Not even a global pandemic could hold back these partiers from having a good time
NYC never sleeps. There is an energy in the Big Apple that seems to carry it through with its own momentum. Perhaps it is because of the density of people, the buzz of ideas, the creative surge of a collective imagination. This magical alchemy is the beating heart of the city; restless and in perpetual motion.
Unfortunately, this vibrancy can also lead some of its residents to ride the wave of excitement to some controversial decisions. This week it was reported by Graydon Carter’s Air Mail publication and PageSix that the NYC speakeasy scene was fully underway during the COVID-19 pandemic. Since then, stories of city elite at underground raves, cocktail bars, cigar tasting rooms and live music venues have begun to bubble up giving a nod to the classic speakeasies of yore.
Whether you agree or disagree with this behaviour by some of NY’s society party goers, one thing is for certain, this city has always bent the rules. In the 1920’s Prohibition era when the sale, production and distribution of alcoholic beverages was outlawed, speakeasies were born. These illegal bars and taverns provided much needed entertainment, cocktails and social escape to the hardships of early twentieth century life.
It could even be argued that our modern international bar culture spawned out of NYC’s speakeasies; in fact we still drink many of the cocktails created during this time (Mojitos, Side Cars, Manhattans, Brandy Alexanders, et al). Indeed, there remains a sense of charming nostalgia to this era even today.
The new illegal parties our current pandemic on the other hand, seem to lack this sense of charm by embracing a lack of social consciousness. Reports of ‘no rules apply’ parties at popular new haunt Omar’s La Boite in Chinatown pale in comparison to the elegant tom-foolery of the jazz age. Nevertheless, perhaps we only see the past through the rose-tinted lens of time and they are not all that different.
As lock-down continues we can surely expect more and more underground and illegal parties to creep up in NYC and across the nation; only time will tell how they will be perceived and if their attendees are pioneers or simply brazenly lacking in empathy.