Last night, while the East Fifth Street Block Association held a neighborhood meeting to air grievances about the Cooper Square Hotel and its noise (see Grieve for the inside scoop), the hotel had a party of its own. Right across the street from the senior citizens' home where the community meeting was held, the hotel hosted an invitation-only product launch, the unveiling of Aston Martin's DBS Volante Convertible.
A fleet of four Aston Martins were parked and floodlit along the Bowery. Another sat dissected on the Coop's frontage, revealing its carbon-fiber bone structure. And a sixth convertible lay bathed in bright light on Fifth Street. Each car goes for about $285,000.
I asked a worker at the party if it was a charity auction. He laughed, "Charity? There's no charity at the Cooper Square Hotel."
As the disenfranchised neighbors stepped out of the senior center to continue their discussion on the sidewalk, airing their frustrations about the hotel, the music from the party poured over them. Limousines and Hummers disgorged slick-haired swells. Partiers flowed out of the packed outdoor patio and stood on the sidewalk smoking, sipping champagne, shouting into cell phones.
As one of the upstairs neighbors wrote to me, "Every once in a while, young women shriek in unison. Some idiot brought an air horn."
Noise pollution? What noise pollution?
Meanwhile, indifferent to it all, a powdery silver Aston Martin beamed and glinted. Men in swanky suits and long-legged women climbed inside. They stroked the sumptuous leather. They moaned with pleasure. They imagined feeling the wind in their hair.
Notes from the Backside 1, 2, and 3