The opening party for restaurateur David Burke‘s new Times Square nightspot, Hawaiian Tropic Zone, had a lot going for it: bikini-clad models, a block-long artificial beach complete with sand and palm trees, a name-brand DJ (Skye Nellor), and the usual promise of B-list boldfacers (swimsuit model Petra Nemcova, New York Giants Amani Toomer and Michael Strahan, candy merchant Dylan Lauren).
What it didn’t have was the necessary permits. Halfway through Thursday night’s festivities, which one event-planning specialist estimates must have cost a minimum mid-six figures, New York City fire marshals shut the party down and kicked everyone out. A spokeswoman for Hawaiian Tropic Zone said the premature evacuation happened at 10 p.m., but foodie blog Eater.com claims it was over by 9:30.
Good news is that Toomer and Strahan were unaffected, having failed to show up as promised. Nemcova, hired as the evening’s official host, was on hand, though perhaps the event planners should have considered beforehand what kind of omen her presence portended. The Sports Illustrated swimsuit-issue hottie is famous for something that took place on another tropical beach: She and her then-boyfriend, Simon Atlee, were in Thailand during the December 2004 tsunami. Nemcova survived with grave injuries, while Atlee was killed. That grim subtext didn’t affect the mood of Thursday’s revelers, however, says the spokeswoman: “Everyone was having a really good time.” That is, until, you know.