By VIVIAN LUDFORD & LIN KING
Thank. God. It’s. (Charter.) Friday.
Unfortunately, East Coast weather prevents us from streaking in the park and skinny dipping in the dark, but hey, at least Charter’s always there. After the long trek down the Street, we arrived at the sparsely occupied dance floor bathed in diva dance jams and a somewhat weak strobe light. The songs were full of strong female vocals and evoked mental images of tight leather jeans and a red Mustang. As Madonna told us of girls gone wild and Britney promised us emotional servitude and then some (“I’m a slaaave 4 U/I won’t deny it/I’m not trying to hide it”), we were transported back to a simpler time, when your biggest relationship problem was whether or not your crush would be able to interpret your snarky comments as love. When asked about his musical style, the DJ replied smartly, “Stay and you’ll find out.” Alas, duty called, and the chorus of Pitbull’s “I Know You Want Me” marched us back out to the Street.
Up top, Cannon was all hardwood panels and Tudor-style swag. Meanwhile, the basement opened up to what seemed like your archetypal high school gym. Heavy-duty walls painted white and red and cement floors were the extent of the dance-floor decor. A few steps away was a taproom with the biggest bar on the Street and ESPN playing on four flat-screens. The sports bar aura was completed with the music: badass rap that made you want to get down and dirty with the likes of Lil Wayne. Forget soulful melodies and sultry lyrics; Cannon was all about that big fat bass. The thrumming of the beat reverberated in the pits of our stomachs, so that everything yo mama had taught you suddenly became irrelevant to the twisting and trashing on the dance floor. It was wild.
The Ivy Gate Pen? Is that a thing? The throng of disappointed Street-goers examining the apparently defunct pen showed us that we had been missing out on a hallmark of Street culture this whole time. We would not give up; we backtracked to Campus Club to get a pen. [See Campus] The second time around, the bouncers accepted our eligibility without protest. Our troubles were well worth it. At Ivy, there were no staircases to traverse, no dank stench of body odor rising from below. Everything was up top, from the group of girls cat-daddying in bunny costume to the European clan smoking something high-end on the porch.The music at Ivy could be summed up as bootylicious. It’s music you slow-twerk to. The Ciara-esque bubblegum rap made us want to “li-li-li-lick [each other] from [the] head to [the] toes.” While we didn’t hear any Shakira while there, the hips on the Ivy dance floor certainly didn’t lie. Some serious gyro-motion going on there.
Unlike many of our unlucky fellows, we had the sobriety to backtrack to Campus in search of a pen. Here the bouncers were far more lenient (and by bouncers we mean the Prox scanner), and we entered without a hassle. Little did we know, Campus Club was already hopping — but not in your typical Street sense. We felt curiously out of place as we realized that this small crowd was a part of some secret COS society for which you needed an erudition much deeper than a pass and a Prox to be a part of. We stole our way past these unconventional partyers and discovered a lone senior holed up in the back room with several small hills of thesis material. Scattered around him were boxes of pizza, one of which was still half-untouched. Armed with coffee and Bose headphones, he seemed far too absorbed in his silent thesis disco to notice our presence. Unfortunately, he woke from his stupor just before we made our move. And we, still sober enough to feel the full weight of our social faux pas, drew our eager hands back and instead asked him meekly for a pen. Passes filled out, we left, throwing one last forlorn glance at the half-eaten pizza as we ventured back out into the dark.
Cottage was full of a funky, feel-good vibe, and members swayed lightly as they chatted on the staircase, in the taproom or on the dance floor. We padded downstairs and past the awkward, circular tables that filled the taproom, wanting to grab a beverage, but when we arrived the bartender was already squeegeeing down the counter, pushing the who-knows-what mixture into the drain. Some sort of sunny electronic song with no lyrics came on, and we returned to the dance floor briefly before going back out into the night.
Never in our Princeton lives did we think we would one day be turned away by Colonial, but this club turned out to be the toughest of the bunch. Friday night was semiformals, which meant that, if you weren’t a member, you weren’t in. No amount of swaying or pleading (“But please, I just need to get in for, like, 10 minutes”) would budge the bouncers, who maintained their stoic “No’s” throughout. We appealed to individual members, but even they could not grant us admission. Instead, we stood outside the club in the cold, staring up at its imposing white columns and eyeing the grandeur taking place behind its Palladian windows. We heard the faint hum of Top 40 music blasting throughout, shot one last vengeful look at the bouncers and moved on.
Cap & Gown
Cap’s red lighting created an effect somewhere between the red light district and a candlelit dinner: exotic but flattering, softening that zit on your forehead out of your complexion. The flavor of the day was flirty, feel-good hip-hop, sprinkled with mellow rap and topped with Beyonce’s latest single, “Bow Down.” This was as romantic as you get on the Street, and we never wanted to leave.
Sweat. Chaos. Just another typical TI night. The crowd went wild for the beats shooting out of the loudspeakers that were strung around the dance floor. The tunes chosen were reminiscent of 2010 Top 40, with Jay Sean asking whether you were down and Missy Elliot making you lose control. Picture your prom glory days, when even the cool kids sang Rihanna at the top of their lungs, except now interspersed with grinding and DFMO-ing.
To be fair, we got to Tower pretty late, as in 10 minutes before that magical hour known as Terrace time. Maybe that was why the bouncers let us sing our way in — two people on one pass. After we sang a short duet of “The Lion Sleeps Tonight,” we were free to enter. The dance floor had long since thinned out, but the music had not. We were treated to an astounding diversity of top-hit genres, from Owl City to 50 Cent, from “Moves Like Jagger” to “Make It Nasty.”
Anyone who’s been to the Street knows that you can’t fit Terrace in a box. We had missed the weekly guest performer but got there in time to enjoy the dirty, classic free-love dance floor that Terrace is known for. Terrace is the great equalizer: open late-night to all, no passes or lists involved. On the dance floor, art majors twist next to molecular biologists while future presidents drunk-Dougie with the rest of us. The music itself is a conglomeration of all the musical elements that we love: a krump-worthy, electronica, hip-hop-rap love child with a heavy bass. We’ve never been to an indie club in the Village, but we imagine this is what it would be like.