Monday, October 29, 2007
My experience with Halloween in New York has been hit or miss. Right after I moved here after school in 2004, I was dragged to a weird, hipsterish party at some warehouse in the Meatpacking District. To play to the audience, I dressed as a Florida Voting Booth. It wasn’t an elaborate costume; over my normal outfit I just hung a piece of cardboard with 3 buttons and the names: Nader, Kerry, and Bush next to them. The Nader and Kerry buttons were incredibly tiny, and the Bush one was huge. I may have inadvertently made some lame political statement, but I just wanted to watch dozens of hipster girls push a button to vote Republican. Predictably, they did; and I poked them right back.
The space for the party was huge, but uncomfortably industrial. There was a trippy burlesque show going on the whole time, and they only served Absolut Vodka. The music selection was weird, electronic, and not even the slightest bit 80’s. Overall, I was unimpressed. People’s costumes were, for the most part, not sexy or chic, they were legitimately freakish. What absurd kind of Halloween party was I at that skin and lace had been replaced by blood and gore?
Halfway through the night, I had a particularly odd run-in. I was chatting up a cute girl in a prep school uniform who, in the spirit of the party, had blood running down from her nose and all over her entire face. It was creepy, but what can I say? I got nostalgic.
Some guy friend of hers came over to try to talk to her. He was wearing was a very average looking suit with a clumsily folded pocket square, and he had a 3-ring binder in his hand.
I wasn’t being defensive, just a bit curious. “So what are you?” I asked him.
He took a moment to smile at himself, obviously eager to explain his witty costume. “You know,” he responded. “I’m one of those New York City Banker-types.” And he proudly showed me the binder on which he had scribbled “Pitch Book” in black marker.
I paused, overwhelmed by the ridiculousness of the situation. I looked him up and down again, only to find square-toe shoes and a knot I was certain he had triple-looped. I shook my head and exploded in laughter.
This guy was truly pleased with his outfit of social commentary, but I couldn’t help myself; I had to tear him apart. I pulled his girl close with one arm, raised my other palm to his face, and slapped him lightly twice on the cheek. I chuckled again. “Nice try, bro,” I offered, right before laughing all the way out of that party, into a cab, and half-way back to the prep school girl’s parents’ UES townhouse.
I had to leave once I realized where we were heading. Turns out she wasn’t even dressed up.
This year, I went to a party that was on the exact opposite end of the spectrum. My buddy from Blackstone was having a thing at his place in SoHo and had decided that all the guys would dress up as something Wall Street-related, and all the girls just had to be really hot. Genius.
The party was decadent and refined, in a pre-IPO kind of way. The space competed with the warehouse in size, but it was sophisticated. Cocktail waitresses circled the loft, serving top-shelf booze and hors d’œuvres. The music was 80’s, pop, and not the slightest bit trippy. His private, Astroturf roof was also opened up, and the weather was just temperate enough that scantily dressed girls were comfortable.
I walked over and greeted my friend Peter who was covered head to toe in garbage: empty cans, bottles, and other random crap.
I considered him for a second. “Retail Banker?” I asked, almost 100% certain.
“Junk bond,” he responded. “Close though.”
I had been traveling and running late, so I wasn’t able to grab my costume. Again, nothing elaborate, but I had bought a Milwaukee Brewers hat that I was going to put on and point to repeatedly if questioned.
We chatted for a bit, strategizing as to which of the girls attending was the cutest. I don’t think they were instructed to do so, but every single one was dressed as a flapper from the 1920’s.
Sipping a drink, I inspected the rest of the finance-related costumes. They ranged in creativity.
There were, as would be expected, several incarnations of various finance internet celebrities. Aleksey Vayner appeared in a couple forms: shirtless in briefs and also in tennis attire. A Zack Michaelson had fashioned an entire fortress out of cardboard and stood inside of it, carrying a sleeping bag and pillow. There was even an Asian Peter Chung who had draped himself in strands of “domes.”
I spotted a guy with a beer bottle taped to his crotch and gave him a look of understanding. Another dude had printed a mortgage onto his shirt and stamped DEFAULT in red ink on his forehead. Not bad.
I kept browsing, and in the corner of the room, I saw a guy dressed up as what definitely appeared to be a massive turd—a really big piece of shit. “Peter,” I asked. “What’s that guy?”
He shrugged his shoulders, chewing foie grass. “People have been guessing all night man, and no one’s gotten it,” he informed me.
I was determined to figure it out.
Walking up to the roof to get some fresh air, I spotted a few combo outfits. One guy had an “alpha” symbol on his back and was getting perpetually chased by a Jim Cramer look-alike. Another pair was bound together with cuffs and a chain. Half of the duo was undoubtedly the Chrysler building, and the thing latched to him was someone dressed up like a savage, 3-headed dog. Periodically, one of the Cerberus’ heads would reach up and bite the building, ripping it apart and spitting out the remains. It was an interesting piece, I thought: life imitating art. It made the ballerness of the buyout truly palpable.
I stopped walking, having had a random epiphany. “Pump and dump?!” I reflected excitedly about The Turd. That was definitely it.
I quickly hunted him down and presented my hypothesis. He said nothing and shook his little shit head “no.”
Fuck. I walked away and made it up to the roof, finally. I tried to clear my mind and decided the best way would be to talk to one of the hotter airhead flappers. I found one, we started chatting, and it was working—I was completely zoned-out.
After a while, my friend Gopal came by. He had somewhat small, fake plastic tits hanging out from under a blue blouse and had stuffed his black pants so that his thighs and ass were huge, giving him a bulbous, pear shape.
“I’m a Banker Chick!” he informed, stating the obvious. Both guys and girls couldn’t help but grope him, and I was certain that this was the most action both Gopal and any Banker Chick would ever see. He ran away, giddy and ticklish.
Things started to escalate with the flapper, only because I was too busy still decoding The Turd to shut her up.
“So what are you?” she asked after a while.
I snapped back and realized that without my cap to point to, I was stuck. I thought for a second and remembered that idiot from 3 years back.
“You know,” I said, almost jokingly. “I’m one of those New York City Banker-types.”
She paused to look me up and down. My Canali, Ferragamos, and well-knotted Hermes tie must have been slightly more convincing, because after a moment, she tapped me on the cheek gently and said, cheerfully: “Perfect. Cause that’s exactly what I was looking for.”
As we walked downstairs and out of the party together, I winked and bid a few people goodbye.
Right as we were getting to the door, I saw The Turd, and he was talking to an older Black man with an axe sticking out of his head.
Suddenly, it clicked.
“Wachovia!” I burst confidently from across the room, pointing at him with my index finger.
Both The Turd and Stan O’Neal turned and sent back congratulatory looks. They nodded their heads in unison, smiled, and gave me four, big shit-eating thumbs ups.
It was an interesting piece, I thought: art imitating life. It made the retardedness of that decision truly palpable.