An Uncensored Tour of New York's Secret Hangout, Mike's Apartment

The interior of the hardest door in New York. All photos by Jeff Neumann.
The interior of the hardest door in New York. All photos by Jeff Neumann.

Today, the New York Post finally fully blows the lid off the long percolating Mike's Apartment story--touted in secrecy by Gawker, its location outed shortly afterwards, and the subject of many rumors since. Now: Meet Mike Herman, 32 years old, from Rumson, New Jersey. "He favors ripped jeans and a T instead of the leather, metal and fur worn by many night-life bigwigs. If you were a young single lady, he is the kind of guy you would bring home to meet the parents," writes the Post, but then again, we already sort of knew that. How? "What Mike didn't expect," reported Grub Street in a similar feature earlier this week, referring to the original Gawker post, "was for a commenter to discover a GPS watermark in Gawker's photo of his pickle cabinet -- which led to the Village Voice blogging the location of the apartment." And what happened then? "There were people asking if they can get in," Mike told Grub Street, "people asking people that know me if they could be brought; people buzzing my buzzer; people poking around about me in the restaurant downstairs." Our fault. So we reached out, and were invited to come around on Tuesday to make amends.

Mike, perhaps not surprisingly, wanted nothing to do with us beyond a handshake, but Mike's Apartment, as the Post says, is nothing if not a perversely democratic place, once you finally make it inside. "The rules of Mike's Apartment are pretty straightforward: Just be cool." As it turns out, it was easy to it make inside--the "two 20-somethings" who, as the Post reports, just "moved into the empty apartment opposite Herman's loft" where all the parties were previously being thrown, happened to moving in at that very moment. A friendly mover offered us some Mexican dirt weed, then ushered us into the spot, adding "even if you need somebody to get beat up, call me." Then he took off, leaving us, the myriad other random inhabitants of Mike's apartment, and photographer Jeff Neumann with the run of the place. So we took pictures.

View from the interior: plant, guiding ethos via billboard
View from the interior: plant, guiding ethos via billboard

What does the formidable and legendary Mike's Apartment look like on the inside, where "through blurry eyes and slurred speech, downtown scenesters lounge on sofas and on each other"? Well:

An Uncensored Tour of New York's Secret Hangout, Mike's Apartment

Not shag carpet, we would eventually learn, but real sheepskin. Shoes by Adidas.

An Uncensored Tour of New York's Secret Hangout, Mike's Apartment

Inside, writes the Post, cigarette smoke wafts "like demons from one of Mike Bloomberg's nightmares. There is no cash bar at this party. Instead, a fridge is stocked with beer while open bottles of vodka and whiskey sit at strategic locations throughout the room." Not this evening--we encounter only mint chip ice cream, baking soda, and ice cubes.

An Uncensored Tour of New York's Secret Hangout, Mike's Apartment

"The secret to this secret nightclub is that it is not a nightclub at all. This is just some dude's apartment. Some dude named Mike." Who may want to consider laundering that towel, especially after we washed our hands and used it to dry them. Maybe Axl Rose once did the same?

An Uncensored Tour of New York's Secret Hangout, Mike's Apartment

"Today, his bed is hidden in one corner, the stove is in another. In the center, there is a collection of couches and a coffee table, but otherwise the space is mostly bare. Perfect for hosting a crowd." A breadmaker sits ignored nearby.

An Uncensored Tour of New York's Secret Hangout, Mike's Apartment
An Uncensored Tour of New York's Secret Hangout, Mike's Apartment

Rumors of a Phish poster and an elaborate pickle collection turned out to be all too true. We should note here as well that the soundtrack veered wildly from T.I. to live bootlegs of dorm-room sounding stuff Shazaam was useless in identifying. The pickles looked tempting but expensive.

An Uncensored Tour of New York's Secret Hangout, Mike's Apartment

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GoldBar doorman Jonny Lennon recalled for the NYP a night he "sent a party of six girls over there and they disappeared into the void of Mike's Apartment." Perhaps we finally know what happened?

The man behind NYC's secret hangout [NYP] Mike, the Man Behind the City's Shortest-Lived Hot Spot, Steps Out of His Apartment [Grub Street] Is This the Infamous "Mike's Apartment," aka New York's Newest Hotspot? [Previously] The Newest Hotspot in NY: Some Dude's Apartment [Gawker]


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