Anywhere But Here
Updated: Dec 21, 2021
Brock Colyaring Brock Colyar.
By Lyla Trilling
If you don’t know who Brock Colyar is by now, I pity you. The 23-year-old journalist, who self-describes as “queer, single, and great at making poor decisions,” burst onto the scene this summer with their newsletter, “are u coming?”, which runs weekly for New York Mag’s The Cut. Launched in early June, “are u coming” cataloged the reopening of New York City’s nightlife during what many (one New York Times Style writer) have deemed “the new Summer of Love”—but the newsletter’s quick success extended its shelf life into the colder months. Now, hidden beneath the sweaty, amphetamine-tinged landscape of New York’s club scene, you’re sure to find Brock Colyar—mingling with TikTok influencers, doing poppers with comedians, and recently, hanging out with The Blue and White.
Despite the wry tone of their pieces, Colyar does not actually hate all of the people they’ve gone out with. “Most nightlife journalism is about the glitz and the glam,” they told me. “I just wanted to be honest.” Colyar’s honesty translates into sharp, Gonzo-style reportage that prompts readers to wonder: Who is this person with such searing critiques and complete cultural fluency? As it turns out, Colyar is just like Hunter S. Thompson—if Thompson went to Medill, lived in Greenpoint, and owned a black leather Telfar mini-purse.
After a few weeks of coordination via Instagram DM, then email, then text message, Colyar and I finally arranged a meeting on the night of daylight saving, giving us an extra hour to party together. Before I came, they texted me that we were going to The Jane to warn me that, as a person whose friend group formed, in part, during smoke breaks at Mood Ring, this would not be a normal scene for them. “But that’s where we have the most fun,” Colyar told me. “Being with people we love in an environment that isn't fully our own.” But Colyar, I later learned, has a unique skill for making all environments their own.
Note: All names have been changed.
. . .
10:59 p.m.: I arrive at Colyar’s apartment in Greenpoint. They greet me at the door, looking elegant in a black velvet maxi dress and gold eyeshadow. “The vibes might be kind of crazy,” they tell me, but upon entering the quaint, well-decorated railroad apartment, I find nothing but Colyar’s petite blonde roommate twerking to a Black Eyed Peas song. For this special night, Colyar has assembled their all-star roster of friends, a group that they repeatedly describe as “my favorite people in New York City.” Admittedly, the cohort was pretty great—if not for their wit and charm, then for their excellent haircuts. Colyar warns me that they have a horny, one-eyed cat named Lucas, but he does not grace us with his presence.
11:15 p.m.: “I hope you are okay with lukewarm vodka cranberries,” Colyar tells me, as they pour us drinks. They stop to compliment me on my overgrown manicure, and I warn them not to look too closely. “I won’t look at yours if you don’t look at mine,” they say. But I do—their maroon gels are in perfect condition. Colyar gifts me a tiny bottle of Jack Daniels, which is distilled, they tell me, right outside of their hometown in Tennessee. We do a quick toast before heading out: “To honor—if you can’t come in her, come on her.”
11:29 p.m.: En route to the subway, I ask Colyar about their writing career. “I was always a fabulous gossip,” they tell me. Writing about people was merely second nature. “Is Victoria Paris as crazy as she seems?” I ask. “Yes,” they say. “And you can write that.”
11:45 p.m.: We arrive at The Good Room, a local bar that Colyar’s friend Hans—a writer with the best hair I’ve ever seen—describes as “desperately in need of our patronage.” Tonight is their big charity event, raising money for the revenue they lost during the pandemic. But the cover charge is $20, and none of us have cash. We sigh a collective sigh and leave.
12:10 a.m.: We board the F train and Brock gives me a tattoo tour: an ode to Stevie Nicks, a line-drawn Joan Didion, a tasteful collarbone quote. “Do I like them?” they say. “Yes. Would I get them again if given the chance? Absolutely not.” We spend the rest of the train ride figuring out which character we are in HBO’s Girls. Hans is a Hannah Sun Jessa Rising; Colyar is undecided.
12:25 a.m.: I chat with one of Colyar’s friends, a pretty blonde girl named Olivia, about Miami nightlife. Another friend, a photographer, makes me guess where in New Jersey he’s from (it’s the Jersey Shore). We pass by a man with a giant penis masturbating on a street corner and remark that his member seems very well lubricated. The New Jersey photographer sighs: New York City!
