Battle Of The Rooftop Hotel Parties: Rivington Vs. Standard


Considering that this past week has brought us both a hurricane and the first signs of
Fall, we’re not sure what to expect from the coming weeks. That said, we decided to make the best of our Sunday and spend it outside — on a roof or two. Let’s make it two.

We arrived at the Hotel on Rivington around 7 p.m. for the second SFNY party of the year. The theme of the rooftop fete is obvious (San Francisco meets New York), with a roster of DJs representing each city (King Most, Freddy & Marky, and DJ Mamabear for SF, and Kon, Ge-Ology, and DJ Moni for NYC) and a tagline of “The Left Coast Does the Right Thing.” By the time we made it past the bar and up the elevator to the 20th-floor penthouse, the party was in full swing. “Tell Me When to Go” boomed over a dance floor of uninhibited dancers, one girl whipping her dreadlocks around in circles. While hotel rooftops require a certain dress code (if only to get past the three layers of bouncers downstairs), those once concerned with having their outfit “just so” now put their hair up, took their blazers off, and got down. One especially enthusiastic Asian girl took off her heels to stand on a couch and conduct the crowd — “It’s like I’m back in the Bay!” And while it certainly was — if only apparent through the crowd of SF transplants, the fedoras, and the hyphy that blared above — we’d like to think that NY still won this battle of the coasts, if only because of the view.

The Hotel on Rivington’s roof is one of the best downtown by far. Tonight, the rooftop’s wooden shower stall was occupied by a Scion-sponsored hot-dog stand (yes, apparently Scion has delved into food tours, too) that featured weird toppings like sesame coleslaw, potato chips, and kimchi. Patrons sat at tables that lined the walls, scarfing down their $3 concoctions and gazing out over the city, some pointing out places where they once lived, others posing for pictures highlighted by the Empire State Building. I pointed out a sub-par pizza place that I frequented when I used to sneak up to the city as a visiting teenager. “It’s times like this when you’re like, ‘Wow, I can’t believe I actually live here.'” responds a friend, looking out at the Brooklyn Bridge. “I know, right? It’s wild!” chimes in an eavesdropping bystander. Apparently, there’s nothing like a rooftop and some hot dogs to make you feel like you’ve really made it.

By 10 p.m. the party had died down, and we were in a cab to the opposite side of the city and on to the Standard Hotel. Up an elevator with trippy video projections, we arrived at the 18th floor, home to rooftop lounge Le Bain. The bar has become notoriously irritating to get into at times, specifically on the weekends, but Sunday night is a laid-back affair. At least, as laid-back as it gets in the Meatpacking District. At the entrance, a long black bar manned by exceptionally attractive people is surrounded by black Victorian-era furniture and cabana boys in matching outfits. The overwhelming smell of chlorine is the first thing that hit us as we walked in — that would be because of the jacuzzi bubbling away inside. The water was already filled with a few girls, including one who seemed to have lost her bikini top, though she did manage to maintain a vice-like grip on her champagne glass. Tonight’s DJs — Lloydski and Blu Jemz — specialize in house music, and they get a group of people dancing around the bar’s highlight, some teetering a little too close to the edge. Luckily for everyone, the steaming water is only four feet deep.

We were met with another set of bouncers and ropes to go up to the roof, though it really was a formality at this point. The roof was filled, not uncomfortably so, with foreigners and Meatpacking regulars that lounged on huge, water-filled orange lillypads scattered on the synthetic grass that lined the floor. Bamboo bucket seats were clumped around tables filled with girls sipping on bright cocktails and suited businessmen chatting in everything but English. Rotating telescopes — the kind you generally only find at tourist attractions like Coney Island and the Empire State Building — were set up at intervals on the roof, endearing the space to both tourists and locals alike. While the setting was markedly different — now we gazed over the Hudson River and into New Jersey — the general feeling of camaraderie remained. For the second time tonight, we spot a girl kick off her heels, while another lady kicks over her drink and is given another on the house. And, once again, we found ourselves looking out over the city and getting a reassuring surge of self-confidence, because we live in New York City, and that’s awesome.