NeueHouse Kicks Off 10-Year Anniversary Celebrations

NeueHouse Kicks Off 10-Year Anniversary Celebrations

By Kurt McVeyMar 15, 2024

NeueHouse, a private members club, event space, shared work environment and newly renovated multimedia powerhouse located just east of Madison Square Park in Manhattan’s Flatiron District kicked off a series of celebrations (called “10x10”) for its 10-year anniversary on Friday, February 23, with a jam-packed, interactive multi-floor extravaganza, powered by Lucid.

The New York City solidarity was real at the enduring NeueHouse flagship location, as several of the performers from the McKittrick’s voyeuristic reimagining of Sleep No More, such as the dancer, director and choreographer, Brian Lawson, were there to lend their talents, expert clowning, and overall “Fred-Astaireing” to the social home’s brand new retro-plush Cinema Lounge and Theater designed by the inimitable American designer and architect, David Rockwell (The Shed, the New York EDITION and more), who was also present for the fête.

The new lounge is a fresh, ingenious, velvety touch of old Hollywood in the Big Apple, living adjacent to brand new, state-of-the-art podcast studios and an intimate “deal closer” boardroom. Although not officially launched yet, members were given the opportunity to preview the space for exclusive events like Andrew Saffir’s cinema society screenings, which included Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret with a Q&A with Rachel McAdams, Faraway Downs hosted by Baz Luhrmann and a Barbie screening and conversation with Billie Eilish and Finneas.

“The NeueHouse Cinema is everything I love in a screening room. It's luxurious and chic — the great David Rockwell designed it, so how could it not be super-stylish — and it's also very private, which is important for the screenings I do and the caliber of people that frequent them,” Saffir tells PAPER. “The space also offers artisanal candy among other culinary treats and drinks, making it the perfect moviegoing experience.”

Rockwell and his group’s deft and authoritative touch can be seen and felt across the entire property, from various lobby areas strewn with glossy, coffee-table fine art books, often birthed and executed by many friends and members of NeueHouse, all the way up to the penthouse, where a staple of “Neue’s Ark,” Juan Miguel Marin, executed one of his famed live kinetic drawings for the 10x10 event, sentimentally recalling a 2021 performance that welcomed members back inside post-pandemic. The penthouse floor also hosted a touching memorial service for late photographer Roxanne Lowit, the New York City nightlife and backstage pioneer and veteran who passed away in September 2022. That emotional event saw Anna Wintour, Bob Colacello and a plethora of perennial New York club kids pay their respects.

Stefanie Batten Bland, the wildly prolific choreographer and artistic director behind dance Company SBB, has been a very hands-on NeueHouse member since 2021; a sort of unofficial impresario of spatial movement and flow. During the 10x10 event, Batten Bland activated dancers on the 5th and 11th floors, subtly teasing out complex notions regarding the intertwined and oft-at-odds relationship between labor and creativity, while interrogating the efficacy and safety of formal and informal performance space, past, present and future — all while serving the stylish audience with an emotive “aquarium of color,” as she playfully put it. Bland’s additions to the NeueHouse cultural programming are indicative of many exclusive collaborations with notable figures such as Ai Weiwei, André Leon Talley, Chris Blackwell, Cynthia Rowley, George Clinton, Graydon Carter, Jason Wu, Joan Juliet Buck, Julian Schnabel, Jon Batiste, Kelly Slater, Lee Jaffe, Laurie Anderson, Marina Abramović, Matthew Modine, Philip Glass, Quentin Tarantino, Wu-Tang Clan, Virgil Abloh and many more.

“It’s a great place to hang and eat in my old neighborhood, " actor David Duchovny says. “Great wide open, comfortable vibe.”

A pause here to recognize Neuehouse’s truly inclusive, boldly diverse membership and programming, which means a vast and conscious plurality. Where Neuehouse nurtures many unique and multifaceted creatives over the last decade, including an often uncelebrated “industry” dimension (creative directors, publicists, producers, impact investors, F&B, hospitality and nightlife workers, cultural curators, etc.), the 10-year blowout was an opportunity for these members to return the love back to their incubator away from home.

