Tuesday, July 17, 2007

I Followed in the Footsteps of Giants

The Columbia Alumni Association held their first "rooftop happy hour" event of the summer at the China Club, a New York hot spot that the China Club website describes as "one of America's most glamorous nightspots." Wow. Me and my hundred-fifty thousand dollar education really hit the big time. Just how classy is this place? They held the premiere party for The Waterboy there! Bruce Willis frequents the club... playing sets with his band. So does Hanson. (It appears they still exist.) Donald Trump is a familiar face, and here's some pictures of Paris Hilton wasting space at the China Club. God, I hope they disinfected that place. There's a joke that will never, ever grow old.

It turns out that the China Club really isn't my scene. What is my scene, then? Probably someplace where the management isn't worried that I will potentially be murdered in their establishment. The security at this place makes the long, shoeless lines at the airport X-ray machine look sane. First, there's the velvet rope and some guy with an overactive pituitary gland. Do you even really need the velvet rope? I think its contribution to the overall security plan is quite negligible. Anyway, there's Pituitary Guy — he's the one who checks your ID. Then there's Little Guy Who Hands You Your Ticket. He's one of the less important components of the whole ridiculous entry ritual, second only to the velvet rope.

Okay, so you go inside, and it's like the crummiest apartment building you've ever been in. There's a flight of stairs, and that's it, and it honestly reminded me of Castlevania back when it was on the Commodore 64 and it didn't have enough memory to actually present you with decisions about where you wanted to go. I proceeded to level two: the metal detectors.

I go through the men's metal detector and another beefy security guy takes like ten minutes figuring out how to open up my bag. He looks through my stuff — I feel kind of bad for him, because I keep a lot of garbage in my bag, like used tissues or half-eaten Mars bars from Halloween, or for all I know, there could be a bloody tampon in there. Generally, what do I care, since it's my garbage and I'm the only one who goes through there. Here's what Beefy Guy says to me, no kidding: "You're a brave man, carrying that computer around the city." Really? Cause Pituitary Guy outside might be just for show and exclusivity, but they wouldn't have you manning these metal detectors unless they expected to find something. And I'm pretty sure it's not your A-list clientèle trying to sneak weapons in here down their pants. Maybe somebody in 50 Cent's entourage, maybe.

It gets better. I didn't set off the metal detector, and there's not so much a plastic spork in my bag, but Beefy Guy finds it necessary to pat me down. I want to repeat that. I am a five-foot, six-inch 130-pound white kid with glasses who codes websites and is afraid of spiders, and this guy thinks I'm packing heat. Fucking awesome! I wish I had a gun with me, just so I could be like, "Yeah! You're the first person in twenty-five years to ever get it right! You deserve a promotion!"

Another flight of steps, level three. Here's the cashier, except there's no cover so I just hand her the ticket that Little Guy Who Hands You Your Ticket gave me two minutes ago. You couldn't just tell the cashier that there's no cover till eight or whenever? You really need to kill the rainforest here?

Now there's like four more flights of stairs, and they get just darker and scuzzier the higher up you go. Eventually, you make it up to the roof, the Jade Terrace and the photos off the website are complete bullshit. There's no couches, tables, or Oriental rugs inside, and that island of plants in the middle of the rooftop lounge isn't there. Instead, there's this authentic Chinese uh... birdbath, I guess. I don't know what it is, but the police barricades around it really set it off nicely. In reality, the place has all the class you'd expect of a celebutard hangout featured on The Insider, even if it wasn't "I Love The 80's At A Hundred Decibels" night. Much like the people who frequent the China Club, the whole atmosphere struck me as overblown, fake, and totally tacky.

Let me explain just how tacky the China Club is. Have you ever been to a barbeque with your friends, and somebody went to Home Depot and bought a couple of those tiki torches, so you could all pretend you're in Hawaii, eating poi and having a limbo contest? Now imagine giving that person a budget of a couple million dollars and a neon sign that says BAR. That's how tacky the China Club is.

You might want to know what goes on behind the velvet ropes. Well, on one "Legendary Monday," these two bar skanks did a frightening impression of your grandparents making out. This woman thought she was hotter than she actually is. This guy made an ass of himself, and if there's a God, picked up a few venereal diseases in the process. Basically it's a bunch of people, many of whom are unaware that they look like Gorgons, trying way too hard to have fun.