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international news _ 9th January, 2007

Bankers Bottle New York Nightlife

Text by Jonty Skrufff (Skrufff.com)

The Guardian branded New York ‘the city that fell asleep’ this week, blaming puritanical authorities, gentrification and ‘an invasion of besuited hedge-fund managers’ for destroying the City’s once notoriously hedonistic club scene.

"The fabulously ludicrous, big-budget, Busby-Berkeley-on-E Manhattan nightlife of yesteryear is over and out. Forget those velvet ropes,” the paper declared, “Nouveau New Yorkers want dégustation menus and waitress bottle service, and they certainly don't want to be told that, though they have AmEx black cards, they're not hip enough to get through the front door.”

The British paper’s assessment matched that of New York’s listings bible the Village Voice, who last week blamed ‘millionaires, bankers and bottle service’ for turning clubs into places with ‘all the excitement and pizzazz of a corporate party thrown in a hotel conference room’.

“Bottle service music, with few exceptions, is universally interchangeable, geared toward those too drunk (or too high) to pay attention to an entire song,” Voice club expert Trish Romano added.

“It's ADD (attention deficit disorder) for the ears, snippets of Justin Timberlake's SexyBack and Kanye West's Gold Digge merging endlessly with any number of Michael Jackson songs. There is almost no new music introduced at these clubs that you couldn't already hear on the radio. Crowds just want the hits,” she complained.

Also in New York last week, members of the New York Nightlife Association met with City Council Speaker Christine Quinn to confirm a new package of measures aimed at improving relations between club owners and authorities, including regular meetings with cops and tighter enforcement against producers of fake ID cards.

"I think we've opened up the lines of communication," Bloomberg official John Feinblatt told the Staten Island Advance newspaper. "(The measures) will absolutely add to our enforcement arsenal in keeping nightlife in New York safe,” he added.

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