What Recession? Nerve Parties Like It’s 1929

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A contortionist entertains the crowd at Nerve.com’s “scandalous” party.

The Hendrick’s Gin invitation promised debauchery and delivered. The renowned Scottish gin brand teamed with Nerve.com to host a “scandalous” evening on Monday at Lower East Side burlesque theatre, The Box, which drew a large crowd of costumed party-goers well past midnight. Marlene Dietrich, Josephine Baker and Rudolph Valentino lookalikes attended en masse.

Inside, the lucky revelers found a gin-filled bathtub, a decadent display of fire breathers, magicians, contortionists and carnival acts, and the occasional burlesque dancer. The early 20th century décor and costumes, the nondescript exterior of The Box and the exclusive list of invitees helped evoke the secretive atmosphere of a Prohibition-era party. Those attending relived the exotic parties that accompanied the Prohibition. The drink of choice? Gin, of course!

“Fortunately, people still enjoy a good cocktail during recessions — indeed, sometimes more than one,” said Nerve CEO Rufus Griscom, adding that Nerve.com’s biggest ad categories are liquor and entertainment.

But in light of the current economic instability, with companies such as Hearst and Condé Nast scaling back on holiday parties, how does Griscom justify such a lavish extravaganza?

His answer, plus more party photos, after the jump…


“This party was made possible by Hendrick’s Gin, which explains why it was so lavish and extraordinary. We will certainly be cautious going forward, but Nerve is a brand that is focused on the lifestyles of young single people, and I think those lifestyles often become more engaged during recessions. People work shorter hours, and arguably become more focused on their dating and social lives.” He added, “Liquor companies like Hendrick’s Gin often do better during recessions, which is good for those of us who are reaching young, socially engaged people. Online dating — one of Nerve’s core businesses — also tends to do well in weak economic environments.”

Looks like sex and booze never go out of style.

-Kendall Green

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Two party-goers show off their elaborate ensembles.

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The Hendrick’s gin bartenders pose in their themed party attire

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The scene at Nerve.com’s Prohibition-style party this week