photo by Alessandro Simonetti
Our friend Christian Alexander has been called a lot of things from “Nightlife czar, “guru” to “expert.” He runs things in Downtown New York pairing ambiance, crowd, and locale to make the most sexy, uninhibited nights known to man. He released a luxury book about these clandestine clubs around the world titled Secret Society: Modern Speakeasy Style and Design that includes some of our favorite go to spots in New York and Mexico City. We caught up with him at Hotel Americano before he orchestrated a gathering that included Stella Santana songbirding an intimate audience. Behold this creature. He is a marvel and spins magic in the dark! We got him to talk and reflect on all things Mexican. Yes. It happened!
Do you curate the audience according to location or is it a brand that you bring?
If you come here it’s because you want to be here. I bring my secret society into the space. At El Privado we are making this a speakeasy. The entrance is through the back stairwell. People like to wear expensive shoes and walk in dark hallways. Serge Becker has a way of taking a room and turning it into something. He is a genius at that. Carlos Couturier and Grupo Habita have tapped into that edge. This place is about design. This place won a James Beard award. With the rooftop Conosur, the downstairs, then you have Privado as the last space to activate. You come here to be away from it all.
Describe El Privado.
People like a dark room. Sexy. The music is a big part of it. If you want to be a barfly this is not for you.
What do you bring to El Privado.
I bring the adult playground. I bring Downtown to Chelsea, which used to be booming! Bungalow, Marquee, Pink Elephant, Bed, Guesthouse, Caine, all in one block. Now it’s just Hotel Americano and Sleep No More. Nightlife is a caravan. It moves from one community to the next.
How did Secret Society the book come about?
Patrice Farameh had the idea of modern speakeasy style and design. Her publicist brought us together. As we were leaving I said to Patrice, “that whole world is a secret society”. That became the title of the book about private clubs and speakeasies all over the world.
How do you get into these spaces? Can you stumble upon them?
You are either born in or sworn in. It’s fate. We are like-minded individuals who prefer to not socialize with the masses.
Have you learned anything new about Mexican culture since working with Americano?
I grew up in Chicago so there is a lot of Mexican culture there. I can only get real Mexican food in two places in NY and one is on 1st Avenue. When I see Mexicans I see warriors, I see family. When you come to Hotel Americano this is Mexico. Modern Mexico.