In late June of 2013, the fashion photographer Christelle de Castro documented the closing nights of a weekly party that, since the start of the year, had become a notorious downtown destination for New York’s young culture leaders and attendant circles of glitterati. Around 12 a.m. on Tuesday nights these varied scenes, crews, and cliques would descend on a speakeasy lounge tucked beneath a trendy bistro on Kenmare Street in Manhattan’s Nolita neighborhood. On most weeks, the venue would surge well beyond double the 75 people that should have been allowed down its stairs. What set this particular night apart from the myriad parties and clubs on offer each week was its open invitation to the city’s splintered tribes to come together for a night, all under one roof raving.
From the outset, the organizers Adriel Ortiz, Arthur Soleimanpour, Lee Harrison, and DJ Getlive intended to create a genuinely inclusive space that would hearken back to the heyday of New York’s 80s and early 90s downtown mixed bag parties. In realizing this idea, Getlive, the party's headlining resident DJ, anchored a rotating cast of all-star DJs drawn from the city’s disparate scenes and subcultures.
Any given Tuesday night would see the likes of new femme icon and GHE20G0TH1K founder Venus X sharing a guest spot with the infamous OG hip-hop producer The Alchemist. This considered eclecticism made for an ever-changing chemistry from week to week and insured that a moving soundtrack of trap anthems, underground house, street rap, bashment reggae, Jersey club, and 90s R&B never settled into the expected.
The intersections the party created saw young tastemakers and established renegades such as the A$AP Mob, Missy Elliott, Prodigy, Les Twins, Harry Fraud, and Rox Brown turn up and bump shoulders in the club’s small confines. It was this demand, and the resulting buzz, that would have New York magazine declare the night one of the city’s best hip-hop parties, despite it paling in size to the proper clubs around town.
As the lines began to form down the block each week, the organizers determined that the night had reached its apex and the decision was made to move on. Arthur Soleimanpour describes the arc of the party: "They kept coming, week after week, in freezing temperatures when the city seemed dead and in the heat of summer when it was a hot box of fun. It was a place where we were able to remind people how great it is to be all in it together. This energy persisted for six months, which is an eternity in party life. But this was not just a party, it was approached as an art project, and it had a proper run before closing."
In her images, we find Christelle de Castro completely immersed in the churning celebration that occurred, capturing the ephemeral, intimate instances that nightlife provides, and the inspired style moments that youth culture innately displays. As New York enters a new era and the nightlife culture adjusts to uneasy times, de Castro’s images are a visceral document of self-expression, and a bit of hedonism, from a carefree time for a generation in the city. When asked for the name of the party, promoter and organizer Adriel Ortiz said it never actually had one formally — and then he stated, "It was just turnt."
Featured guest DJs, January 15, 2013 to June 25, 2013: Venus X, Jasmine Solano, Melo-X, DJ Clark Kent, Nelleke, King Solomon, Yamez, Nire, Stretch Armstrong, Prince Language, Nicole of Nina Sky, Roofeeo, Cosmo Baker, Statik Selektah, Prince Terrence, Mess Kid, Max Glazer, The Alchemist, Doo Wop, NY Giant, Young Guru, J Scott, Chiinky, Neil Armstrong, and Eli Escobar.
Photography by Christelle de Castro, 2013.
Text by Anicée Gaddis via a feature published by Index in 2017.
Photo edit by Justin Gorman, courtesy of Index.
Creative Director: Lee Harrison
Resident DJ, Music Director: Getlive
Producer, Music Director: Adriel Ortiz
Executive Producer: Arthur Soleimanpour