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
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.
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.