Yesterday, the New York Times’ Ben Widdicombe wrote about a vilified archetype of NYC nightlife: the Party Crasher. These are wily revelers who show up uninvited to the kind of high-brow parties that are usually thrown by rich wannabe celebs and big, bougie brands. The story gives examples of some of a particular downtown scene’s most well-known crashers, and it can get pretty embarrassing. There’s mention of the person who showed up at a party before organizers even started setting up, the guy who got so aggressive that a publicist had to take out a restraining order him, and a list of examples of typical faux-pas that gatekeepers have learned to spot, and tolerate.
Which leads us to the first rule of party-crashing: Don’t get caught.
I’ve had some experience in party-crashing myself, and can say with authority that there’s one thing that the story’s Terence Edgerson—a perennial party-crasher who frequently slides in by claiming he’s a writer for an obscure publication—got right. You need to enter a room with confidence. As the story points out:
His party-crashing night begins with wardrobe selection, where favorite pieces include a Karl Lagerfeld for H&M blazer and a white Dior sweater. “It starts with what you’re wearing, but it’s also confidence,” he said. “If you are planning to get into the party, you can’t second-guess yourself.”
He’s not wrong! When going to a corporate party where you’re not on the guest list, you need to walk in like you’re supposed to be there. Dress for the occasion. If jeans aren’t allowed, don’t wear a denim jumpsuit. If it’s black-tie, don’t show up in a tuxedo T-shirt. Play it cool.
Last year I crashed GQ’s September-issue release party at some hotel that used to be a pillow factory but now sells $10 chocolate bars and has beds made from reclaimed ceiling pine. It was pretentious, of course, but crashing it was surprisingly easy. I just walked right into the elevator from the entrance opposite the line so I didn’t have to wait. Jeff Goldblum was there, and several people wore the types of grandma glasses with the clear frames that one wears as a very deliberate life choice.
That party was during Fashion Week. If you live in New York, Fashion Week is the common person’s easiest way to get into a ton of ridiculous events. Let me refer you to my inbox:
- You’re Invited: Celebrate Tom Petty, Tattoos & More
- Invite: Party Like the Rolling Stones with Jose Cuervo
- Invite to see Boogie Stomp! starring pianists extraordinaire, Bob Baldori and Arthur Migliazza
- Mystic Aquarium Kicks Off Sea Scare 2015
All of that goes to show that brands fuckin’ love to party, and you should feel welcome to take advantage of that, particularly if you like getting toasted and chomping on small tacos all night. (How could you not!?) To get into the best parties, i.e. the ones with top-shelf booze and famous people you actually care to brush elbows with, start with some research. Figure out where the party is and if the venue has any doors you can slip into undetected. Assess the crowd that the event might draw, so that you can get a sense of the vibe Once that’s out of the way, just channel Michaele Salahi and act like you belong. (Reminder: Salahi is the woman who successfully crashed a 2009 White House dinner uninvited, after passing by two security checkpoints, because, as the Washington Post pointed out at the time, she “looked the part.”) If she could make it into the freaking White House without an invitation, you can make it into an idiotic industry party.
This is also one of the few instances where you shouldn’t be on time. Show up once the party is in full effect, and you’ll have a better shot at getting in. Oh, and those gals wielding iPads with lists of names at the head of the line at the door? They hold your fate in their ’Pad-pecking paws. Be nice to them. If you must give them a name, and your name doesn’t show up, make something up about it must be on there, or how you RSVP’d very last-minute. A pro tip is to remember the name of the publicist and say you emailed them. In order to save face, or just keep things moving, one of those PR gals might pity you and just let you in anyway.
Yes, you’ll have to lie, but let’s not get too hung up on that. It’s not like you’re crashing someone’s small and intimate engagement party. You’re going after the swanky soirees thrown by gigantic corporations and people with money to burn, where there’s free booze and food and miniaturized versions fast foods that you have to eat eight of to feel any kind of impact inside your stomach. (I’ve personally never understood tiny appetizers.) Congrats to those who make it through. May you never be the subject of a dumb New York Times piece.
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