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Saturday, September 11, 2010

Vale Vibe New York 2010


Greetings peeps, Kermit here reporting from the Vale Vibe New York 2010. As most of my friends know, I do not usually attend Labor Day festivities but this year there happened to be a confluence of events that made it impossible for me not to be there. Back in the day when I used to attend Labor Day in New York regularly, the main reason I would make the trip north was for Hawke’s Boat ride. This was a most glorious and epic boat ride and my only regret was that I wasn’t in the picture-taking and commentary-writing scene back then otherwise I’m sure those would have been among my best works.Sadly, that boat ride has long since ceased to exist but this year, versions of two of the biggest and baddest Trinidad Carnival fetes were being held in New York on Labor Day weekend and when I heard that they would be back to back on the same night/morning, I knew this was the perfect storm of feteing and I had to be a part of it. The first fete in this dynamic duo is the Vale Vibe then after is Sunny Side Up New York; you will hear lots about my SSU experience in the next installment but first things first, let me tell you about the Vale Vibe.

I arrived in New York that Saturday afternoon and after downing a curry chicken buss-up-shut and a half-bottle of Belvedere, the crew and I readied ourselves and headed to the fete around 11:30 p.m. (ish) and after a brief pause at the door, we were welcomed inside and was immediately struck by the beauty of the venue. The Vale Vibe was being held in a space, the luxurious skylight One Hanson Place, which back in the day, clearly used to be a bank. Now when I say “back in the day” I don’t mean 20-30 years ago; the day I am talking about would be way back before color TV’s and even before man walked on the moon.

The main party room was what would have been the main lobby of the bank and looks like the kind of place where you would expect the Joker to be fighting off Batman as he tried to rob the place. The ceilings soared above us and the graceful arches supported huge ornate chandeliers which looked like they came straight from Notre Dame. The illumination inside was quite creative and definitely enhanced the Gotham City feel that pervaded the event and as I made my way fully into the room I was very impressed with what I had seen so far but since looks don’t quench thirst, I looked around for a bar and lo and behold there was a young lady holding a Hennessy Black bottle and wearing a Hennessy Black dress right in front of me. I sidled over to her and realized than not only was she serving Hennessy, she was also controlling a stock of Belvedere. I took this as a sign from above since I had been consuming that very same spirit earlier and now I can continue with no worries about mixing/clashing different liquors.

After introducing myself (and taking a few pictures of the lovely ladies hard at work at that bar), I sipped my drink and headed over to the right side of the fete where a line had formed for the food. The line stretched about halfway down the length of the party but it seemed to be moving briskly and since I had a drink in my hand and it was fairly early anyway, I decided to lime in the line and see what food choices awaited me.After a short wait, I discovered a plethora of food choices ranging from doubles and poulouri to bake and saltfish, to rice and peas and jerked chicken. There was a wide variety of food and there certainly seemed to be plenty of it immediately available so I took my full plate and retired to the main area to consume.By now, the crowd was starting to arrive and the venue was filling up nicely.The music was sweet and the folks present were having a great time eating and drinking and generally mingling but there was no real hard wining taking place.

This was not too surprising considering that the fete was now getting going and this was the time for patrons to fill up on their fete fuel of choice in preparation for the night’s activities. The reserved temperament of the fete was also a reflection of the type of crowd present as the folks in attendance definitely dressed to impress and their efforts were largely successful. The crowd was full of beautiful, well dressed people and I could see why they would take their time to mix and mingle and see and be seen. I mean, there would be plenty time to palance later but now, while you are as yet un-sweatied, now would be a good time to chill and pose for pics and I was happy to oblige them one and all.

As we all know, this social behavior could not last all night and when Alicia D Dutchess’ introduced Donaeo and he took the stage, the crowd in the front of the fete start to loosen up. I mean, here was the “Party Hard” man singing live not 5 feet away and there was no way you could ignore that vibe. Before long the crowd was swaying and gyrating and hanging on his every word. In my opinion, this was the straw that broke the camel’s back and from that time on, the crowd by the stage was fully engaged in the winery.Interestingly enough, when I made my way to the bars in the back of the fete, the vibe down there was much mellower and laid back. The peeps down here were definitely enjoying themselves but they weren’t wining with the fervor their counterparts up in front were displaying.

This, I think, was a very nice feature in the Vale Vibe; if you wanted to jam down and get on bad, you could go up front and palance to your heart’s content and if you wanted a breather or simply wanted to chill instead, you could gravitate to the rear and lime and observe the Party Harder’s and through all of this, the liquor flowed very liberally right up until the very end of the night’s festivities.

The Vale Vibe New York 2010 was an excellent fete as the organizers went to great lengths to provide the patrons with an elegant party experience and tonight, they were 100% successful. Everything from the hot food to the cold drinks to the well dressed yet badly behaved clientele was absolutely on point. The music kept us moving all night and Donaeo provided a nice change of pace and just about the only thing that would have made the night better would have been to keep it going for another couple hours but since greed is a sin, I will be thankful for the several hours I enjoyed courtesy of the Vale Vibe management – well done Vale Vibe, very well done indeed.

Enjoy the pics peeps, because later that morning after a disco nap and a quick shower, I headed to Sunny Side Up New York and had a TIME AND A HALF there but you will soon see and hear all about it.

Kermit out.
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