What’s the shutdown situation? Some people say you’ll be open soon. Some people say you’re closed for 235 days. What’s the real rap?
I have no idea what the judge is going to say. There are a lot of factors to this case. There’s a criminal case against Drake. There’s a lot of stuff going on with this case that I can’t really discuss. I don’t even know really. I just hope New York will give us a shot and understand it wasn’t our fault. It’s unfortunate.
Do you think Drake and Chris Brown should compensate you or that they should be banned from nightclubs in New York?
In general, I am a forgive and forget person. I don’t hold grudges. If you have a business and you’re making a living and a certain amount of revenue, it’s about the business aspect. Now that these people have done that, it’s a stain on their resume in nightlife. I’m not saying we don’t love those people. Of course. We play their music. We love them. At the same time, we don’t want to risk the business of it for that. How important is it to have that person in the room to risk your nightlife for 200 and some odd days? Is it worth it? No. The club will continue to move on without any celebrity in the club. I’ve done thousands of clubs that didn’t have one celebrity but every night it was on.
We play their music. We love them. At the same time, we don’t want to risk the business of it for that. How important is it to have that person in the room to risk your nightlife for 200 and some odd days? Is it worth it? No. The club will continue to move on without any celebrity in the club.
Do you think these types of incidents are a result of having an urban crowd?
I’m from Brooklyn. I’m from the streets of New York. From the worse neighborhood. I am a Latino person. We want that shit. We all want the business. We all want the celebrities. That also makes the club. We want them to have a good time. We want the celebrity to go back to L.A. or to wherever they go and tell people, “Yo, that’s the place to go in New York.” We all want that. What we don’t want is violence and stoppage of revenue. No one wants that.
If you guys were to review bottle service guidelines, what does that even mean? Realistically, I’m sure it’s been talked about to some degree. People joke about plastic cups, but is that where it's going?
I don’t know if you’ve ever been to the clubs down South. I’ve been to clubs all over the United States. Every time I go to a city I go, “Let me check out the nightlife here.” Sometimes it’s relaxed. Sometimes it’s really good. Sometimes it’s pretty women. I look at the places down South and they got plastic. They don’t have bottles because they have a history of wild stuff going on there.
It depends on the history of your venue. If you have that all the time… If you have people who shot somebody in your venue, you have a metal detector outside. How many clubs in New York have that? It’s the nature of the business you’re doing. I don’t see Avenue needing a metal detector or searching people ever because they have people come in there and they are not looking for violence and they are pretty much committed to being good citizens.
You understand what’s going in the place. This is not a place of violence. This is not Central Booking. This is coming here and having a good time. I would never think that W.i.P. would need plastic cups or plastic anything, to this day. I’ve been there since January. It’s been beautiful people. We never had one problem. I think we had one shoving match in February. But it’s been amazing. People come there and they love the art and have a good time. No one does anything wrong and we were fine and this happens.
Tenjune. They revoked their invitation for Drake to host a party.
After our incident or before our incident?
After. On Saturday.
Yeah, of course they did. They would need to do something like that for themselves.
Then Meek Mill had a party at District 36 the same night and cops shut down the whole block.
Yeah. Well, I mean, if New York City says turn yourself in, we want to talk to you, and you say, “I’m not turning myself in. I didn’t do nothing.” They are going to do that just to make you feel uncomfortable in New York City. That’s just what it is. The same way Joe Francis got arrested in Louisiana or Florida or wherever he was when he knocked on the mayor on the radio. That’s just politics. You don’t do that. You are not going to live and eat here if you are not cooperating with the proper authorities. That’s just a city thing.
You just told me that you’re from the hood...
I was born in Cumberland Hospital. I was raised in Fort Greene projects in the late ‘70s. I grew up in one of the worst neighborhoods in New York City. One of the worst.
So, do incidents like this happen because of Black people and urban events?
I can’t say that. I hang out with Jessy Terrero. I hang out with Ulysses Terrero. I hang out with Frank Reyes. Those are my brothers. Those are all Latin brothers. And they would never, never put other people in danger. Those are good-hearted people. I hang out with Kenny Smith and those guys. These are good people. And you’re going to see that. It’s just certain individuals, that’s why it’s hard to say race. It’s so hard to say that.
Even beyond race, you know how they view urban parties out here. You see hip-hop police out at every concert or at clubs when it’s a night that rappers are going to be there. Is there some stigma that urban events bring to nightlife? When a club starts becoming too accessible and too bridge and tunnel and maybe the crowd has gotten too urban, the next thing you know, it’s over. What does that type of crowd bring to an atmosphere?
Clubs goes in the stages of one, two, three. You start off hot. Everybody’s doing it. Everybody’s going there. All the celebrities, all the hot people, young people. Then you go to stage two and you got everybody familiar in there and you are still trying to hang on and you’re there if you’re lucky. Last stage you start to bring promoters and start to bring shit from New Jersey and Long Island to make your ass buck before your toes are placed. That’s just become the norm of this business ever since all these clubs opened.
As far as urban parties, I can’t. I come from a long line of partying in New York and I used to go to Jusske’s party back in the days. I used to go so many places that were industry and urban and the whole place was black, with rappers, and it hardly ever jumped off. Yes, there were always occasions when things jumped off. But then again, there are occasions when things jumped off with white people. I was there in DoubleSeven. The rich guy hit the other guy with a bottle. The prince, you know. It happens more in urban parties I guess because those people are not cultured party people. They don’t know how to party in Manhattan.
Like you said, in DoubleSeven you have a prince and socialites doing the same thing that happened in W.i.P. and they don’t get shut down for a day.
It wasn’t a famous black rapper—one. So of course, nobody cares. And two, that one was glamorous. There were models involved. There was all this crap. But in its essence, it’s the same bullshit.
I’ve been to so many parties where someone is grilling me or they got an issue or we’re about to get busy in there. And of course at some point somebody says, 'Yo, chill. There are too many people in here.' What happened to that? Chill. We go outside or we meet him outside down the block or we wait for it. You just don’t put all these people in danger. That’s the bottom line.
How does it feel to be part of an organization that gets punished? There are certain circumstances attached to glamour, but it’s the same thing, and they don’t get any consequences from it.
Yeah, man. It’s not fair. Everybody proceeds on except us. And our main focus was to show people a good time at W.i.P. That’s all we do. It was just not fair that we had to stop what we were doing for New York City and for the visitors of New York City for some foolishness. And especially for some people in the industry who get paid off their fans. And have their careers fueled by people. Why would you go anywhere and try to hurt these people? It makes no sense. I’m from New York and I’ve been to so many parties where someone is grilling me or they got an issue or we’re about to get busy in there. And of course at some point somebody says, “Yo, chill. There are too many people in here.” What happened to that? Chill. We go outside or we meet him outside down the block or we wait for it. You just don’t put all these people in danger. That’s the bottom line.