Francisco Costa, for instance, the former designer of Calvin Klein and owner of Costa Brazil, noted: “From the first moment I walked in, I felt like I belonged.”

NeueHouse is a safe space. For everyone. That being said, there is a sizable waitlist for companies and organizations looking to secure a private office, but gallery (standard individual) memberships are open, available and rolling. It’s about buying into a culture that recognizes talent and supports excellence across mediums, spectrums, lifestyles and timelines.

Such a culture might find a resident member and part-time pastry chef (check out his well-known, life-sized cream puff towers), Savinien Caracostea, an architect hailing from the Harvard Graduate School, constructing a chocolate fudge cake for the event in Neue’s newly revamped full-service kitchen. The cake, cold-curing in a large freezer, is designed in the uncanny, scaled-down image of Neue’s main-floor stadium seating, which often fills up with visitors and members alike for various panel discussions and musical performances.

During these presentations, or perhaps a couple hours before a 10th anniversary event kicks off, one might catch NeueHouse’s General Manager, the always warm, “on it,” and super cool Sarita Tabarez, playfully chastising a New York writer for ordering a carcinogenic Diet Coke with lunch (“We don’t do that here.”), while swapping the order out for her homemade carbonated organic elixirs featuring turmeric, ginger, coconut, yuzu and floral garnishes she personally procured offsite with her new Food and Beverage Director, certified sommelier Selma Ljaljicic. Not water into wine, but still impressive. The overall menu concept is designed to be nutritious, healthy and to serve as fuel with exceptions of a few naughty indulgences.

Oberon Sinclair, the founder of My Young Auntie, an almost mystical multi-hyphenate who is often seen interviewing everyone from The Royals to Salman Rushdie on-site, had this to say: “Reflecting on NeueHouse’s journey over the past decade, it’s a testament to the transformative potential when vision, passion and collaboration converge. As a co-founder, witnessing our community’s evolution reaffirms the profound impact of fostering spaces where creativity thrives and boundaries dissolve.”

“Is it any wonder that NeueHouse is then the only place that feeds both sides, the introvert and the extrovert: There are holes to hide in and big spaces to show off in,” Joan Juliet Buck, author and former editor of French Vogue, adds. “Sometimes a friend’s party is upstairs. I can work undisturbed but well-caffeinated until I switch back to craving humanity to find a beautiful array of busy humans ready to engage.”

Personal connections to NeueHouse (also featuring locations in Hollywood and more recently, Venice Beach, CA) seem to endure, as Sinclair and Tabarez take equal emotional ownership over the brand, community, culture, campus and infrastructure. In moving through the entire campus before the anniversary, while the staff is hustling and bustling to prepare, Tabarez’s attention to detail is dialed up to 11, while never losing her cool. Her eagle eye for detail has to be (and very much is) on par with the most seasoned creatives, like the aforementioned Sinclair, who single-handedly made kale famous, apparently. Look it up!

This bond holds true for the Director of Community and Culture at NeueHouse, Jean-Michelle Lopez, who oversees the dynamic roster of programming every month. “Our goal is to curate relevant, exciting and thought-provoking experiences while providing a space where diverse perspectives converge and creativity flourishes,” she says. “We curate with intention, heart and a genuine desire to invite people to discover something new and inspire passion and connection across industries.”

On the fifth floor, a few hours before the flagship’s doors open, Tabarez pauses to acknowledge DJ Rhythm Rich, seen printing out flyers on a copy machine in a very pedestrian office tableau. Later that same evening, Rich’s DJ set would fill the new Cinema Lounge with after-party tribal and funk house jams, which he said fit in with NeueHouse’s matriculated urban spiritual vibe (i.e., they might go to Burning Man, but it’s not their entire personality). Also a member, Rich happens to be the VP of Marketing at Videon, a company that makes edge computing solutions for live sporting events. In 2024, notions of first, second and “third spaces” are blurred more than ever. This trend should only increase as office space and other commercial real estate properties approach a fast-approaching day of reckoning. At NeueHouse, much like DJ Rhythm Rich, one need not quit their day job to play out their groovy night dreams, nor leave the office to kick it with the cool kids. It all goes down in-house.

Photos via BFA/ Miguel McSongwe