It’s Saturday night, and Izzy Gold is in what looks like his natural environment.
In the back of the long, tubular space on Broome Street called GoldBar, behind parted curtains of gold chain, he stands at his turntables. He’s wearing clunky headphones around his neck, one akimbo DJ-style, and a T-shirt of his own design, black with a gold skull in the center, a pack of Marlboro Reds rolled into the left sleeve.
The gold skull is picked up in the wallpaper pattern; not far away, a row of “thrones,” tall chairs upholstered in gold fabric, are lined along the bar.
Izzy Gold and GoldBar were formed separately, but the two found each other by text message. Applying for a job to DJ at the bar, which looks a lot more Los Angeles than New York, he texted Jayma Cardosa, one of the club’s owners, with the main thrust of his pitch.
“I was like, ‘Izzy Gold at GoldBar, doesn’t that sound really good?’” he remembered in a conversation with The Observer a few days before the present gig.
At 11 p.m. on this particular night, GoldBar was pretty empty. The tables are dotted with girls dressed in high-cocktail, comparing shoes, and nervous-looking Wall Street types who are footing the bill for the $17 drinks.
“The place doesn’t usually fill up until about 12 p.m. or 1 a.m.,” Mr. Gold explained to The Observer between sets. “Sometimes I’ll just have my head down, doing the music, and then suddenly I’ll look up and it’s like, pow! The whole place is full.”
Last week, he had one of those pow moments when Linda Evangelista showed up with a friend. The friend approached the DJ booth and asked him to play George Michael’s song “Freedom.” Linda Evangelista starred in the 1990 video for the song; Izzy Gold was 8 years old. But in 2008, the irony was not lost on him.
Until a couple of years ago, Mr. Gold was known by everybody as Francesco Civetta. “Everybody” has included designer Tommy Hilfiger’s daughter Ally (whom he counts among his closest friends), former Olivia Palermo dater Brad Leinhardt and Ivanka Trump, whom he’s known since seventh grade.
His new moniker came to him in June 2006. The New York University film student was watching a documentary about the boxer Rocky Marciano, whose promoter was named Izzy Gold.
“I just thought, ‘Wow that’s a cool name for a brand,” he said. “It’s also like a play on words, like Izzy Gold—is he gold?—you know?”
He boasts that even his parents call him Izzy.
“I started calling him Izzy in front of photographers and press,” Ally Hilfiger told The Observer. And now, the brand name “Izzy Gold” has become the person, Izzy Gold.
“It was just going to be for the public, to build the brand,” he said. “And [my parents] always called me Francesco. But now this year they started calling me Izzy.”
“My dad has a thick Italian accent so it comes out more like “eezzee.”
That night a couple of Saturdays ago, after he played “Freedom,” Linda sent over a bottle of Champagne as a thank-you.
This kind of back-and-forth between Izzy Gold and the Manhattan celebrity-socialite matrix is an inherited trait. Which explains, in part, why Mr. Gold is not called Mr. Civetta.
His father, Nicola Civetta, whom he describes as a descendent of Italian nobility, ran the nightclub Regine’s on Park Avenue and 59th Street in the 1970s—“it was like Studio 54 before Studio 54 existed”—and then became the owner of the restaurant Primavera, on First Avenue between 82nd and 83rd streets, where Mr. Gold said he grew up around celebrities.
When Mr. Gold was 4 years old, the photographer Richard Avedon was a friend of his father’s and a regular at the restaurant.
“I met him several times; he was really good friends with Dad,” Mr. Gold explained later. “He often brought over books of his that came out and gave them to my dad. I was very inspired by Avedon.”
As a Christmas present, Avedon took pictures of Mr. Gold and his mother and brother. There’s a funny Sears-kid-portrait element to Izzy’s, which hangs in Mr. Gold’s apartment on East 82nd Street. He said his brother was photographed with an unlit cigarette dangling from his mouth and aviator sunglasses covering his eyes. He doesn’t really remember the shoot, but he said his mother “dressed [them] up” for it.
He recalls a time when he was 7 years old and his father introduced him to Mike Nichols and Harrison Ford, who were dining together.
“I’m still kicking myself for going up to Harrison Ford being like, ‘You’re Indiana Jones!’ and not realizing who Nichols was at the time. I mean that’s like The Graduate!”
His mother is Peggy Neuman, a Minnesota beauty queen-turned-supermodel who was with the Ford agency in the ’70s and met his father at Regine’s.
“I think my dad wanted me to run the restaurant, but it’s not in me. I have always been a free spirit and just did what I wanted.”