Secret Garden


Funny how a night of clipping our toenails still ranks higher than boozing it up on the Upper East Side. Post-collegiate frat-houses like Brother Jimmy’s and the Big Easy remind us why we never leave downtown: Check out crusty ad-sales execs, busting out pickup lines from last month’s FHM! and airbrushed P.R. chicks playing lesbian for One! Night! Only! The night will invariably end with body shots off a dude who, despite his personal claim, would only resemble Mark McGrath more if you barfed on his face. Sweet.

Despite our fears, we were lured uptown one Friday night for Cooper-Hewitt’s Summer Sessions. In its second year, the outside soiree last summer boasted Philly DJ royalty Josh Wink, spinning outside in the Arthur Ross Terrace and Garden. This year, they’ve lined up Brooklyn native Kervyn Mark, former guest DJ at Body & Soul, Bang the Party, and P.S. 1 Warm Up; Tesao with DJ Sabo and Groove Collective’s Nappy G on percussion, mixing everything from hip hop to Middle Eastern dub to Latin samba to Miami bass. P.S. 1 devotees expecting to get the party on early will, admittedly, be disappointed: the vibe is more easygoing than that ecstasy-induced sweatathon (although that one dude, clearly propelled by something other than Miller Lite, gets extra points). Similarly, the L.E.S./Williamsburg rich-in-hiding who convulse at the sight of an Ann Taylor-clad 30-year-old may not find this their scene du jour. But hell, viva la difference we say. The opportunity to lounge in the old Carnegie Mansion’s brick-walled private garden is an experience once reserved only for the grossly wealthy. You won’t find such an attitude-free assortment of Upper East Siders in any of the other claustrophobic summer scenes—we’re thinking of Bryant Park Grill, Boat Basin, and Central Park Boathouse.

We do have one complaint, though: The admission fee —$10 with a free access to the museum—is pretty high, considering the party only goes on for three hours and the museum’s exhibits don’t change for six months. With all the free events in the city every summer, Cooper-Hewitt will need to lower their price to compete.

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