Shortly after 11 p.m. on Monday night, 13th street between Washington Street and 10th Avenue was a veritable parking lot. The tract of Meatpacking was occupied by a fleet of loitering black SUVs, their drivers taking naps in the front seats. It was going to be hours before their passengers were to descend from the Boom Boom Room post-Met Gala.
The Met Ball after party scene is enough to drive up an Uber surge charge — couple that with a shower, and you’re really in business. Just as the Boom Boom Room was primed for peak attendance, the rain that had threatened to deter Met Ball attendees from showing up to the official after party being thrown by Apple, arrived. Curiously, the tech company decided not to invite press to the bash and, of course, that meant the hotel’s periphery was mobbed.
It was a steady stream of Hollywood A-listers hopping out of their town cars outside the side entrance of the Standard, much to the joy of the casual — or professional, who knows — bystanders, who had set up camp behind the metal partition on the sidewalk. TMZ-syle paparazzi cameramen posted up alongside them as the particularly marquee names — Taylor Swift, Nick Jonas — streamed in. Even at a distance, it was easy to ID who was inside each car — tinted windows be damned — and the crowd began shouting their names as soon as their doors swung opened.
Early arrivals included Anna Wintour (naturally), Ivanka Trump, Wendi Deng, Kate Mara and Jared Leto, who popped out of his car with Alessandro Michele hot at his heels. Leto, scepter in hand, gamely gave a thumbs-up to the crowd. Saoirse Ronan, new to the Met Gala game, looked confused as she tried to find her way from car to club. Her publicist had her pause for the lenses before she made her way inside.
The designer crowd was next to arrive en masse: Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli, followed by Marc Jacobs and then Alexander Wang. After that was Donatella Versace in a sequin-tinged catsuit. “Happy birthday, boo!” a fan shouted from across the street.
Just after midnight, a Mercedes limo pulled up, pop music blasting. Jeremy Scott emerged, his bestie Katy Perry in tow. Shortly after, Karlie Kloss, holding hands with boyfriend Joshua Kushner, showed up in modified outfit: designer Brandon Maxwell had taken scissors to the bottom of her Met dress (better for the dance-floor moves).
As the rain began to pick up, a few early arriving guests began to call it a night. One driver rolled down his window and convinced a cop to push a plastic divider out of the way so that he could park. He was waiting for Sarah Jessica Parker. When the short-suit clad actress finally emerged, fans descended upon her town car in an effort to get a selfie, an autograph, a whiff of her perfume, anything. One particularly optimistic man, polka dot umbrella in hand, lingered by her car window after the mob had dispersed back to their sidewalk spots. “I love you, Sarah,” he told her through the car window. Sometimes, persistence pays off: he was rewarded with a photo.
Close to 1 a.m., a minidress-wearing Rita Ora popped out of her black car, breezily gracing fans with a “Hi, honey,” purr as she headed into the party. Before her, James Corden proceeded with less confidence, confusedly wandering around in the rain on his phone.
Teenage fans, apparently uninterested in making it to first period on time Tuesday morning, stood diligently in the downpour in soaked hoodies and backpacks, hoping for a glimpse of Halsey. As she exited her car they doused her with, “Yes, Halsey!” and were rewarded, as she came over to chat with them, even joining in on a FaceTime call to Australia.
At 1:20 a.m., much of the hobbyist crowd had thinned out, but the party was just getting started. Wiz Khalifa popped out of a limo SUV, puffing on the joint in his hand.
“Excuse me,” a befuddled neighborhood resident walking his beagle said to reporters. “Is there some sort of party going on here?”