If you’re lucky enough to be invited to anything other than a kegger or beer-soaked dorm room orgy before junior year, consider yourself lucky. Now, depending on where that party is, very different things will be expected of you—and if you care to ever be invited out again, you’ll comply. Use this cheat sheet to understand the difference between a dance party in the McKibbin Lofts and a dinner in The Dakota.
So you’re going to Bushwick for a house party—just like everyone else in New York when they’re sick of Manhattan and want a Brooklyn alternative.
What To Expect: Broke hipsters, dirty hipsters, hipsters who pretend to be broke and dirty, loft parties, DIY shows, cheap beer, tall indie rockers, skinny jeans and oversized non-prescription glasses, bedbugs, incessant ciggie and booze bums, lots of vegans.
What To Bring: Beer in cans, cigarettes, a pre-rolled joint, your iPod to plug in when you get the guts to take over the stereo
and cash on hand for late-night stops at
The Upper East Side
You’re not getting invited anywhere swank, but as long as rent east of Lexington stays cheap, you’re sure to find yourself stuck up here every so often.
What To Expect: Ivy League grads, gallery assistants, girls with chemically straightened hair, dudes with popped collars, khakis, boys who brought their own prophylactics, the occasional doorman, people who will eventually move to Chicago, cheese and crackers, dogs in purses, shitty cocaine and Top 40 hits on the iPod.
What To Bring: Clean clothes, cheap white wine, stories about your amusing bohemian life, a joint to share when you need everyone to shut up, decent shoes for that walk to the 6.
You’ve been invited to a house party in Astoria and decide to go… after you’ve Google-mapped it and discovered that it is, indeed, within the five boroughs.
What To Expect: Actors, off-the-clock drag queens, Euros, people who are afraid of Brooklyn, people who can’t afford Manhattan, not a lot of black people but a lot of everybody else, beer and snacks from the local Greek restaurants.
What To Bring: Mixers, a subway map (because really, where the hell are you?), the phone number of a car service in case your subway map fails, fresca and tequila to make Lazy Margaritas (you don’t want to drink the bathtub punch) and cash on hand because nobody takes card.
The West Village
Your friend’s brother’s cousin is having a gallery opening/launch party/gala at his swanky condo. You don’t know anyone, so tread carefully.
What To Expect: Expensive interior décor, an open bar (make friends with the bartender; he knows where all the extra booze is), hors d’oeuvres, a beautifully-filled medicine cabinet, suits who constantly one-up each other and outfits that cost more than your rent.
What to bring: Your best outfit, your A-game, a fake identity to impress people with if you get bored, a debit card for the corner deli and a bottle of wine—any kind, they won’t be bothered to drink it anyway. Fill up on the goodies in the medicine cabinet and you won’t have to bring your own drugs.
This neighborhood gets a bad rep for being full of yoga moms and their obnoxious offspring, but as South Slope and Gowanus explode, it’s impossible to avoid The Slope, no matter how anti-rugrat you are.
What To Expect: That first M.I.A. record (still), Brooklyn Brewery beer, bisexuals, actors, waiters, junior-level publishing types, an impressive bookshelf, organic snacks.
What to bring: Hummus, Etsy accessories, condoms, Three-Buck Chuck, the new issue of Granta to tuck in your back pocket, a full pack of American Spirits and an idea of who’s playing at Union Hall for when you need to escape.