Beware Falling Hammers at China Club

For two decades, Manhattan’s China Club has cultivated a star-studded reputation, regularly hosting splashy record-label and movie-premiere parties that have attracted such A-listers as Bruce Willis, Bruce Springsteen and the brusque Hilton sisters, to name-drop a few.

Just last month, the West 47th Street nightspot made the gossip pages when 20-year-old paparazzi-magnet Lindsay Lohan hit the club’s dance floor with her 69-year-old Georgia Rules co-star, Jane Fonda.

Celebrities, though, aren’t the only striking objects to watch out for at China Club this summer.

Look out for falling debris!

Developers are constructing a 43-story luxury-condominium building next-door to and towering high above the three-level celeb-sighting spot in Times Square.

In an attempt to protect China Club partiers from any high-rise fallout—and, of course, shield themselves from potential lawsuits—the builders this spring installed some protective netting over the adjacent nightclub’s posh open-air rooftop, called Jade Terrace.

The sprawling fishnet motif didn’t exactly conform to China Club owner Michael Barrett’s idea of chic décor.

Designed to resemble an “Asian pagoda,” the club’s 7,000-square-foot rooftop terrace, which he created in 2002 at a cost of more than $1 million, had become, in Mr. Barrett’s words, “the lions’ cage at a circus.”

“It looks like you’re in prison here!” Mr. Barrett told The Observer about the netting that loomed above his club. “Like you’re in Attica!”

China Club’s elite clientele turned up its collective nose at the jailhouse-rock vibe, too, according to Mr. Barrett; the suits at Morgan Stanley, for instance, were rendered too aghast by the crude enclosure to book an event at the club. A couple planning to wed there also threatened to cancel.

Fearing additional scheduling pullouts, Mr. Barrett wanted the offensive mesh gone pronto. And if the condo builder wouldn’t get rid of it, the club owner threatened to take it down personally.

Then dance at your own doom, countered the developer, Steven J. Pozycki’s SJP Residential Properties of Parsippany, N.J., a relative newcomer to Manhattan. Mr. Pozycki’s attorney warned that if Mr. Barrett made good on his threat, then he and his landlord would be “fully liable for all consequences were death or injury to occur” from any object tumbling down from the construction zone.

After lobbing lawyerly insults at each other’s differing interpretations of the city’s building code, attorneys for both sides prepared to face off in front of Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Doris Ling-Cohan.

Beware Falling Hammers at China Club