Goldberg, who could easily fit into the testosterone-fueled, hair-gelled Entourage ensemble, says it was a good investment. “They’re D.J.’s as well as promoters. That to me is a lethal weapon in a high-end hipster nightclub,” he tells me at Avenue, while Harley and Cassie play “Please Mr. Postman” and the Strokes’ “Someday.” Harley wears a red-and-white polka-dot dress she said she got for $12 and ten-year-old flats. Cassie wears a denim dress from Opening Ceremony—“denim is my favorite color besides the American flag,” she says—and vintage loafers.
The crowd at Avenue is tanned and Grey Goose–sipping, apparently still living some Sex and the City fugue, the girls in spike heels and the boys with their dress shirts untucked. Goldberg knows Harley and Cassie bring some hipness to the room.
“The mainstream wants to be a part of their world,” he says, “so we set up a room where we have the hipsters at one table and a bottle-service customer at the next.”
He lets their L.A. friends drink there for free. “We’d rather have the cool people here than in any other bar,” he said, “so we can surround them with the people that can spend money.”
I go sit on Avenue’s quieter back stairs and have a drink with Paul Sevigny, the former Beatrice proprietor and one of the night’s promoters. He just turned 39 and is natty in a dark-blue gingham suit and John Lobb custom shoes. “They’re wonderful girls, and they’re gonna go a long way,” he says in a dutiful-sounding singsong. “Fifteen years ago, their parents never would have let them move to the city.” Thanks to an acquaintance who also was a partner in Beatrice, Harley started spinning there with another scenester, Rachel Chandler. Later Cassie joined them. But that didn’t last. There was a disagreement, and, as Sevigny understands it, “one of them burned the other with a cigarette.” Whatever happened, Harley and Cassie left and teamed up at Lit. (Harley says she had no idea what Sevigny was talking about, but that she, Cassie, and Rachel were all great friends.)
Harley and Cassie seem to make Sevigny nostalgic for what he remembers as a grittier time in New York, when D.J.’s were artists or professional freaks who played records as part of some sort of aesthetic mission. “They’re not talking about their art, their dancing, their writing,” he says of the girls. “Maybe they’re the forefront of the next New York.” And that makes him feel … ? “Like I’m going to sit home with my Ramones records and cry? I dunno. If you love New York, you have to embrace the fact that it’s always changing.”
I’d asked Harley and Cassie where they see this all going. “I have to think about that more,” says Harley, ever judicious.
“I want to keep hanging out with Harley,” Cassie says. “To keep doing this until someone, like, tells us to stop.” She frowns at me. “That’s, like, asking the most insane question. When you just graduated from college, you don’t know!”
Still, sometimes, she says, “I literally close my eyes and see a downward spiral.” I look at Harley, who doesn’t react. “But maybe not?”