By Alex Distefano
By Scott Snowden
By Anna Merlan
By Steve Almond
By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
Heather isn't the first scenester to bump and grind at South Beach Water Club. But at 15, she's among the youngest. This is teen night, and no ID is necessary for kids 18 and under to party down with soda and water.
One couch area serves well as a makeshift dance floor for Heather's doggy-style dance moves against a jock. Other half-pints flaunt grown-up looks, too. Hipless girls wear body-hugging pants. Baby fat spills out of midriff-baring outfits.
The bouncers aren't the only ones getting a glimpse of cleavage-filled tank topsparents see them, too. One manager says moms and dads drop off most of the teen clubbers, and the big joke among club staffers is that the club is packed, but the parking lot is practically empty. "It's like babysitting," he says. "But you're babysitting for 500 kids."
And there's no lack of discipline for the little tykes. Bouncers play the heavy by patting them down at the door for illegal contraband like alcohol, cigars and cigarettes. Random checks are made around the club for slick booze smugglers. And a bouncer orders kids down from their perch on a high-up ledge.
But it's not necessarily safer on the ground. While Heather goes for round two with her dance partner, a 16-year-old by the bar talks about breaking up with his ex when she got pregnant. "It's not mine," he snaps. And then, with a rush of SUVs and other suburban-minded, parent-driven vehicles coming around by midnight, the party comes to a close.
South Beach Water Club 50 Broadway, Island Park 516-889-2405.