Hard-to-Explain Start-Up ‘The Cools’ Throws Hard-to-Describe Party

  • School may be out for the summer, but the downtown kids were in attendance at the Old School Wednesday evening for a so-called “jamborée” in honor of Olivier van Themsche’s start-up, The Cools.

    The Cools is a social shopping site that’s sort of like Etsy, but for people who live in New York or Paris or want to look like they do. A “jamborée,” The Observer learned, is sort of like a party, but with shopping and performances.

    To date, life has mercifully failed to imitate social networks. But wandering the three floors of the converted Nolita elementary school was not entirely unlike discovering new designers and boutiques while clicking around The Cools. The site boasts a list of “curators” like Erin Fetherston and Kathy Grayson, who drew a line down the block, but there was no list. 

    In one classroom, Anna Sheffield from Bing Bang sold make-your-own friendship bracelet kits. In another, Dustin Yellin presented Nathaniel Lieb, who built an igloo around himself, from the linoleum floor up, using torn cardboard boxes and a hot glue gun. Behind him, guests checked their iPhones and sipped perspiring beers sold by Fat Radish.

    The fellows from Chinatown skate shop aNYthing realized a school-aged skater’s dream by erecting a quarter pipe in a classroom, flush with the blackboard, and using it. Nearby, Audrey Gelman—Scott Stringer’s press secretary, Terry Richardson’s breakfast companion, and Girls supporting actress—sold copies of Downtown For Democracy’s “Pocket Guide to Politics.”

    Wandering the halls, we encountered a couple of top magazine writers, a handful of attractive artists we recognized from the Internet, their children and/or dogs, the DJ duo Andrew Andrew, and the actor Waris Ahluwalia.

    Like us, many of them were drawn to the room occupied by Radio Lily, the official Internet radio station of Serge Becker‘s Jamaican restaurant Miss Lily’s, where “Dancehall School” was in session. A dozen co-eds in cropped school uniforms gyrated in a way that would have gotten them kicked out of our junior prom, which is precisely where the security guards, dressed in suits and flower boutonnieres, looked like they were headed. Sweating, we wondered if a piece of performance art could get so fun it required a cabaret license. What kind of permit does one need to throw an art exhibition/high-brow flee market/barbecue/concert, anyway?

    Later, we were told, the police arrived to break up the impossible-to-categorize fun.


  • School may be out for the summer, but the downtown kids were in attendance at the Old School Wednesday evening for a so-called “jamborée” in honor of Olivier van Themsche’s start-up, The Cools. The Cools is a social shopping site that's sort of like Etsy, but for people who live in New York or Paris or want to look like they do. A “jamborée,” The Observer learned, is sort of like a party, but with shopping and performances. To date, life has mercifully failed to imitate social networks. But wandering the three floors of the converted Nolita elementary school was not entirely unlike discovering new designers and boutiques while clicking around The Cools. The site boasts a list of “curators" like Erin Fetherston and Kathy Grayson, who drew a line down the block, but there was no list.  In one classroom, Anna Sheffield from Bing Bang sold make-your-own friendship bracelet kits. In another, Dustin Yellin presented Nathaniel Lieb, who built an igloo around himself, from the linoleum floor up, using torn cardboard boxes and a hot glue gun. Behind him, guests checked their iPhones and sipped perspiring beers sold by Fat Radish. The fellows from Chinatown skate shop aNYthing realized a school-aged skater's dream by erecting a quarter pipe in a classroom, flush with the blackboard, and using it. Nearby, Audrey Gelman—Scott Stringer's press secretary, Terry Richardson's breakfast companion, and Girls supporting actress—sold copies of Downtown For Democracy’s “Pocket Guide to Politics.” Wandering the halls, we encountered a couple of top magazine writers, a handful of attractive artists we recognized from the Internet, their children and/or dogs, the DJ duo Andrew Andrew, and the actor Waris Ahluwalia. Like us, many of them were drawn to the room occupied by Radio Lily, the official Internet radio station of Serge Becker's Jamaican restaurant Miss Lily's, where "Dancehall School" was in session. A dozen co-eds in cropped school uniforms gyrated in a way that would have gotten them kicked out of our junior prom, which is precisely where the security guards, dressed in suits and flower boutonnieres, looked like they were headed. Sweating, we wondered if a piece of performance art could get so fun it required a cabaret license. What kind of permit does one need to throw an art exhibition/high-brow flee market/barbecue/concert, anyway? Later, we were told, the police arrived to break up the impossible-to-categorize fun. [gallery columns="1"]