For the past 25 years, writer Michael Musto has been a fixture on the New York nightlife scene, faithfully recording the downtown high life for his Village Voice column La Dolce Musto. Musto hasn’t strayed far from his childhood Brooklyn home; he rented his first apartment in Manhattan after graduating in English literature at Columbia University in the late 1970s and now, many moves later, lives in what he calls the “Switzerland” of New York-, Murray Hill (for its neutral vibe.) “People always assume I live downtown, not in a one-bedroom co-op in Murray Hill,” he explains, “but when I leave the apartment, I am equidistant from the midtown Broadway premieres and the Village Voice downtown.” Musto has owned this apartment for two years, and it’s surprisingly empty of possessions. “During my last move, I got rid of a lot of clutter. I had collected a lot of kitch: palm trees, a doll collection and even a working fountain.”
The long living room, furnished with a comfortable sofa, is perfect for entertaining. “Every two weeks, I host a movie club with four friends where we watch really bad movies,” says Musto, “like Jacqueline Susann’s Once Is Not Enough from the Joan Collins Video Selection, and my personal favorite, The Ghost Goes Gear, from the Spencer Davis Group.”
His bedroom has curtains that block out the morning light, as Musto generally attends five to six events a night, usually coming home around 2:30 a.m. He owes his stamina to good habits–”I don’t drink or do drugs, as I need to have a clear head in the morning to write about what happened.” Around the bedroom are various portraits: a 1980s-style portrait of himself by Romero Britto, and another on a laminated tabletop (“It doesn’t have legs; otherwise, I would love to eat on a painting of myself”) by Anthony Zito. When he travels for his column, he visits places with a pecularly American sense of aesthetics–Miami, Las Vegas, Los Angeles and Atlantic City. “I love the casino culture, especially as I don’t gamble. I like the shows, the buffet tables and the glitz.”
Back home, he enjoys the empty spaces of his apartment. When asked to describe his personal style, Musto replies, “My taste is store-bought, but the combination is very me and can’t be replicated. I call it ‘Early Reign of Terror’!”
Michael Musto’s upcoming book, Fork on the Left, Knife in the Back, is from Alyson Books.