Wednesday, May 31, 2006


The dead period has begun here in "Clubland," with apologies to the New York Post (take a look at the last few paragraphs of the article). The traditional post-Memorial Day Weekend doldrums have set in, and the Manhattan weekend nightclub scene promises to be as dead as a doornail until September.

Even Lafsky left me high and dry this past weekend, splitting the city for a time share in the land out past the end of the Long Island Expressway.

I don't know shit about the Hamptons. I mean, I know the Hamptons geographically and all, but not through doing anything recreational, if you gather my meaning. See, to get to the Hamptons, you obviously need to head due east. But when you travel far enough east, all roads lead to one: Route 27, otherwise known as Sunrise Highway. When you've gone as far as the outskirts of Southampton, you really have no choice but to be on Sunrise, and once you hit the village border, the whole thing bottlenecks. Turns into a local road, with local cops and local speed limits.

I've been to the Hamptons, but only as part of what locals call the "trade parade." This is the endless procession of delivery trucks, contractors' vans and landscaping trailers that queues up virtually every weekday morning, making the trek into the East End to service the homes and gardens of Suffolk County's aristocratic class. If you're in the middle of this when you hit the Southampton bottleneck, you're fucked, unless you're getting paid by the hour, like I was. Then you're okay, because when you're like me, the only way you're going to the Hamptons is if somebody's paying you.

I've never been to Neptune's, Pink Elephant, Cain or the Boardy Barn. I'm not sure if the Boardy Barn is still around. In fact, I don't really know if it ever was around, because I've never seen it. I've never eaten at Della Femina. I have, however, done my share of electrical work on Dune Road. I once helped frame a house in Wainscott. Two years ago, I believe, I ate a sandwich from a deli in Water Mill. I may also have had a cup of coffee, black.

I've been to clubs on the water around here, though. I've been to places on Long Island and the Jersey Shore -- even worked a few in my younger days -- and I've learned some things in the process. I've learned that the only thing worse than a spiky-haired, threaded-eyebrow guido in an ugly striped shirt with linkless French cuffs is a spiky-haired, threaded-eyebrow guido in a wife beater, capri pants and sandals. Or boat shoes and a captain's hat. I've seen this.

Witness the Man of Mystery. Watch out.

I've learned that the locals never come out of character, even at the beach. I've learned that drinking is drinking, and drunk is drunk, and that I don't need to drive an hour and blow $500 to get that way, even in the summertime, because all I'm bound to find, wherever I go, is the same mass of useless humanity for whom I play zookeeper three nights a week throughout the year.

And if you go out there without a place to stay, the pressure is on, and that's when you'll go all Finnepoon. Just ask "Clint." In other words, if it's 3:45, and you haven't hooked up yet, you'd better find yourself an ugly girl if you don't want to sleep under your car. Pressure.

For those of us who stay here in the city, the summer months provide a respite from all that. My club stays open, but with a somewhat smaller staff, and we operate at around half capacity on weekends. We were occupied long ago by the Bridge and Tunnel Army, you see, and after Memorial Day the troops retreat to the water, preparing for their fall advance. Which is fine with me, because I'll hopefully be out of this business by then.

The flip side of this, of course, is that the only people coming to my club are the dregs of guido society. The ones who can't afford to go "out east" or "down the shore." The diehards. The people who simply have to be at this place night after night, week after week, month after month. The people I understand least. Even their fellow guidos shun them. I, however, do not.

So that's where we are. I've had a few bouncing offers, one of which I'd have taken had I not been contracted to write a book, but I'm staying put and enjoying the quietude of a summer in New York City.