« Meringue Rings | Home | Teeth Mug »

September 22, 2009

Guy Trebay in the Boom Boom Room


New York City's most penetrating chronicler of all things hip and related recently visited a party for über-meister Takeshi Murakami at the Standard Hotel and brought back the following report from the frontier of the cool and fashionable; the piece appeared on the front page of this past Sunday's New York Times Styles section.


Amid the Bust, the Boom Boom

Should you ever happen to run into the Japanese ultra-genius pop star artist and handbag designer Takeshi Murakami at the Boom Boom Room of the Standard Hotel, on the eve of his latest art opening, it may help if you have a few questions prepared.

Sample question: Do you find that conducting the whirlwind jet-setting life of an ultra-genius pop star artist and handbag designer leaves you time for quiet consultation with your muse?

Or: What role does fate play in fame and global recognition? Do some ultra-genius pop star artist handbag designers just get lucky, while others wind up making Hendrick’s martinis behind a bar?

Or: Who styles your topknot? It’s kind of cute.

The one thing you should probably never inquire of a person of Mr. Murakami’s stature, on the eve of his exhibition at the Larry Gagosian Gallery, on the final night of Fashion Week, in the Boom Boom Room of the Standard Hotel, locus of all things flossy and urgent and cosmopolitan for the last seven days (and, looking forward, one might predict for the following 90), is what he thinks makes a party fun.

If you present such a banal query, well, be prepared for a look of smoldering incomprehension, a coldly evidenced distaste for breaches in the protocols of global celebrity. You must be ready to experience a displeasure that could atomize you, reduce you to an integer of laboring-class nothingness, a mote of dust.

“Do you know who you are talking to?” a Murakami acolyte will ask you in a tone that is equal parts astonishment and horror.

“Why, yes.”

“Do you know who this person is?” the acolyte will repeat.


And then Mr. Murakami himself will give you a slow burn and mutter, “I don’t like bars,” and then another acolyte will soothingly murmur, “Let’s sit down,” and then the Murakami coterie will commence to fan the pop star artist and handbag designer with flattery, much as drones in a hive do a queen bee, so his core does not melt.

And you?

Well, perhaps you will mooch a mini-truffled grilled cheese sandwich or a caponata crostini with basil from one of the trays being passed by a waitress [top] hired equally for her comeliness and her ability to glide coolly through mobs of important people, carrying a drinks tray and wearing a uniform comprising a virginal white Rubin Chapelle dress and Capezio salsa dancing shoes.

Does it matter whether this young woman, drawn from the ranks of women no less lovely and who arrive here daily in waves, cannot yet distinguish the small and taut-fleshed, tightly tailored, and faintly Tang-colored fashion eminence and art collector Giancarlo Giammetti from Stavros Niarchos, the Homerically handsome young scion of a fabled shipping fortune?

It does not.

The Boom Boom Room has only just opened. There will be plenty of time for her to figure that stuff out.

And when she does, the designer Cynthia Rowley remarked on Thursday night, as she perched on a suede marshmallow chair in a nook by a window that gave out on a panorama encompassing what looked like all the lights of New Jersey, much else will come clear.

“When you come in and see her, at first she’s like a beautiful nurse in white, bringing you your cocktail,” Ms. Rowley said, indicating one of the waitresses as she moved with gymnastic ease through the crowd. When once she has dispensed her curative potions, Ms. Rowley added, the nurse-waitress magically “becomes an angel.”

And, after a certain amount of time on the job at the Boom Boom Room, the nurse angel waitress, Ms. Rowley said, may well “become a bride” to one of the monied denizens of this very world.

And thus she will have completed a circuit that places like the Boom Boom Room exist to facilitate.

New York is always, in every instance, a city of transaction. No depression or recession or downturn or terrorist attack can alter that fact. Solid reminders of this truth are visible from any of the many windows at the Boom Boom Room.

Look west and the Hudson, its night-dark surface like shirred bombazine, summons the image of the shipping trade. Look down at the trucks still parked by the West Side Highway and recall the frenzy of manufacturing that followed World War II. Look north at the High Line park and remember the rail lines that hauled New York goods to the rest of the country and brought others back to be traded with the world.

Look south from the 18th floor of the Standard Hotel, the level of the Boom Boom Room, and the prospect is of a crystalline sky with a hole in the middle. Two towers once stood in a place the eye still refuses to register as a void. On the 106th and 107th floors of the north tower was a restaurant with a view that people who dined there rarely troubled to note.

That same restaurant provided the inspiration for the interiors of the Boom Boom Room, circular nooks by windows and sunken bars and the sense that the glass walls, only functionally concerned with enclosure and safety, are more saliently symbols of an illusion central to the mythology of this city, that the scope of possibility here is limitless.

It is here that an artist of middling talents can fully experience his magical transformation into an ultra genius pop star, and enjoy a lavish dinner party tribute surrounded by 120 of the wealthiest people around. And he can take his place on the cultural cusp as the weeklong extravaganza of novelties in fashion gives way to the next important event on the seasonal calendar, the period when the city’s art dealers bring out their fall lines.

The room and party around him will exert a mystical force, magnetizing that permanent stratum of privileged New Yorkers never more fully themselves than when reflected in the eyes of their own kind, and also those of us who gaze at them.

September 22, 2009 at 10:01 AM | Permalink


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Guy Trebay in the Boom Boom Room:


Now, what?

Posted by: Flautist | Sep 22, 2009 11:03:07 AM

The comments to this entry are closed.