THE LIFE, WORK AND CHRONICLES OF JEFF KOYEN: REFORMED ITINERANT, OCCASIONAL WRITER AND FRIEND TO ALMOST ALL DOGS

Best Proof That NYC is Dead: Soundfactory on a Saturday Night
An ongoing argument with our friend revolves around the statement that New York City is dead. Dead as in irrelevant. She posits in the affirmative, noting the changed clientele in many of her favorite haunts. The loss of Times Square. The homogenization and sterilization. Et cetera. Predictably contrarian, we claim that the city's supposed demise is quite likely in the eye of the beholder.
We argue that her opinion is a reflection of her own changes. Oh sure, like the rest of this country, New York City now has enough Starbucks to host every family of five in from Iowa. And there are more tie-over-the-shoulder handjob types chugging at the pub than ever before. But. Still. Start looking for affirmation that the city is on the wane, and you'll find it everywhere. The dirt is still there. Not in Times Square, granted, but just because the Greeks no longer rule half a hemisphere doesn't mean there's no more assfucking in the world.
And speaking of assfucking: that's what we were looking for that night. Well, not assfucking specifically. We weren't cruising. Rather, assfucking as a metaphor, as a symbol of hedonistic indulgence, of danger in the city. And it could be anyone's ass being fucked. Male or female. We just wanted to see something just a little wicked.
Swinging over to Soundfactory at 2 a.m. certainly wasn't our idea, but that of a friend of a friend from Queens (of course). We'd been absent from all sorts of NYC clubs for years, so her description of Soundfactory as a decadent, sex-infused den of sin piqued us. We like sin. We're still a bit decadent, especially when the pack provokes and/or inspires us. We're game, we said. Bring it on.
Half an hour on line outside: fine. Invasive frisk: fine. $35 cover: fine, fine, fine. Asshole meatboy bouncers are nothing new, and they're almost as tired a topic for discussion in this city as cigars and cellphones. A club's a club, and a certain amount of hassle is required to lend the appropriate air of exclusivity. To steal from Groucho Marx, if we're paying thirty-five bucks to get in to a club, it had best be the kind of place that wouldn't normally let assholes like us through the doors.
Inside, there was hope: at the end of the bar on the top-most floor was a 3/4-naked woman, squatting atop the counter, surrounded by a gang of slackjawed, wide-eyed yahoos standing shoulder to shoulder, packed box-of-straws tight. We expected--yes, simply expected--to see a stream of ping-pong balls come flying from an unseen, exquisite pussy. (And because this is the Age of Branding, maybe her pubic mound would be shaved into the Soundfactory logo. Or maybe the name of her website.) This was going to fucking rule! How glorious! How inspiring! A barrage of glistening ping-pong balls, glowing under all the goddamn blacklight, popping over the heads of fat-pupilled, rolling Jersey meatballs.
No such luck. Her crotch was concealed by pleather. Her tits the same, even. She was simply posing with boys while they waited to be served at the juice bar. Yes, the juice bar, serving smoothies and bottled water to the e-heads. But fuck it: fine, fine, fine. We expected too much too soon. Maybe downstairs...
Where we proceeded to find..nothing interesting. More sweaty assholes. More pounding beats. The skanks leading each other around in collars were just run-of-the-mill cokewhores. The buff, waxed boys with studded collars and nipple rings were just Chelsea fags playing dress-up. No golden showers on a platform. No bloody fisting on the bar. No good-natured degradation and mild, temporary damage. No ass-fucking for the crowd's pleasure. Even the bathrooms were fairly tame: some doubling up in the stalls, but that was strictly coke--no obnoxious, loud rutting like we've heard even in places as tame as Mars Bar.
We're sure there are plenty of interesting and dangerous clubs out there. S&M. Degradation. Assfucking. But those clubs aren't just around. Clubs like Soundfactory are around. That's where people go. It's their destination because they don't know where else to go. Either Soundfactory or some place like it. They're interchangeable--the fucking Starbucks of the club world. Sure, you can get an eyefull of some tit-job cunt in a skimpy outfit squatting on a bar, but the espresso at the French cafe eight blocks away is still better, despite the inconvenience. Let the bridge-and-tunnel pussies go to those places because they're easy to find. Let them think they're actually in New York City. That they're crazy. That they're living dangerously. In the meantime, the real sex clubs change all the time. They have to, precisely because all the Jersey Transit dickheads from hellholes like Princeton will show up and ruin it for the rest of us.
So, um, sure, New York City is dead. Whatever it takes to make you believe it ain't worth the trip across the river.