"I Like my bed at home," says Susanne Bartsch, with the longing of someone who never gets to actually sleep. Since the ’80s, Bartsch has worked all night as a mother lion to the most spectacular creatures of the city—fashion designers, club kids, models, performers, drag queens, DJs and late-night icons. Though AIDS, gentrification and social media have changed NYC’s queer nightlife, it seems that Bartsch’s inclusive, outrageous parties will always be a bastion for the next generation of demimonde angels. We asked the immortal scenester about her favorite places to dance, drink and unwind in NYC.
Portrait by Jeiroh Yanga
Brooklyn takeover: Kunst at Elsewhere
"I love Elsewhere. I’m actually shocked that I’m going to Brooklyn. I’m not shocked, because everybody’s in Brooklyn, but I never would have thought that I’d end up there. It’s so much more fun over there. Manhattan is a city of real estate lawyers and accountants now. Elsewhere is a cool mix of people. It’s basically a performance venue for bands, but they also have events and parties, and they have a roof and different rooms. I always like places with different rooms where you can catch different sounds. Dance parties, like Kunst, are about dancing, music and the DJs. I always have one show that’s just about music and dancing, not just looks and showing off. Kunst has the looks, but you have the lounging on the roof and then you have the dancing."
Photograph: Courtesy the McKittrick Hotel
High-drama theater: Bartschland Follies
"I have the Bartschland Follies, which is at one of my favorite places. It feels underground when you come into the room to see the Follies, even though you’re in the middle of a place that’s well known. I don’t want to name-drop, but David LaChapelle’s been three times already—he loves it. You come in and feel like you’re part of something massive. It’s like going to someone’s house. And I love the McKittrick’s roof. This is more of a sit-down space to relax—for more of a theater crowd."
Classic space: The Standard, High Line
"I love the Standard, the Boom Boom Room and Le Bain. When I do a party there with the two rooms together, we open up the whole space. It’s really magical to have the dark, red deep of Le Bain and the high-glam, lit atmosphere of the Boom Boom Room. Normally, they don’t open them: They’re closed, and each one is their own entity. But I love having them combined every so often—it’s one of my favorite things."
After the Party: The Standard Grill
"I love this place for late-night stuff. I love their food, it’s cozy, and they stay open late. I often go there after I have an event. I love their onion soup and the fish soup, and the bread is amazing. I don’t really eat [turf] meat, so it’s just the calamari for me. I don’t have a big-plate favorite there, but they always have a good special."
The astrology of Susanne Bartsch
"I'm a bloody Virgo. But I find Virgo men to be kind of weird, actually. They're very effeminate and very masculine at the same time. I had a couple of boyfriends who were Virgos and they had that male thing about them and they there were very femme and total softies. I'm definitely a top, you know what I mean? My rising sign is Cancer—I'm an organized mess. I have a pile of shit and I know exactly what's in the pile, and where. My son is a Pisces, which is the opposite of a Virgo. He came early, and I wanted to cross my legs, and it was at 11:57! If it had been at 12 o'clock, he would have at least been an Aries. He has all water! They say that Virgo and Scorpio are the two most misunderstood of the signs. They say we're nitpicks, but we like to help people, and we are into the details. But what it really is, and this is what an astrologist told me, is that we see the big picture. When we see things going wrong, we take it apart and try to put it back together to make it more harmonious for the big picture. People don't understand that about us. I'm a classic Virgo in that way."
Portrait by Jeiroh Yanga