The surreal irony of the neighborhood's transformation
has not been lost on Florent Morellet, whose 15-year-old restaurant,
Florent, on Gansevoort Street still reels in an A-list crowd. "It looks
like this is going to become the next SoHo," says Morellet, gazing across
the street at the Gansevoort Gallery, which specializes in furniture
from 20th-century masters such as Charles and Ray Eames. "I'm not really
thrilled about the idea, but I guess it will be good for business."
Florent, which is open 24 hours on weekends, attracts fashion folk like
Von Furstenberg, Calvin Klein, Marc jacobs and Nan Goldin, club kids,
local architects, photographers and butchers. "Last weekend, every other
table was a family or a table of S&M leather queens with pierced nipples
and studded-leather outfits," Morellet says. "It's a really good example
of the mix of the restaurant."