12:42 a.m.: We arrive at The Jane—it just so happens that Pedrose is DJing tonight, and the two are “internet friends.” Colyar warns me that The Jane is not exactly their go-to place—it’s a little too Golden-Goose-sneaker-core. Hans corroborates: “Sometimes you just want to shake your ass to some Drake with the heteros.” And just like that, I'm sold.
12:55 a.m.: We make a beeline for the bar, and Colyar orders us all gin and tonics. “Usually I’d just steal the liquor myself,” Colyar says, motioning to a ninja-like security guard lurking in the corner in a black balaclava. Clearly, it’s a no-funny-business type of night. Over the dulcet tones of ABBA’s “Dancing Queen,” Colyar remarks, “Fuck, I wish we had poppers—we are usually poppers people. You can write that.”
1:16 a.m.: As we descend the elegant wooden staircase that separates the bar level from the dance floor, Hans turns to me. “Everything the strobe light touches is ours.” It’s our Perks of Being a Wallflower tunnel moment, and it's beautiful.
1:45 a.m.: On the dance floor, Hans offers me ketamine over Azealia Banks’ “212.” I look over at Colyar as if to ask: Is it kosher to do drugs on a work outing? “Oh, honey,” says Colyar. “I always get fucked up for these things.”
1:00 a.m. (2:00 a.m.): During a smoke break outside, we realize that daylight saving is upon us. Colyar’s roommate (the twerking one) pulls out an RXBAR in an attempt to restore the energy lost on the dance floor. Alas, the egg white, almond, cashew concoction fails to rehabilitate, and she leaves despite our objections. That, coupled with the fact that Hans’s beige, distressed leather jacket had gone missing, prompts Colyar to call an UberXL to our next location. “The night has just begun,” they say, and we hop in an SUV.
1:22 a.m. (2:22 a.m.): We arrive at The Palace, a newer club with an older crowd and a vibe that can only be described as Gossip Girl Masquerade Ball. Colyar sashays to the entrance and schmoozes with two very plump-lipped girls. Since the birth of “are u coming?” Colyar has become somewhat of a nightlife VIP: Promoters and bouncers are always kissing up to them. “It’s weird,” Colyar tells me, “but it’s fun.”
2:14 a.m. (3:14 a.m.): The DJ, who resembles the lead vocalist from any ’90s pop-punk band, plays his third Drake song in a row. Hans is thrilled and looks down to find Colyar, Olivia, and the New Jersey photographer crouching on the dance floor in close proximity. “I want to be in on the secret!” Hans proclaims, only to realize that the group is not whispering, but engaging in a three-way make out.
2:56 a.m. (3:56 a.m.): We leave The Palace for Acme, a French bistro that moonlights as a nightclub. It’s close, so we walk. Colyar’s friend Dan, New Jersey Photographer’s Brother, regales me with the story of his forceful ejection from Acme. “I think I’m blacklisted,” he shrugs.
3:15 a.m. (4:15 a.m.): We arrive at Acme and, to our surprise, the bouncer immediately turns to Dan. “This guy is cool,” he says. “Welcome back.” He beckons Dan inside. The rest of us filter in soon after and are greeted by a near-empty club, save for a millennial couple dry humping on the dance floor. Colyar is disappointed. “WHERE IS EVERYONE?” they shout and proceed to the DJ booth to request a Stevie Nicks song. Their request is rejected, as is mine, as is Hans’s. The DJ continues playing bad house music despite us being the sole audience members.
3:45 a.m. (4:45 a.m.): The bouncer comes down to inform us that the club is closing. I walk out with Dan, and the dry-hump millennial guy screams, “Bohemian Rhapsody!!” at us. For a moment, I am confused, and then it hits me: Everyone at this club thinks that Dan is Rami Malek, hence the bouncer’s initial geniality.
3:56 a.m. (4:56 a.m.): Outside, I hug Colyar goodbye. I suggest we hang out in a non-nightclub setting and Hans interjects—“After the hit piece comes out.”
11:00 a.m. (12:00 p.m.): I receive a text from Colyar: “Are you alive? Did we scare you?” along with a photo of the horny cat Lucas. As it turns out, he does indeed exist.