At 10 p.m. last Friday — laughably early by nightlife standards — there was already a line outside of House of X, a new Manhattan club conceived by the creators of House of Yes and the hotelier Ian Schrager.
Michael Becker — a so-called vibe ambassador, hired by the club to nudge patrons to get looser, freer and freakier — ushered a stream of guests into the subterranean nightclub. 39-year-old Mr. Becker wore a leather crown and a collar with red glitter over a black belt that showed his torso which he learned from his day job as an instructor of fitness.
“Oh thank God,” said a clubgoer, Davide Fikri Kamel, 30, as he eyed Mr. Becker. “I thought I would be the only one who was transgressive tonight.”
He needn’t have worried. There was no shortage of bacchanalian behavior at the soft opening of House of X.
The evening featured dancers who swung from harnesses tied to their hair, a dominatrix lighting a cigarette on a man’s tongue, and a figure in skates whose head was covered by an ornate lampshade.
Madcap antics like these would fit right in at House of Yes, the club’s sister in the Bushwick section of Brooklyn. But would they work in the Lower East Side area?
As Emily Benjamin, a partygoer, said at the start of the night: “How do you take something so Brooklyn and take it to Manhattan?”
In Ridgewood, Queens, in 2007, Kae Burke opened the original House of Yes. Anya Sapozhnikova was its first owner. After a fire, the space was moved to an East Williamsburg warehouse before it settled into its current location in 2015.
House of Yes’s emphasis on circus arts, live performance and glittery hedonism made it a haven for enthusiasts of the Burning Man festival, who are known as “burners.” House of X — with its bespoke cocktails, plethora of velvet and location beneath the Public Hotel — is decidedly posher than its predecessor. But the burner spirit is still present.
“Let’s just say some of the trippiness of the space may, in fact, be influenced by Burning Man,” Ms. Burke said.
One of the most impressive details is a spiral staircase that is decorated with silicone molds representing faces, hands, and other body parts. House of X feels and looks like its nightclub neighbor, The Box. House of X’s dance floor is what makes it stand out from the Box, which bills itself a theater.
By 11 p.m. — still very early by dance club standards — the main floor was packed and moving. One patron wore a gray-colored beard and a neon yellow animal print suit. He danced enthusiastically in front of the audience. It wasn’t clear if he was a vibe ambassador or civilian clubgoer. Mr. Fikri Kamel, the one who was worried that he would be the only transgressive party guest, danced in white spandex shorts with prominent holes in his posterior.
Partygoers who want a more tactile experience can opt for a room entirely made from teal-colored fur. It’s almost all: There are a few frames with wall-mounted breast forms, phalli and gilded frames.
After guests had taken off their shoes, they could use the furry floor, furry pillows and furry couches, as well as the plastic slinkies that were scattered around. The room was cozy, quiet and felt 10 degrees warmer than the rest of the club, which made one ponder what the fur’s texture and odor could become a few weeks after opening.
As performances began outside the fur room it became more difficult to tell the difference between enthusiastic guests and hired hosts.
Was that woman wearing the sequined bra/panty set a “vibe ambassador?” Was that club kid wearing the cardboard headpiece in the shape of an eggplant emoji a “V.I.P. activator”? Was the gray-bearded man going to twirl about the stripper pole, or just hug it all evening like a subway commuter.
The climax of the evening came when vocalist Hannah Gill sauntered to the stage holding a leash connected to Ms. Sapozhnikova, the club’s co-owner.
A mannequin hanging above the dance floor began to move. Its head was a rotating disco ball and its limbs were animatronic. Suspended plastic cherries bobbed up and down as Ms. Gill belted a song that consisted mostly of the automaton’s name: Cherry Lane.
It was reminiscent of Studio 54’s animated spoon and moon decades ago. But Studio 54’s founder, Mr. Schrager insists that he has no influence on House of X.
“The smartest thing I could do would be to leave them alone and let them do their thing, which I have never done before,” Mr. Schrager said in an interview conducted earlier on Zoom.
Source: NY Times