Nine days ago, Sarah emails me and says that a website that she is professionally affiliated with, called Mogulite, is having a launch party tonight and asks if I wouldn’t mind making a playlist of music to play at the party and I say, “Yeah sure,” and then I make an On-the-Go playlist on my iPod at work and then after work I go to Whole Foods Tribeca to kill time and then I walk over to the place where the party is. The address she gives me is 153 Franklin Street in Tribeca and I’ve never been there before or heard of the bar/club/space that’s at that address, so I am curious about it.
When I get there I see that it’s a big house and Sarah meets me outside and explains that it’s a $14,000,000 townhouse that’s currently on the market, and that apparently it’s a popular thing right now for people/companies to throw fancy parties in luxurious houses that are on the market so wealthy people can come to the houses and see how awesome the parties inside those houses are and then buy the houses. And although he wasn’t at this particular party, Dominque Strauss-Kahn, disgraced former head of the IMF and currently the most famous alleged rapist in the world, moved into 153 Franklin Street (yesterday?) to serve out his house arrest. Also, before I forget, salute to the real estate agent who devised this cool new scheme to lure wealthy people into expensive unoccupied houses. I wonder if it is the same guy behind East Williamsburg and Crospect Heights, and, if so, if he is regarded as like the Muhammad Ali of New York real estate.
So I get there and Sarah explains the house party to me and then we walk inside the house and immediately there is a corridor lined with floor-to-ceiling gray panels that we walk through to get to the living room. Sarah explains that you can push on the panels and new rooms will reveal themselves because there is secret stuff behind the panels. I push on one panel and there’s a bathroom behind it, and another panel conceals a big bedroom, and another reveals a coat closet where I hang my hoodie and backpack. Then we walk past all the panels and reach the living room, where there are people from a wine website pouring glasses of wine, and people who sell liquor (I think on the internet?) standing by, waiting for guests to arrive to pour them some liquor.
There are a bunch of girls who look very fancy and also some men who look fancy and in their late 20s and 30s, and I think about whether the playlist I made will be appropriate for a party of fancy young strivers because it’s not that different than the playlist I would make for a party of destitute young slackers but I wasn’t sure about what kind of party this would be before I got here. I wish Sarah had told me it was a $14,000,000 townhouse because I would have added some $14,000,000 music instead of all the $575/month + utilities music that’s currently on there, Beach Fossils for example.
Sarah introduces me to The Broker, the man charged with selling this mansion in this economy, and he seems really frazzled and nervous about the party because if anything happens to the house during the party, he will be held responsible. He sits on a couch, sweating a little bit, and his eyes are darting between the six people who are having wine, and then he explains that the floors here “are limestone, so they’re very porous, and if someone spills red wine on the floor…” He trails off and shakes his head and looks down, but I think he would have finished, “… then the floor is fucked and I’m fucked by extension.”
I tell him I’m sort of the DJ and he asks for my iPod and takes it and plugs it into a dock embedded in the wall, and then turns on the TV hanging on the wall across the room and scrolls through my iPod playlists on the TV with the TV remote. Some of the other people here, most of whom are still setting up for the party, look over at my iPod playlists which is so embarrassing because the things you name your iPod playlists are very personal and aren’t meant to be displayed in front of a crowd of people you’ve never met. Like sometimes I DJ under the name Big League Jew, like that chewing gum, so that’s right on the TV and 5 fancy girls are looking at it.
If you are an active playlist maker who isn’t a literal playlist titleist (like “Workout 2,” “Dance Party 8”), look through your playlists right now. What would people think of you if they saw them, right? Would they think you haven’t gotten over any of your exes and you are annoying and sentimental? It’s hard to say exactly what they would think, but you still wouldn’t want to show them.
So I grab the remote out of The Broker’s hands and scroll down to the On-the-Go playlist and put on the first song but no sound comes out of the speakers. The Broker fiddles with some settings on the TV but can’t get the sound to work, he curses softly, and then we unplug and replug the iPod in the dock and it still doesn’t work, then he changes some more settings on the speakers, and then he gives up and puts on one of the music channels on the TV, which plays out of the speakers, and shrugs and gives me my iPod back.
