When you think of Washington Heights and Inwood, you think of the Dominican people, food, and all the places where you can dance merengue, salsa, and bachata late night.
To many, the neighborhood has a ﬁxed identity. But in 2011, many have tried to display the diversity of the people living within this under the radar community. Venues like Apt. 78 brought legendary Hip-Hop DJ’s like Pete Rock, Tony Touch, and Kid Capri to the neighborhood for the ﬁrst time ever. And now, to end the year, a phenomenon known all to well to “downtownies” is touching down on one of Inwood’s newest lounges tonight, NegroClaro.
If you haven’t noticed from those black and white ﬂyers posted on your car, lamppost, or even bus station stops, a collective of House music enthusiasts called 55 are bringing an event titled Deep in the Heights to the neighborhood. Maury Matos, who works as a Marketing Manager through the day, came up with the 55 idea with a group of friends who loved the diversity that House music has from techno to Afro-Latin funk.
“55 started because we live in apartment 55 in our building,” said Matos. “It was a place where all my friends came together to talk and chill out and one day we just decided to start throwing parties.”
The parties, which were rocked by DJ E and DJ LES/537, brought together many house music fans from across the city in a chill environment where nothing was expected from them but to just have fun.
“We want to bring together like minded people who love the music and introduce new people to it because it’s a genre with such rich musical history,” said Matos.
Despite his love for the genre which he came to know two years ago, Matos says that he won’t be one of the professional dancers at the event tonight. “I can’t move like a lot of the great dancers coming up tonight. I have a mean two-step though,” said Matos with a laugh.
The event will feature 2 house DJ’s, artwork for sale, live painting, and a crew of dance schools and house crews getting it on in the middle of the ﬂoor.
The idea of a house party in Washington Heights and Inwood is one that sounds foreign to many, but NegroClaro lounge was looking for something fresh and new, and Maury felt this may be it. “I was originally tipped off by my friend Sasha Inoa who is good friends with the owners there,” said Matos. “Once she told me they were looking for a new event that brought in a different crowd I looked at it as my opportunity.”
The event begins at 11pm and lasts to 4am tonight. There is a $10 cover charge before 1AM. It will continue as an event on the 3rd Thursday of every month starting in January 2012.
All images from 55’s Twitter.