuing tickets like dollar bills at a strip club. Police harassment of nightlife businesses makes it incredibly difficult for any nightspot to operate in this city. Let's not even get into how hard it is to get a cabaret license. Unless you're a millionaire with a rolodex of connections, keeping a party from getting shut down is often tougher than getting your dealer to show up on time. And you already know how hard that is.

3. The Pretense of "DIY"


Trip House in Brooklyn (RIP). Photo by Rebecca Smeyne

I'll get shit for this one, but here goes. We need to stop complaining about the death of DIY spaces like 285 Kent, Glasslands, and Death By Audio. Those places were beautiful wastelands that will be forever missed. But they were standing in neighborhoods where 750 square foot lofts have long sold for $2.5 million. Gag me, and then get over it. Everyone complaining about gentrification is probably part of the problem.

Read "Kim Ann Foxman's Guide to New York City"

2. Elitism

Who do you know? Are you on the list? Which outsider house DJ are you listening to these days? Elitism in nightlife comes in many forms—snooty Lavo regulars are just as bad as RA comment fiends at Bossa Nova—and you'll find a garden salad of pretentiousness at every after-hours joint in this power-obsessed town.

1. Yuppie Scum


Photo by Sean Ganann/Flickr

On a similar note: Rich people don't create culture. Poor kids do. What rich people create is surrogate culture—a diluted approximation of the real thing that's buoyed by money instead of creativity. At this point, Manhattanites asking their Uber drivers, "uh, Blkmarket at Bushwick warehouse TBD, do you know where that is?" are the real bridge-and-tunnel crowd.

More From This Series:
10 Things I Hate About Clubbing in LA
10 Things I Hate About Clubbing in London
10 Things I Hate About Clubbing in Toronto

Michelle Lhooq parties just as much as she complains. Follow her on Twitter.