On Monday evening, a passel of young women were observed entering the Chelsea Hotel and telling the front desk attendant that they were going to the penthouse apartment of the photographer and documentary filmmaker Sam Bassett. Holding court in Mr. Bassett’s rooftop garden was the party photographer (and iPhone magazine publisher!) Patrick McMullan and the artist Laurie Ogle. The pair, who dated in the ’80s, are the parents of Liam McMullan, who was celebrating his 21st birthday that evening with close friends and family. (A larger party is planned for later this month at the Marc Ecko showroom.)
Patrick buzzed about, snapping photos and making introductions between Liam’s old friends from middle school and new friends like Ally Hilfiger. "There’s Liam’s lady friend!" he said, pointing toward an attractive young blonde following Liam inside. Gesturing toward the many other attractive young blondes at the party, he said, "I was told not to invite anyone, but what am I supposed to do? I have party A.D.D., but I don’t want to totally take over because I know I can do that sometimes. I just cannot believe that I have a 21-year-old son; I feel like I can write the Declaration of Independence now!"
Writer and downtown DJ Anita Sarko, who is Liam’s godmother, arrived.
"I used to get all kinds of video games for Liam’s birthdays when he was younger that his mother always deemed inappropriate," Ms. Sarko told the Transom. "But now, I’m not sure what to get him. I was thinking of maybe getting him a nice smoking jacket. Maybe his godfather [Michael] Musto and I will collaborate on something and make this a big one."
So far Liam has received a ring, a pair of Brooks Brothers pants from his father, $31 from his grandmother ($21 plus $10 for good luck) and a silver money clip engraved with his initials, from his girlfriend. "It’s an ironic gift for me," he said, pulling out the empty money clip from his pants pocket. "My dad and I had a deal that if I didn’t smoke till I was 21, then he would get me a car." But his father insisted that Liam had failed to hold up his end of the deal; the two live together in Patrick’s lower Fifth Avenue apartment.
"You guys want some absinthe?" a young gentleman with messy hair suddenly asked the Transom, offering up his flask. He turned out to be an absinthe purveyor.
When Mr. Musto arrived, he was introduced to everyone as Liam’s godfather, which several guests agreed was "really cool," and the birthday boy proceeded to do his best Godfather impression. And just as Patrick was telling tales of a 6-year-old Liam accompanying him to shoot fancy parties, it was time to sing "Happy Birthday."
Someone asked if a cake was on its way. "We don’t need cake, we have absinthe!" yelled another guest.