A few weeks before my night in Dyker Heights, I found myself walking into Katz’s Deli around 9pm. The guy in the back, who just wanted to grab a pastrami sandwich for dinner, was stopped at the door. On any other night, he would be fine, but his cravings coincidentally collide with Underground comedythe latest seemingly random program. (They also held them in barbershops and laundromats.) The bacon mecca has become familiar with the style: it threw a party with Diplo as the featured DJ End of August. A few months before that, in March, Vogue also hosted a pre-Met Gala party there. The place where Meg Ryan pretends to have an orgasm in When did Harry meet Sally? has become”latest hot girl hangout” based on Bon appetit.
Katz’s isn’t even the only gourmet shop approved by discerning kids. During September Fashion Week, Batsheva Hay showed off her spring collection at Ben’s, a deli that, unlike Katz’s, is, in fact, kosher. Hay tells me that’s part of the reason she chose Ben’s as the location, but it also has broader symbolic meaning. “I love Ben’s as a location because it’s in the heart of the garment district where I produce my collection and I thought it would be nice to give a little support to the local business that feeds garment workers and fashion for decades,” she explained. It’s also really good for attracting attention. Why launch your collection in a typical event space when you can do it somewhere that will surprise everyone?
What should we do with all of this? In March 2021, a year after the pandemic, New York magazine coined the term “Zizmorcore”—after the famous eccentric New York doctor—as a way of describing a city-centred, very local style. Zizmorcore is brand like Rowing Blazers partners with pizza spots like John’s of Bleecker Street, but it’s also the rush to own a tie-dyed Russ & Daughters shirt like the one Jake Gyllenhaal wore on Instagram, hats from old locations downtown Odeon or Raoul’s , and a common thirst for any good, new or vintage, from some of the beloved, neglected, or forgotten businesses in New York City. More than a year later, I wrote about how people everywhere wanted to party in the places that were the center of town 20, 30 or maybe 50 years ago.. Local landmarks as party spots seem to be right in the middle of those two ideas: a way for partygoers to have fun and in a way that spreads a kind of fun right now. .
“We wanted to create memorable experiences,” says Matt Starr, who hosts a poetry night in alarmingly tight spaces in New York. “Place surprise readings like porn readings at Penn Station Sbarro or an old-fashioned porn shop in the East Village. These are the spaces that we find really beautiful and important to us—they are the spaces that make up New York New York. They are also being underused. According to Penn Station manager Sbarro, we are the first non-family event to throw something there.”