Loud Crowd Fills W's Big Bash

February 19, 2002, 12:00 AM EST

Mark Musters put exotic-looking dancers behind the glass-and-water pieces at the W New York--Times Square's entrance during the hotel's opening party.

W New York -- Times Square opening party W New York -- Times Square, Blue Fin, Whiskey Tuesday, 02.12.02, 8 PM to 12 AM
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The hoopla of Times Square got an influx of people who actually live in New York with the crowded opening party for the W New York -- Times Square. About 2,000 people plodded through what was really four different parties in four different areas of the hotel: After starting in the hotel's 7th floor lobby (“the living room” in W-speak), guests moved down to the in-house restaurant, Blue Fin, and Rande Gerber's basement bar, the Whiskey. And those with a special card could get up to a suite on the 57th floor to check out an outstanding view of Times Square. (The V.I.P. thing seems kind of old hat, but it worked as a way to get people to go up and check out the rooms--people still want to feel like insiders.)

The party was designed to show off the hotel's sleek, working-hard-to-be-hip look (which basically succeeds), so event producer Musters & Company's Mark Musters didn't bring in too much decor. To sex up the mood, he did put exotic-looking dancers behind the glass plates with water flowing down them that normally bring a Zen feel to the hotel's entrance. (Last year Musters put topless male models in pajama pants for the W in Union Square's opening party.) And Frost Lighting's Derrick Roberts designed some cool, textured projections that brought a new look to the lobby's booths and Blue Fin's dramatic staircase.

As the party started, an enormous line formed as the masses with invitations waited to squeeze into the elevators to get to the party. Guests entered the building through a large tent with wall-to-wall black carpeting by Access Event Services/Metropolitan Sky-Tracker.

Once inside, the different areas all had different feels, based on the spaces' different looks and music from a range of DJs. Sara Tanksley Clark played a sexy, beat-driven mix in the lobby, Max Glaser played R&B classics in Blue Fin, and Cassidy played a newer mix of R&B and hip-hop downstairs in the Whiskey. Upstairs, the Ondine Appel Jazz Ensemble played cool jazz sets.

The party came a month and a half after the hotel's pre-New Year's Eve opening, allowing the hotel to target the Fashion Week crowd by making a donation to the Council of Fashion Designers of America's Fashion Targets Breast Cancer campaign. The mixed crowd included some fashion and media types, plus lots of the young people who populate the city's nightclubs and make up the hotel's target audience. (We also spotted at least one Otis elevator repairman.)

The loud, crowded, boozy party turned off a few of the older (well, over 30) guests, but the event wasn't meant to be a classy, elegant affair. It looked like planners wanted something with some sex appeal that would get the guests to have fun--and convince them to come back and spend some real money.

--Chad Kaydo

See the gift bag from this event...

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