Arc
New York,NY
A club by any other name…

 

 

A club by any other name…

 

The space at 6 Hubert Street in New York’s Tribeca district has gone by many different names – Area, Shelter, Vinyl, and now the oddly ambiguous Arc. Known in all its former incarnations as a very basic, no-frills, music-centered kind of place, Arc management has added to 6 Hubert something it never before had – schmaltz. That includes a new dancefloor, sound system, circular-truss-based light rig with new Coemar fixtures, two-way glass from the VIP room onto the floor, and a post-Twilo aura of hipness, even without a liquor license. And why not? In the absence of superclubs in New York, Vinyl/Arc had by default become the venue of choice for international DJs, and its grit didn’t necessarily suit their riders.
Arc hosts Danny Tenaglia’s “Be Yourself” party on Fridays, Made Events on Saturdays (think Global Underground DJs), and Victor Calderone’s “Tribalism” twice a month on Sundays.
After countless emails from our readers begging us to set our Stalkers loose on the place, we finally caved. Drum roll please…

Stalker #1:

If you didn’t know where it was already, you’d probably walk right past Arc. It’s housed in a nondescript building surrounded by other nondescript buildings. And you can’t hear anything from the outside, except for, “Stay to the right,” as it’s repeated as a mantra by the cock-diesel bouncers that guard the entrance. The size of the line outside reportedly depends on what time you go, but we didn’t wait for longer than 15 minutes. In terms of actually getting people inside, Arc is pretty efficient. The line moves fairly quickly and the bouncers are serious when it comes to getting people to move; it reminds me of the scene with the kids from The Wall movie.
Almost everyone who works there was really friendly. There were the occasional bouncers who needed to have the visa for their power trip revoked, but the staff, from the bartenders to the cleaners, was courteous and professional.
The club itself is actually kind of sterile-looking. Everything is painted white or gray and it’s very stark, even with the circular light patterns on the walls. The hallways and rooms, in general, look very empty. The couches in the VIP room have been replaced with wall-to-wall wooden benches. They’ve hung art on the walls, and I don’t understand why (and thus have no opinion). The back room, now called the “arcade” looks the same, except for the enormous T-shirt stand that takes away about a quarter of the seating.
Arc isn’t quite the after hours, underground club it claims to be. Jesus, they sell T-SHIRTS, the antithesis of underground, and it costs over $20 to get inside. And I don’t like all the changes they’ve made, because mirrors behind the bar are stupid and I don’t go to a club to view art and raise my cultural awareness (sorry, but art on the walls is stupid too). Yeah, Arc is trying to be something it’s not, and if you buy into it then you’re going to be disappointed. But if you go to hear good music and have fun with your friends, I think you get what you pay for. The DJs rarely disappoint, even if the crowd does sometimes. This is still the kind of place where you can make your own good time, as long as you know how to avoid and ignore the “I miss Twilo” crowd.

Stalker #2:

I am all for creating a more mature atmosphere; I even put my vote in for cleanliness and hygiene. But when that means I have to surrender my newly purchased pack of gum to a gleeful, bubble-poppin’ security guard upon entrance, to “keep the new floors clean,” I have to use all my power to keep from hailing a cab to Exit (and that’s a sacrifice).
After I had been stripped of my only line of defense against stagnant breath, I hobbled through the bright “lobby” area down to the pitch-dark dancefloor and searched for a suitably adult place to sit. No such animal. Apparently if you’re not cool or well-endowed enough to weasel into the VIP room, you have to perch yourself on a wooden bench in the “arcade,” aka disaster area, which is far away from the floor and the speakers. The chitter-chatter of overly enthused conversationalists drowned out almost every beat of the DJ. I guess this was all a sign that I should get up and dance.
If you’re not on the dancefloor in Arc, you shouldn’t be in there. It’s the space where everything comes together for good. Perfectly “in tune” lighting, just enough fog, the punch of the Phazon (which sounds like every other good system I’ve ever heard; sorry, I’m not an expert), enough room to move but enough bodies to make you feel like there’s a real party happening. Even the people on the dancefloor seemed happier and more interesting than the ones huddled in the uncomfortable corners a room away.
After an hour or so of some quality dancing, I bought an ice pop. Just because I could. I guess without that liquor license, they have to sell something. I did have to resist “accidentally” dropping it on the floor, just to avenge my gum, but the lit cigarettes I put out with my shoe over the course of the evening did that job just fine.

     
Copyright 2002 Club Systems International Magazine
Copyright 2002 TESTA Communications