Let’s be honest. The silent majority of well-heeled lesbians in Manhattan is virtually indistinguishable from our straight counterparts, but only a few short years ago, although the city has always been teeming with cosmo-femmes, finding another one was as likely as finding a golden ticket to the Willy Wonka Chocolate Factory. There was even an underlying sense that it was un-P.C. and unlesbianlike to want such a thing.
The success of Eden proved that the demand for such a party not only existed but was extraordinarily high. Only a year after it launched, Eden garnered praise from New York Magazine, which billed it as the best lesbian party in the city in 2008 – and then again in 2009. Eden also captured a cover story in The Village Voice, “Triumph of the Lipstick Lesbians.”
Of course, any successful venture has its detractors. Maggie C. recalls an incident when she overheard a group of lesbians complaining about the Village Voice article. “I was having brunch with friends shortly after the story came out and overheard a group of lesbians completely tearing the piece apart and negating its relevance and importance to the lesbian community entirely. I believe they even used the word ‘destructive,’” she said.
“They argued that by glorifying a certain aspect of the community, i.e. the more glamorous, feminine types, that we offend all other types of lesbians who identify as butch or androgynous. They felt the article ultimately suggested that identifying as anything not ‘lipsticky’ was not ok. As someone who identifies mostly as a feminine lesbian both internally and aesthetically, I have felt at times as an outcast or not taken as seriously by members of my own community.” She then concluded, “I do believe that breaking stereotypes and widening the spectrum of diversity among gay women is revolutionary and triumphant in every way.” I wholeheartedly agree.
Interior of The Gates
Eden has had several homes since its launch, but now it has taken up residence at The Gates, a semi-private club that was name-dropped on Gossip Girl. Although no one really knows what the "ambassador program" to get past its velvet ropes is about, every Wednesday night, The Gates throws its imposing brass exterior wide open to welcome a sizeable crowd of upscale lesbians who just want to let down their hair and dance.
I spoke to a few partygoers and asked them to suggest similar parties for the type of lesbian who frequents Eden. One woman, Andrea, suggested a party called Proposition, which is held at Slate Lounge every other Friday. Proposition, she said, “is full of beautiful, educated women like the ones at Eden, except it is held on the weekend, so the attendees are even more dressed to impress.”
Another lesbian night that was given praise by Eden-ites is another Maggie C. party, Stiletto, which is held every Sunday at the Maritime Hotel. During the chillier months, Stiletto is held at night, and during the summer, the party starts at 2pm with a lively brunch and ends at 10pm. The same well-heeled crowd that attends Eden attends Stiletto year-round.
I asked Maggie C. to compare the New York City scene to the L.A. Scene. About the L.A. scene, Maggie said, “I lived in L.A. from 2000-2006. I was very impressed with how many upscale events existed for women as well as the caliber of these events. The women who attended were fashionable and powerful though I did feel they were less approachable than women on the East Coast.”
As to the N.Y. scene, she said, “I’ve definitely noticed a big transformation within the NY lesbian nightlife in the last three years – there are some incredible women out there creating some pretty amazing opportunities in the nightlife and beyond. I think the NY scene has certainly caught up to LA in many aspects.”