Welcome to the social: iPhone-spotting in New York's nightlife scene

After the iPhone launch, everyone wants to party. But sometimes the crazy Apple phones follow you there.

Spotted in an East Village cocktail den! The iPhone! Caroline McCarthy/CNET Networks

When all the iPhone hype ended on Friday night, many of us bloggers covering the hullabaloo had only one thought in our heads: let's party. I, however, was unable to wrest the dreaded handset from my head, and made a conscious decision to turn the evening into an iPhone-spotting safari. After all, I'd spent the whole week mingling with the geeks, fanboys, and ubernerds in the iPhone waiting line (which ultimately turned out to be futile, as there was a major shortage of shortages) so my objective for the night was to see if I actually saw any "real people" with them.

I thought it'd be easy. On Friday night I had plans to go to an unspeakable little boite in the Meatpacking District, which is the neighborhood just northwest of Greenwich Village that's known for its cobblestone streets, overpriced drinks, and regular Us Weekly nods. Locals typically don't set foot in those places unless 1) it's a private party, or 2) they have a six-degrees-of-separation thing going on with the DJ, and in my case it was #2. And I thought I was more or less guaranteed to see an iPhone in such a "see and be seen" sort of neighborhood. Status symbol, y'know?

But I didn't see any. My plans to surreptitiously snap a photo of a gussied-up Meatpacking clubber flashing an iPhone for all to see, and promptly blog it here on Crave, was shot down. I figured that maybe the real world still hadn't caught on to the phenomenon, and wondered if I, in all my iPhone-coverage frenzy, had been existing inside an Ajax-enhanced "blogobubble" in which gadget launches seemed far more important than they actually were.

But that all changed on Saturday night, when a friend of mine who happens to blog for another gadget-related outlet happened to suggest that we actually leave our computers and socialize on a Saturday night. The iPhone launch had hit us hard; as bloggers, you know, we're always running a serious risk of gradually morphing into mousy little beings who consider our weekly half-hour with our buddy Dwight from Scranton to be human interaction. I was thoroughly out of iPhone mode, especially since we were going to be in the lower-key East Village, but apparently he wasn't, because as we were sipping on lychee-infused beverages at a below-ground sake bar on East 9th Street, my esteemed companion said to me, "The guy next to us? He's got an iPhone. He just had it out."

Naturally, I looked directly to the next table, without actually trying to look like i was staring (but I probably looked totally awkward and obvious). The guy at the next table no longer had his iPhone in hand, but we could see that whipping out the cell phone du jour was likely at his advantage, since he was seated across from not one but two young women. Buddy, if you've got it, flaunt it.

But the story doesn't end there. Afterwards, we headed to the nearby Prohibition-themed ubercocktail lounge known as Death & Co. (go there if you ever liked chemistry class) for a change of scenery. Once again, the people next to us were sporting iPhones--it was a couple, and they both had them. They'd been waiting in line at a midtown AT&T store for them on Friday, and now were getting acquainted with using the devices as part of their everyday life. We struck up a conversation with them, learned about what they thought was cool (the photo application, the maps), and what they thought wasn't cool (AT&T itself). I also realized my complete and utter inability to use the touch-screen keypad. No, really, I'm clumsy; I think there's no getting used to it for me.

I said that I'd been out the previous night, trying to spot iPhones in the flashy Meatpacking District, but hadn't seen a single one. The woman said, "That's because none of us were out last night! We spent the whole time trying to activate them!"

So it goes.

 

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