No one was lining up outside the blue-framed door. The gold oval marked “SL” in the center of the glass panel was scratched and worn. Crumpled brown paper obscured the view inside. Lights glowed from the stairs leading down towards the basement.
Late on Saturday night, the border of Manhattan’s Meatpacking District buzzed with quiet activity. A steady stream of taxis cruised along West 14th street, tires rumbling on the cobblestones. A light breeze blew. Car headlights and taillights lit up the darkness. Small groups of young adults, bundled in dark coats against the cold, wandered past. High heels chattered along the sidewalk and the smell of cigarettes hung lightly in the air.
A silver SUV pulled up outside what had been the Simyone Lounge, or SL. The driver opened his door to tidy his car and dropped a brown paper bag of trash out onto the street. This had once been among the hottest and most exclusive destinations in town, first as Lotus, and then as SL. It had survived the bleak aftermath of 9/11. It had recovered after being shut down for serving underage drinkers. But then the it crowd, the people its owners had worked so hard to lure, started heading elsewhere.