The nineties obsession with celebrity culture might be gasping its last breath, but don’t tell that to Frank McHugh, director of the new Chelsea nightclub Discothèque (don’t tell him, either, that self-referential irony is over). While McHugh was hiring doormen for the Euro-flavored club, he asked each potential employee to I.D. the names of 50 “important” New Yorkers.
The list – by no means a comprehensive Who’s Who – was supposed to be representative of the city’s nightlife community, and while we’re not arguing with choices like Jane Pratt, Kevyn Aucoin, and Patrick McMullan, we are wondering: Who the hell is King? “He’s … a nightclub doorman,” McHugh explains.
We questioned whether King himself would’ve been able to pass McHugh’s test – none of the other applicants managed to (the head of the class filled out two thirds but got only half correct). It’s not hard to see why: For every Alicia Keys, David Barton, and Kim Cattrall, there’s an R. Couri Hay (“Publicist”), Chris Barish (“Owner of Light”), and Anthony Prieto (“Hair stylist”). “So many doormen say they know everybody,” says a disappointed McHugh. “If you’re a New York doorman, that test should’ve been a snap!”
So what would be an acceptable answer for, say, Mick Jones? “Husband of Anne,” crows McHugh. “He was in the band Foreigner – but his stepkids are the famous ones now.” Amanda Burden? “She’s a socialite, but she doesn’t want to be known as a socialite. She goes out with Charlie Rose.” Robert Isabell? “Event designer – flowers, themes, things like that.” Deborah Rosenman? “Reporter for the New York Post. Style, nightlife, shit like that.” (Actually, McHugh got that one slightly wrong when he wrote the exam. Her name is Deborah Schoeneman.)
McHugh, who also leads his staff on runs through Central Park to “unwind, bond, and stay in shape,” is definitely raising the bar for what makes a good doorman: “I want my doormen to read the paper every day – and not just the gossip columns!” Let’s just hope he’s easier on the coat-check boys.
Click here to read Tenants, Anyone? by Emily Gitter