Club New York

From the journal of Carter Hamorton:

Little did I know during that last and only dance of the night, my time in Williamsburg was coming to an end. I could feel the need to move on and get on with my life. The thoughts of leaving Williamsburg had not fallen into the failed spell of the future, yet, but on this night under the disco lights and with the rest of the 2am crowd who were belting out Sinatra’s, “New York, New York,” I knew this phase of my life was over. The clubbing days were over. Sure there would be hanging at Paul’s Deli, but trying to have fun at Club New York or Tusks would never be a part of social scenario again.

On my first visit to Club New York it was still a roller rink. I’m pretty sure it was the only time I was on skates, which is good thing for every bone in my body. Sometime during college, the vacant rink became Club New York. Imagine Studio 54 without the hoopla. There were two bars and seating around a central dance floor. The walls were kitschy cut-outs of the New York City skyline set under a twinkling night sky. Williamsburg was not known for its club scene and Club New York seemed strangely out of place on Richmond Road. The putt-putt was there. Pancake houses were everywhere and aging hotels very nearly hid the next big thing to hit the Colonial Capital. It seemed like a good idea, but the best part of it’s location was its proximity to a 7-11, as if that wasn’t true for everything in Williamsburg. Strolling out of the club to the 7-11 in the early morning was the ultimate convenience to get some nachos with chili and cheese. In the end, Club New York would fail, like most clubs. The reputation of the place got to be too big and the Newport News revelers started coming to Williamsburg. The place became too crowded and rumors of violence began circulating around activities in the parking lot and bathrooms and finally the club went the way of Studio 54.

I was gone long before the that.

The beginning of my exodus from the club started after a mad dash through the waters of Long Island. I’d tell you more if only there was more to tell. We all have things that we are not proud of. To those who were there, “I’m sorry.” Sometimes I believe that we hear the messages from those older than us and at a young age we believe in our invincibility. Having fun is the goal at the cost of making solid decisions. The night of the Long Island flood was a crack in my belief that “nothing could ever happen to me.” It wasn’t the Club New York tipping point, but it certainly chipped away at my partying levee.

The old guy at the bar has always been a comic character for me. As a kid, I used to see the William and Mary athletes in a heroic light. I believed that anyone playing a college sport was someone to be admired. In college I used to play basketball at Walsingham with bunch of William and Mary basketball alumni. The games were so different than the ones at Season’s Trace or Quarterpath because these guys were actually running plays, boxing out, and hustling back on defense. One of the players seemed like a cool guy, but he was probably already pushing thirty. He had a real job, a real car, and if rumors were true, a way with the ladies. The next domino to fall in clubbing life happened when this dude that I thought had everything committed a flagrant foul against my man code at the time. He asked me to help hook him up with someone that I had gone to high school with.

What??? Dude, you were a successful college athlete and now you have money, a “wallet.” You are nearly thirty years old and you need help from a 21 year old local dude to pick up a girl? He became the old guy at the bar and broke the mythological mist of celebrity in my mind. My mind went fast forward and I feared that if I kept on the same path that I was traveling, I might end up like this William and Mary legend. Some of you know, “legend” is not always a term of endearment…

On the last dance night, I think all of the impatience of becoming an adult was about to blow up. At heart, my restlessness is better served as a home body and that what I was looking for. The New York skyline that loomed over the dance floor was shallow and impersonal and Sinatra was separating my feelings weekend adventure from my desire to settle down. All would not be easy after leaving the ‘burg and there would be a short time of irresponsible reincarnation. Rest assured, I was never the old guy at the bar and I only dance at home now, much to the consternation of my wife…


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