We turned the corner and Emma let out an emphatic “fuck.” There was a line 5 people deep and about 300 people long leading to the door, and it was being fiercely guarded by Herculean security guards with buzzing earpieces (“who are you, Madonna?” I taunted silently, laughing to myself. Finally I had my revenge!), and their serpentine female counterparts who were clad in gold sequined shorts and sharp black blazers. I knew I was out of my depth when I saw they were reading guest lists from matching iPads—I had a sudden pang for my days as a door bitch at indie band nights in Melbourne’s dive bars. Whatever happened to pens and clipboards?
Emma and I had been invited to an alcohol launch party on the west side and we had severely underestimated the situation. A launch party, to us, was something you absentmindedly wandered past on the street and two blocks later, as an afterthought, went back to. If you were lucky, there’d be a cooler full of cheap beer; and if the Gods were really shining down on you maybe some hot bearded men or better still, a taco truck. But here was the Manhattan launch party, sprawling before us in all its spangled glory—and it was going to take us at least an hour to even get in.
Deciding to try our luck with the VIP line, Emma nervously stumbled over her words to the imposing security team and I meekly hid behind her pretending I didn’t know what was going on. We somehow managed to blag our way in which is a testament to the power of pity—having people feel sorry for you will, apparently, get you everywhere. Even though we were now in, our journey wasn’t over.
We found ourselves in a sprawling warehouse space, with lasers cutting the air in an array of fluro colours over the crowd while deep house pumped at us from unseen speakers. Grass has been laid across the entire floor—real grass too, none of this Astroturf bullshit. Around the room were apple trees. Growing real apples. There was a bocce tournament, several bars with modelesque bartenders (Daniel from New Zealand who gave us the extra long pours, if you read this, call me!), picnic rugs on the floor, a band and a mysterious green screen. I suddenly felt very self-conscious in my faded jeans, thrift store top and safely heeled wedges. All the other women were gorgeous, perfectly coiffed visions in shiny disco dresses and dangerously vertiginous heels. I was overwhelmed by the glamour.
Emma and I made a beeline to the closest tray-bearing Adonis we could find and took two drinks each. The liquor tasted like crap, but we drank it anyway. Empty handed and back at the bar, we began to appreciate the charms of partying in Manhattan. By our third round of drinks, it was safe to say we were completely enamored of it all. Between strange older men trying to convince us it was their party, one trying to convince me to be his muse and a whole array of people that looked like they might be famous but we couldn’t quite place them, we got hopelessly drunk and somehow wandered into the Jane.
30 seconds later, we were back on the street, in a cab and screaming at the driver to drive faster, faster, back to Brooklyn Goddamnit! Giddy with excitement we fell into the Commodore like mischievous teenagers. Here we were, back in our world: a world of fried chicken at 3am, rare burgers with extra crispy bacon, 3 dollar Buds and shuffleboard. We’d had fun across the bridge, but we were relieved to be home and to find everything just as we’d left it. The show and the sparkles and even the sleaze had been intriguing for that brief moment down the rabbit hole—but we preferred to be back in our muck, rolling about in it like the grubby little things we are.