The D.J.’s are world-famous; the design is futuristic; the carpet is shag. If this isn’t South Beach, it must be Centro-Fly, the luxe lounge that opened three months ago on 21st Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues. Of the moment? Sure, but Centro-Fly wasn’t born – it was manufactured, piece by well-publicized piece.
September 1999: Tom Sisk and David Baxley purchase Tramps, inheriting invaluable cabaret license.
November 1999: Centro-Fly publicist Scott Currie sends Polaroids of Sally Bennett’s Op Art vinyl-and-velvet décor to Times and men’s-fashion trade publication DNR. Owners persuade promoters Rob Fernandez and Erick Morillo to bring back influential music-industry party “Subliminal” at Centro-Fly.
December 1999: Private opening scores Robert De Niro and Wyclef Jean. Vogue co-hosts VH1 Fashion Awards pre-party with gloss.com, bringing in Andy Dick, Puff Daddy, and Jay-Z; writeups in WWD, DNR, and Fortune. Sunday Times runs design story. Covers of Italian Vogue and DNR and spreads in Interior Design, Manhattan File, and InStyle follow. Mary J. Blige shoots video; Busta Rhymes films Mountain Dew commercial at club.
January 2000: “Beige” promoter Erich Conrad agrees to host Friday nights, bringing in Calvin Klein, Tom Ford, and Rupert Everett. D’Angelo manager Dominique Trenier (friend of Sisk’s) holds record-release party for Voodoo. Lil’ Kim and Tommy Hilfiger attend.
Early February 2000: After-show parties booked every night of Fashion Week.
February 24, 2000: Money shot: Leonardo DiCaprio spotted at “Subliminal.”
March 2000: First signs of restlessness? Dance-music Website UndergroundNYC.com removes Centro-Fly from listings when complaints about restrictive door policies appear on message boards. And what’s that on horizon? Steve Lewis’s new club Spa, set to open on 13th Street April 15.