Just when you thought New York nightlife was dead, Ian Schrager opens a new hotel.
On Tuesday evening, the hotelier opened his latest hotspot, the Public, with an epic, multi-level bash that raged on until the early hours of the morning. This is the man who founded Studio 54 after all—he knows how to party.
“You have to have an opening, you have to mark the spot, and if you have to have a party, do a cool one,” Schrager said, a crew of videographers trailing behind him.
Consider it done. It was a party that felt more 2007 than 2017, in all the best ways. Sure there were signs of the current era—a photo booth with the hotel’s logo overlaid on each snap; two Pretty Little Liars, Ashley Benson and Shay Mitchell, roaming the rooftop; kale to satiate the palette—but overall, this was pure, New York debauchery of an earlier vintage, a return to when the Lower East Side was the coolest place to be at 2 a.m.
And Chrystie Street certainly was the coolest place to be on this night in particular. So cool, that even the coolest kids showed up early, arriving promptly—well, 45 minutes into cocktail hour—to check out the space over jalapeño-infused tequila and many flutes of Champagne at Diego, the hotel's Diego Rivera-inspired bar. There was Anna Ewers and Hanne Gaby Odiele, slouching on some wooden banquettes just beyond the entrance; Mia Moretti bopping around, attempting not to bump into anyone with her wide-brimmed hat; even Ashley Olsen posted up at the bar, chatting with friends. When is the last time you saw an Olsen out? After Patti Smith's performance, this Olsen was dancing with abandon on the basement's dance floor.
It was a packed house, all around, and one with nary a Hadid or Jenner in sight. Instead, it was populated with longtime party mainstays, many coming out of retirement for the occasion, including Cat McNeil, Suzanne Bartsch, Jeffrey Deitch, Leigh Lezark, and Nate Lowman. There was also a heavy model contingency—Adwoah Aboah, Binx Walton, Sara Sampaio, Stella Maxwell, and Jacquelyn Jablonski among them—as well as a handful of designers, fresh off the CFDA Awards. “She looked amazing!” Prabal Gurung said, as a crew around him gushed about the custom dress he had designed for Kerry Washington. As for his take on the new spot? “What makes a good hotel is service, the people, and good lighting.” Emphasis on the lighting.
All of the above came into play as the 350 guests sat for a dinner of pork chops and lobster, which sprawled across both of the hotel’s two Jean-Georges Vongerichten restaurants Public Kitchen and Louis. It was then that perhaps the patron saint of New York parties walked in: Courtney Love had arrived. Now this is a woman who has seen a good party, and, as such, a good hotel. “It’s about the space and the service,” she offered. How was this one stacking up. “I don’t know, I haven’t seen a room yet.”
Fair. But the night was just getting started. “So you guys are a good time,” said Schrager. “In other words, you are a noisy bunch! But you can do whatever you want. It’s your party.”
It only got louder from there. While some had headed straight to the rooftop, a half-inside, half-outside bar that may soon rival the the Top of the Standard, most of the crowd moved over to the adjoining multi-media performance space, where Patti Smith took the stage to perform most of her Horses album, in a rousing, punk performance that had Cory Kennedy snapping polaroids and Soko yelling for the crowd to shut up.
It was a raucous basement affair that truly felt like a time warp to a time when parties were, well, fun. That is, if you weren’t listening to some of the conversations reverberating around you. “I want to read her book,” proclaimed one crop-top clad attendee during Smith's performance. “I think it’s called Kids? I don’t know, I heard about it on Alec Baldwin’s podcast.”
Sigh. Just kids.
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