The scene felt like a pagan ritual of sorts, with the architecture of the space creating a unique Game of Thrones meets Hogwarts vibe. Guests inside sipped $15 drinks while under-21 fans outside begged to be let into the "secret" concert they'd heard about on Twitter. To steal a line from Carrie Bradshaw, it was "Hell with a cover charge."
Since it opened in January in the upper reaches of Chelsea in Manhattan, the Flash Factory has become the unofficial playground of New York's modeling diaspora. Jacopo Olmo, Diego Villarreal, Hari Nef, Maya Monès, who walked Gypsy Sport, and August Gonet, known for his bleached buzzcut, can all be found on the regular percolating underneath its high ceilings and imitation baroque decor.
Fashion's party monsters have also flocked to this otherwise unglamorous corner of Manhattan, so close to Penn Station. Jeremy Scott threw the after party for his fall New York Fashion Week show there and the party promoter Ladyfag now has a Sunday residency called Battle Hymn that attracts more hard-core techno fans.
"On any given night at Flash Factory you will see people of all different cultures, colors, sexual orientation, and people playing dress up," said Michael Satsky, one of the club's owners. "It's something that's been missing from Manhattan for a while." In trying to fill that void, the owners have sought out all sorts of constituencies beyond models, who, after all, are fickle patrons, just as likely to drop a new hotspot when too many plebes find out about their hideaway. They've expanded their regular program to include more than just dance parties. There are concerts like Jonas', for instance, but earlier this month the venue also hosted a Bernie Sanders rally called "Bern NY Bern" with Susan Sarandon and Gaby Hoffmann in attendance. Weekend nights, however, cater to revelers more interested in late-night sin than salvation. No top 40 allowed. The price of indulgence runs from $30 to $40 though for the privilege of dancing to DJs like Chromeo, A-Trak, Jamie Jones, and The Martinez Bros. And after spending that much, everyone dresses for the occasion. On a good night at Flash Factory, you get the impression that fashion week might still be underway, with patrons decked out in custom-made outfits, makeup, and plenty of of #malepolish and glitter.
The all-black church spire logo.
Democratic, if you're willing to pay the $30-40 cover. Expect long lines if it's at capacity. Best Night: Nicky Ottav's "Freaky Friday."
Models (lots of models) and their groupies.
Jeremy Scott, Hari Nef, Nick Jonas, Susan Sarandon.
Techno, underground, rock.
Flash Factory, 229 W 28th St, New York, NY, 10001. Prices: $15-20 cocktails, discount drinks on Sunday; $30-$40 cover, $100 per person for the "Circus Room," $150 for the "Main Room." Hours: Friday - Saturday: 11:00 p.m. - 4:30 a.m.; Sunday 11:00 p.m. - 2:00 a.m.