Creatures of the Night

Creatures of the Night

Tick-tock: the clock hands turn and night descends upon New York City. Out come the night crawlers, the iconoclasts, the debonairly dressed and the dance-crazy dreamers. Hoards sick with Saturday night fever spill onto the streets looking to fulfill wanton desires. Suited gentleman hold open cab doors for ladies struggling to stride in heels too high. Packs of hipsters prance about in skinny jeans and lensless glasses. Leather clad tough guys puff cigarettes with their backs against brick walls. These creatures of the night come in many forms yet their goal is common: to have a night to be remembered. To boogie down. To live it up. And that's exactly what I'm aiming to do on this late-summer night. I'm dressed to impress—looking rather collegiate in my bow tie and blazer—when I first arrive at Le Bain, the Standard Hotel's penthouse bar. Eager youths are lined up nearly around the corner to gain admission, a gaggle of yuppies visibly yearning to let loose. After an elevator ascent to the eighteenth floor, I'm ushered into a bar with a colossal view: Floor-to-ceiling windows reveal sweeping vistas of downtown Manhattan and the Hudson River. Yet there's hardly a moment to take it in because I can't help but be swept up in a firestorm frenzy of activity. The place is packed. A DJ stationed in the far corner blasts beats to a room filled with bumping bodies and spilling drinks. After some artful weaving through the crowd I discover a pool—yes, a pool—right there in the middle of dance floor. Shirts and pants are peeled off on the spot as tipsy revelers—emboldened by their imbibing, to be sure—dip into the four-foot-deep watering hole. Splish-spalsh and it feels like anything could happen. Even the bathrooms bring strange surprises: the toilets are positioned alongside glass walls that allow patrons to relieve themselves before mind-boggling views of Lower Manhattan (an experience tailored to those of a certain exhibitionistic persuasion). Outside on the patio model-esque girls pose on rows of pink waterbeds as carefully coiffed boys ferry them drinks. The music travels outside and feet dance on green astroturf carpeting. The scene is all cigarettes and stolen kisses. A question is asked: "Do you have a light?" The answer comes quickly: "There's no need. I'm on fire." I glance at my watch. Tick-tock: the clock hands turn and morning approaches. The sky begins to lighten—warm shades of grey and pink—and, gasping for breath and suddenly overcome with exhaustion, I can't help but think: "There's no other city where I'd rather be."

» Le Bain, The Standard Hotel, 848 Washington St., 212.645.4646