Swelter

The next night, frantic social calls paying off with an invitation to a birthday party at Astor's Bar. Hosts Richard Johnson of the Daily News and hotelier Andre Balazs drawing a truly remarkable assortment of people: Sandra Bernhard; Robert De Niro; Eddie Hayes, the lawyer immortalized in Bonfire of the Vanities; Brian McNally of the Royalton; and someone billed as an "unindicted co-conspirator." Michael Musto of the Village Voice, pulling out a clipping from the Star about his own recent birthday party, featuring celebrity guest Gary Coleman: "Look at this headline about him: 'No career and no mate.' Just like my life." An absolutely perfect party, taking the sting out of all the missed social opportunities in Miami, highlighted by an affectionate hug and meeting-of-the-minds encounter with party boy/journalist Anthony Haden-Guest, even more socially relentless than we are.

Closing down another full evening by accompanying someone to the nightmarish lower West Side, sex and drug central. Our guide to Sin City buying pot at a well-publicized hotel owned by drug lords, a truly New Jack City experience. Waiting in a seedy lobby, the presence of many big black people enforcing a certain tone of civility before being buzzed up to the inner sanctum, different drugs sold in each room. Up to 26th Street, a cold wind whipping off the river, the whole block one big whorehouse. Preppy boys in suits loading up vans with hookers, a car with two guys from New Jersey, getting simultaneous and intensely energetic blowjobs. The buildings covered with graffiti, the writings of the apolcalyse, with one strange ode to the new Armageddon capturing the moment exactly: "Hail disaster, for I am twisted. Let it come down.

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