There’s nothing quite like a rooftop soiree to remind you that it’s spring, and yesterday’s SFNY day party did just that. The annual bi-coastal get-down features three DJs from both San Francisco and New York: King Most, Wax Poetics‘ Freddy Anzures, and Massive Selector’s Marky brought a West Coast flair to rival NYC’s own Monk-One, DJ Moma, and DJ Tara on the Hotel on Rivington’s rooftop. There’s also nothing like a red-roped hotel bar to trigger anxiety–some combination of stern bouncers, footwear policies, and ridiculous drink prices. Not today, though. “This party is hosted by a guy who has a blog called ‘Trees for Breakfast,'” remarks one hotel employee to the patrons lined up outside. “We know what we’re in for.”
Like most fancy-shmancy establishments, the key to success at the Hotel on Rivington is to know exactly where you’re going, and act like it. (The rooftop hosts different promoters and events every Sunday; most require your name to be on an RSVP list for entry, with cover ranging from $5 to $10, depending on when you get there.) Head straight down the hall of the hotel lobby and up an elevator to the penthouse on the 20th floor; stiff-haired security in suits and earpieces direct you at every turn, which is actually kind of nice. Take two steps in the door and it’s already worth it: The penthouse is completely enclosed by glass walls that boast views from the Manhattan and Brooklyn Bridges, all the way around to Stuytown and beyond. A bar selling pricey mimosas ($16) and remarkably affordable Stellas ($6) lines one side of the room, a DJ booth hides under a staircase leading higher up, and black leather couches group around small white tables marked “Reserved.” (Note: Feel free to sit down until someone asks you to move. Everyone else does.)
By the time we got inside, about 40 people were milling about the penthouse while a mix of funk and boogie blared from the speakers. While the aesthetic is undeniably bottle-service-oriented, the vibe of SFNY is absolutely West Coast: men in linen pants rolled up from the bottom (we spotted about ten of those), fedoras, aviators, boat shoes, etc. Not to mention the extraordinary number of beautiful women in sundresses and linen shorts, swaying along with the music, totally unaware of our envy, given their ability to dance in stilettos. The roof space itself was finally opened around 4:30, clearing out the room in minutes: A flight of stairs takes you to another windowed-in bar with more bottle-service-themed lounging, while another flight takes you to a wrap-around roof deck, where, on this particular occasion, a group of fellas were having, uh, trees for brunch. Also nearby: an outdoor shower. For the sunbathers, we assume.
Really though, an intimate, panoramic view of New York City is a beautiful thing, and the Rivington does it well. A dream come true for the voyeur in you, too. The discerning eye will spot the statue of a saluting Lenin next to the Askew clock on the Red Square apartment building; I also spied an Indian family decked out in traditional garb celebrating something or other on a rooftop several stories down, along with twentysomethings chucking beanbags in a game of Corn Toss, a homemade climbing wall on the side of a particularly dangerous-looking rooftop, and several almost-nude sunbathers laying about. As for the scene on our own rooftop, we thought we spotted T-Pain dressed in red denim, a hideous black-and-white checkered cardigan, too much bling (hands and mouth), and faux-diamond-encrusted sunglasses. A quick Google image search, though, proved him to be an imposter.