If club attendance on Long Island was any indication, then partying like it was 1999 meant staying home on New Year’s Eve. Folks in the nightclub biz asked the same question all night: Where were the crowds? “It was far from what was anticipated six months ago,” said TRILOGY’S manager Brian Johnson, which brought in about 400 people. “We were expecting another 25 to 50 percent more than that.”
So was it the higher prices, Y2K fears, DWI crackdowns or house parties that kept the crowds away? All of the above.
Trilogy’s wasn’t the only place that didn’t hit quota. BARKER’S had 50 percent fewer patrons show up this New Year’s Eve than last year’s, according to a manager. A bartender there on New Year’s Day, Joe Agovino, said his private DJ service lost $7,500 when three of his four booked parties cancelled a day before the big Eve. “It was supposed to be the craziest night ever,” he said. Even the dough from the remaining gig wasn’t all his, because before the other parties cancelled, Agovino said, he’d hired an additional DJ who needed the money.
The cost of a private DJ, which is automatically doubled on New Year’s Eve, tripled and even quadrupled this year. Nightclub admission in several places more than tripled from $30 to $100, but not necessarily because of the new millennium. Industry managers point to a new state liquor law mandating that events with an open bar open to the public have to be priced at a minimum of $100.
At least one person was happy about the thin crowd—a bartender at LUXE who called it a blessing. “I didn’t stress out once,” she said.
Neither did Barker’s patron Richie Horvath. He planned on throwing back a few drinks until he heard that the local cabs were charging $18-$20 to go three-and-a-half miles. “If I make the light, I’m home in 10 minutes,” said the Copiague resident. “If I don’t make the light, I’m home in 12 minutes.” His overall critique of the evening? Not enough patrons, too many couples, high prices and a dance floor that was empty by 1 a.m. “After getting burnt for $75 here,” he said, “I’m glad I didn’t take a cab. I would have really been toasted.”
TRILOGY 2565 Hempstead Tpke, East Meadow 516-579-2131. BARKER’S 345 Deer Park Ave, Babylon 516-587-9070. LUXE 2686 Hempstead Tpke, Levittown 516-520-1332.