Any party you’d want to attend in this city is held Monday thru Thursday. From artist’s listening sessions to film screenings to magazine issue release parties, it all goes down after work during the week. Partying on the weekend you will find a bunch of Long Islanders, Jersey Shore types and tourists. Folks tend to not leave their borough on the weekend as they are recouping from a week of commuting, work and partying. Don’t get me wrong, I will party on the weekend if there is something to do. Like the infamous Grits & Biscuit party that plays all southern music while women sweat out their perms and men try to keep up. There’s also 1st Saturdays at the Brooklyn Museum that I’ve been dying to get to. I guess now I’ll have to wait until summer because I don’t do lines in the cold. But why pay a cover and pay to drink on the weekend at a club when I can attend industry events for free that usually have an open bar and hors d’oeuvres during the week?
Last night I trekked to the Tribeca Grand Hotel in Tribeca, which I really think is Soho, to attend the Braxton Family Values private premiere with the cast. When I got to the shi shi foo foo hotel I ran into my girl Imani at the door. We hugged and air kissed cheeks. Imani reminded me of the young version of myself. Besides her chocolate skin, shoulder length hair and gorgeous looks, she is bright and ambitious. I love that she is like a sponge willing to absorb any and everything she can. If there was an industry event, Imani was there. Hip-hop Awards in Atlanta– she was there. Black Girls Rock taping in the Bronx– she did that too. She was on top of her game at such a young age; I admired her for that.
I promptly changed into my black stilleto pumps before entering. This is something you won’t understand if you’re not a New Yorker. We walk the streets in our flats and change into our heels that we usually carry in our oversized purses right on the street before entering into the venue. The PR reps whose company hosted the event were seated at a table taking names. If you weren’t on the list you likely weren’t getting in. In NYC there’s a list to get into anything worth going to. And if you’re on the list you’re usually allowed a plus one. Due to the clear instructions on the invite that only one person per media outlet would be allowed, I didn’t bother inviting a plus one. But it were times like these I wish my friends from home were here to be my plus one.
On the train ride to Tribeca I wondered whether or not I’d be lonely. Would I see anyone I know? Would I sit alone in the corner all night bored? Was I really in the mood to work the room by introducing myself to total strangers? And would I see my new archenemy who I’d been dying to see since she pulled that stunt a couple weeks ago (granted I’d never give her the satisfaction of acting a fool with her in public)?
It turns out I was in the sociable, i.e. networking mood. As soon as I walked in one of the PR reps recognized my name. We chatted for a bit, she handed me her card and I made a mental note to follow-up with her via email the next day. The venue was a cozy space with half love seats and lots of space to walk around. The red carpet was set up in the back to the left. Of course the celebs arrived late. There was an unusual free coat check, open bar (I live for an open bar!) and great hors d’oeuvres. I spotted one of my favorite editors, Cece, chatting with a guy by the wall. I saw two other editors from a national magazine who have been great to me since I’ve been in NYC. We caught up for a bit as I ate my sliders and crabcake balls. Ironically, the same event I had wondered if I’d sit in the corner by myself all night was an event, like so many others, where I ended up knowing quite a few people there.
NY is like that. I swear if you’re black and educated in NYC (anywhere really) there’s one degree of separation. And black folks in the media? Forget about it. We all know each other. Several glasses of champagne, then vodka & pineapple juice later I thought about how I’d concocted a daunting plus one dilemma that ended up being nonexistent. I went. I ate lamb chops, sliders, chicken on a stick, lobster sandwiches, asparagus spring rolls and drank all the free liquor I wanted. And I met new people. Simple. We laughed at the premiere issue of “Braxton Family Values”, which airs Thursday on WE TV. I took pictures. Mingled a little more and eventually called it a night.
On the train ride there I thought about how lonely it can be in a city of over eight million people. I wished I had a crew to share some of these nights with. I worried if the night would be a bust and worth my commute to the city. Instead I was reminded why I moved to NYC.
New York is truly a magical place. Magical things happen at any given moment. Sometimes all you have to do is show up. As nice as it would have been to have one of my besties as a plus one, I think I was fine all on my own. Plus ones are great. But I also reminded myself, I, alone, am enough.