Finding an unpublished George Gurley piece is like opening a perfectly written time capsule. In May 2001, New York City was preparing to say farewell to a term-limited Rudy Giuliani and welcome anyone from Mark Green to Freddy Ferrer to Michael Bloomberg as its first new leader in eight years. An intrepid young Observer reporter named George Gurley hit the party scene to ask prominent New Yorkers what they thought would happen to the city. He wrote it up and then … it disappeared.
The Observer never published Mr. Gurley’s observations, captured first at the annual benefit for the African Rainforest Conservancy, held at the Park on 17th Street and Tenth Avenue and the second was for the tenth anniversary of the Paramount Hotel.
Twelve years later, as we approach another change of guard at City Hall, Mr. Gurley got to thinking about that piece. When he realized it hadn’t seen the light of day, Mr. Gurley, still an intrepid young Observer reporter, brought it to our attention.
We knew this day would come. The Village Voice has made good on its threats and fired three longtime writers: nightlife columnist Michael Musto, theater critic Michael Feingold and food critic Robert Sietsema. Last week, which was particularly devastating for New York media, two top Village Voice editors–Will Bourne and Jessica Lustig–resigned rather than lay off five writers, as Read More
The Eight-Day Week
Liam McMullan was standing outside of the West Village Bistro Highlands on Thursday night, wearing what appeared to be a homemade Bart Simpson t-shirt. As the new brand ambassador for Ploom “Pax,” which proudly boasts itself as being the “premium loose leaf vaporizer,” the son of famed New York photographer Patrick McMullan was doing his best to earn his Purple Prince title. When the Transom asked the young party scion how he had become involved with promoting the San Francisco-based company, he told us:
“I went to Wonderland and met Alice, and we went to a tea party with the Mad Hatter!”
Yours truly is one of a “kaleidoscope of New York personalities” who will be walking the runway to celebrate the one-year anniversary of the Canadian clothing company Joe Fresh. Dani Stahl, Steven Rojas, Mickey Boardman, Cory Kennedy, May Kwok, Fiona Byrne, Ari Seth Cohen, Va$htie Kola, gossip guru Michael Musto and Jordan Bradfield are among Read More
Macho Macho Men
On a recent Friday night, the Transom arrived on the early side at Marie’s Crisis, the piano bar in the West Village known for its propensity for show tunes. What can we say, sometimes it’s been a rough week and the only cure is singing Sondheim while surrounded by fabulous men, Broadway wannabes and the occasional semi-pro.
The place is practically an institution, with Dexter Watson on the ivories and the occasional solo performance of a number from Jekyll and Hyde as interpreted by one of Marie’s roving bartenders. So color us surprised, then, when we got to the block and saw a chorus line of people waiting outside the venue. Was Kristin Chenoweth making a guest appearance at the literally underground musical hangout? Alan Cumming?
It’s a well-known adage that if you are old enough to remember Studio 54, you’ve probably aged out of any knockoffs of the infamous Midtown debauch-party. But all rules were suspended on Sunday night, when Michael Musto—The Village Voice’s answer to “What would Oscar Wilde have said if asked to comment on the ’80s for VH1?”—held his ’70s Disco Extravaganza at 54 Below.
The venue 54 Below is located, as the name might lead one to expect, directly below the former Studio 54. Walking into the gilded underground hall, the Transom found it hard to discern what sort of patrons were attending the evening. Not drag queens, exactly—there was one man wearing a giant fur stole and some kind of 12-gallon hat—though it was certainly a flamboyant crowd. And why not? Accompanying the host of the evening was the ’70s cover band Elektrik Company, along with two individuals named Snooky & Tish, billed as Mr. Musto’s “glittering sidekicks.” (No, it wasn’t that Snooki.) And this was all before the evening’s special guests!
The first time The Observer met Niki and Shaokao Cheng, it was July, during the opening night of Julio Gaggia’s art show. Mr. Gaggia, the boyfriend of the plastic surgeon Mark Warfel, was preparing his work “Living Art: Chelsea Boy Apartment,” during which he would live for five days as a window display model at the BoConcept furniture store on West 18th Street. He spent the week eating, sleeping, working—and performing other, less-mentionable activities—in a showroom that divided him from gawkers outside with a pane of glass.
While we lounged about on the display furniture, socialite photographer Patrick McMullan brought over a petite woman with short, pixie-cropped hair.
“Niki is one of the few Power Asians in New York society,” he loudly whispered, flourishing Ms. Cheng before us. She smiled shyly and posed for a photograph before excusing herself.
It would be two weeks before we realized that Ms. Cheng and her husband owned the store where we had dropped more than one canapé between the cushions of a $3,000 couch.
In fact, the couple owns all five locations of the Danish furniture store in New York City, and another two in New Jersey. But the stores themselves aren’t the reason Mr. McMullan calls the Chengs “Power Asians.” Rather, it’s the couple’s seemingly innate social instincts, their ability to leverage a fairly cookie-cutter, mid-market design base into a celebrity-filled social whirl. One might say “Only in America,” or (even worse) “Only in New York,” but this wouldn’t exactly cover it. There is a certain type that thrives in Manhattan no matter what they’re selling, no matter where they’re from, no matter how few resources they have upon arriving.
In the Neighborhood
Michael Musto is not the slightest bit pleased with Regent Media, the owners of Out and The Advocate, and, incidentally, the publishers of his forthcoming book that hasn’t quite been published. Mr. Musto dedicated his weekly column to lashing out at Regent (owners who have earned a reputation for being particularly Read More
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 Read More
The Village Voice celebrated Michael Musto’s 25th anniversary as a columnist last night, with a party hosted by Michael Urie and Joan Rivers at 230 Fifth.
The Transom caught up with Mr. Musto during the Bonbon afterparty.
“I would love to keep posting and just rest on my laurels,” he said. “No, I’m kidding. I Read More