A Coldplay song plays and my dream of remotely DJing a party in a $14,000,000 house has been deferred. If you are reading this right now, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, and you have figured out how to configure the iPod dock-TV-speaker system nexus, you should shoot the real estate broker an email about how to do it because he is going to have to show that house again after you leave. Sorry if that sounds callous/ominous/fatalistic.
So guests start arriving and I get some wine and sit on the couch, waiting for someone else I know to come and drinking my wine because Sarah is busy greeting people at the door. The Broker sits next to me on the couch and frantically monitors the guests as they arrive and get drinks. He asks someone working at the party if there will be food served and the person says they’re won’t be food, and then he says, quietly and disgustedly, “That’s stupid,” because people who don’t eat get drunk faster and spill more wine. I think this real estate broker is cracking under the pressure and I want to tell him everything will be okay but it’s not my place, and we don’t know each other very well, and I am exemplary of things going wrong.
I see former MSNBC anchor and current media mogul Dan Abrams standing in the corner of the living room drinking a glass of wine and thinking. He is here because he owns Mogulite (and a bunch of other websites, most of which end in “ite”) and I go back over to Sarah and tell her my iPod didn’t work with the house sound system but the broker is gonna handle the music, and she shrugs, and then she introduces me to Dan Abrams (because he is her boss), and Sarah goes back to her post as me and Dan Abrams take a brief tour of the ground floor and basement of the townhouse. I notice that a lot of the interior design stuff here seems tacky but I’m not like an interior design critic so what do I know? Here is a picture of a 2-foot-long porcelain carousel pony covered in multicolored rhinestones that sits on a table in a hallway upstairs:
We go down to the basement, which has another bar where people are dispensing wine, and Dan Abrams becomes involved in a conversation with one of the sommeliers because Dan Abrams is sort of a wine connaisseur. I notice that he is wearing a lot of makeup and I later ask Sarah about it and she says it’s because he has to go be on TV in like an hour and people on TV are always wearing makeup. I wander around the basement and admire the screening room, which has fat plush chairs and a very deep carpet, and I also admire the art on the walls.
One of the pieces of art is a portrait of Scarface, in rhinestones, on a black velour background:
I hope you can make it out, it’s the scene where he’s sitting in the big chair. Another piece of art is a picture of the cast of Goodfellas, also done in rhinestones on black velour:
Very intricate. Then Nic Rad comes downstairs and points out a picture of Marilyn Monroe holding down her skirt over a subway grate that’s also in rhinestones on velour but I didn’t get a picture of it. Nic Rad is an artist and I ask him how much these pieces of art cost and he laughs and thinks for a while and then goes, “It really depends — $800? $8,000? It’s honestly hard to say.”
So Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the Jew who may have just temporarily dislodged Benjamin Netanyahu to become the #1 worst contributor to the public image of Jews worldwide, is on house-arrest in a $14,000,000 house with pretty big rhinestone-on-velour pictures of Scarface and Goodfellas inside it. There is some deeper meaning to be extracted from this I think, but I don’t know how to phrase it.
Then we go outside with some kids who are smoking cigarettes, and we are all standing 15 feet away from the entrance to the townhouse on the sidewalk, and the door of the townhouse is open and The Broker rushes out of the townhouse in a huff and tells the kids smoking that they need to back away from the entrance to the townhouse because smoke is getting inside. Everyone stifles a laugh because it’s unlikely that he could even smell the smoke, he probably saw kids smoking through the window, and we are too far from the entrance for the smoke to make a difference inside the house (maybe you could smell a hint of it in the foyer?), but I think we collectively feel sort of bad for him because he is dealing with a lot of shit right now so we back away.
Then we go back inside the house and party, and now I am thinking about what Dominique Strauss-Kahn is doing inside it, like maybe calling a handyman to fix the broken lock on the sliding bathroom door in the basement so people don’t walk in on him while he uses the bathroom? But probably he’s attending to bigger issues and fielding the broken lock problem out to his wife? Who knows though, people do weird things when they’re under a lot of pressure.
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