What Kind of People Take a Sunday Evening DJ Boat Cruise?
On Sunday evening, as many napped away brunch buzzes or began prepping emails for Monday, a maritime bacchanal was held out on the Hudson. House music promotion companies Resolute and Sheik 'N' Beik commandeered the Circle Line for a very different cruise than the sightseeing tour you take when your parents come to town.
Sheik 'N' Beik's Facebook page describes them as a "mechanism filtered from the electronic ether, generating euphoric sediment", but in short what they do is throw fun parties. Because of the Circle Line's proximity to Times Square, I was expecting a poor man's version of the S.S. Coachella stocked with NYU frat boys looking to continue their Saturday night mixed with a few confused tourists. Instead, I was pleasantly surprised by a crowd of internationals and those you might glimpse in the background of a Page Six photo. These are people for whom Sunday night is very much still the weekend. Anecdotes of moonlighting for a week on a yacht in Italy filled the air.
Bushwick-based DJ Connie opened the night as the boat pulled out into the Hudson. Her ethereal jams set a grooving tone as people's second drink disposed of Saturday night's hangover.
The boat itself was more Staten Island Ferry than luxury yacht -- 12 dollar cocktails and metal folding chairs stacked in the corners. But that didn't deter the revelry. By the time Chilean producer Alexi Delano started playing minimal beats, several hundred people were grooving and fist-pumping at the sunset.
France, Denmark, Sweden and Spain, were all represented on the dance floor. Many of the partygoers were nightlife stalwarts, people who have been in the electronic music scene before festival EDM culture skyrocketed the likes of Avicii and Flume to superstardom. "It's a very diverse crowd," said Connie after her set.
Resolute event organizer Nektarios Ioannidis, who described himself as a "party maker" as he danced in a coconut bra, has been throwing these boat parties for years. When I asked if he was considered one of New York's top promoters he responded, "That's what they say." He had just gotten in from Ibiza where he said he was doing "the usual."
These DJs and promoters occupy a sort of nightlife working class, not as immediately hip as the bands that get booked at The Silent Barn or sell out Bowery Ballroom a week after getting "Best New Music", but rather focused on a sustainable party that can weather trends. Resolute has been hosting parties in New York for nearly eight years. From what I saw, they had all the right ingredients: hordes of gorgeous women, plenty of booze, and women baring their ass to the DJ.
There was a prevailing sentiment that the crew involved in these parties is holding down the underground club scene. Alejandro Sab, who is also a DJ and good friends with the promoters, said the structure of New York underground nightlife has, to an extent, fallen apart. "There was a time in New York when it was the center of this type of music. There used to be a core, but now it's been diluted by mainstream elements." The commercialization of electronic music has grown to the point where even the term EDM is resented by Sab and others.
The party did seem very tight-nit. The average age was a bit older than you'd find at house night at Cameo or Bossnova Civic Club, those who seek quality house music rather than chasing the latest fad.
Blond:ish closed out the night with a raucous set that gave the fifth hour of the cruise a new life. The Canadian duo of Anstascia D'elene Vivie and Ann Bakos got their start by winning the World Air Guitar Championship, and have been touring the world as DJs ever since.
Eventually the evening on the booze cruise ended. Some staggered home or went to a club to continue their evening. Though many had the impending work week to dread, for some, the party continued indefinitely.
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