New York’s summer heat is enough to drive anyone indoors, especially on a Sunday afternoon. The decision to go out can often boil down to whether you can battle the hellish temperatures: a breezy ten-minute walk becomes unbearable, while a 30-minute train ride turns into a relaxing and worthwhile $2.25 cool-down. Glaring sun and general laziness aside, though, summer is a vacation, and Tiki Disco, a new biweekly Sunday dance party, demands that you treat it as such and stay outside.
The afternoon haze goes down at Bushwick eatery Roberta’s every other Sunday. Walking into the restaurant, you’ll want to sit down for one of their signature pizzas immediately, but wait it out. Through the seated area and around the dining patio is where the party begins: A straw-hatted tiki bar is the first thing to greet you, complete with frozen margaritas, Bushwick-friendly $3 beers, pitchers of sangria, and even a wine list for the slightly classier patronsw who unknowingly stumble into the fete. As the day wears on, a suggestive ice luge may make an appearance, two wild and crazy girls in tow.
Disco wafts from a tented area that hosts the DJs — Andy Pry, Unemployed Lloyd, and Eli today – complete with a few picnic tables to help those who want to hide from the sun. Past another fence proudly bearing a “We Love Tiki Disco” sign, you’re in Roberta’s herb garden, filled with those who chose conversation over jams. The mood changes at every hour, though. When we arrived at 6 p.m., most were content to stretch their legs, idly sip on a drink, and daze out to the Angie Stone remix that played above. (We also spotted a reality-TV celeb: Samantha Swetra, a/k/a Sammy from The City, who seemed completely and adorably lost.) An hour or so later, however, the party had become a full-on dance affair: the tent dimly lit by bulbs, tipsy revelers accidentally stomping on each others feet (and then laughing it off), and the few that couldn’t make their way onto the tiny wooden platform content to dance on the picnic tables.
Basically, this is the way to barbecue when you don’t have the energy to do it yourself. Instead of meat on a grill, we’ll opt to watch Roberta’s brick oven toast the crust of our pizzas ($8 for a Margherita). Hard as it may be, turn off the Big Boi album, leave your apartment, and let the smooth sounds of Stevie Nicks’ “Stand Back” take you away. Most importantly, take off your gym shorts and put on a romper and just enough makeup to look like you didn’t. You never know when you might end up as an extra.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on July 19, 2010