The New Copa… Was it Worth the Wait?
January 30, 2003
After much anticipation the "New Copa" has opened. And yes, folks, it was well worth the wait.
For those who remember the old Copa located on West 59th Street it was known as an up-scale nightclub dedicated to the best in Latin music, live and pre-recorded. The Copa advertised that the new location would have twice the dance floor space - they delivered! They let us know that the class and atmosphere would remain - it has! They promised us that the Tuesday night after-work buffet would continue - and they delivered, 3 for 3!
The New location of the Copacabana (www.copacabanany.com) is 34th Street and 11th Avenue. For those who drive it is right off of the West Side Highway. For those of us confined to public transportation every train line stops on 34th Street and cross-town bus stops one block away.
Photo by Roberta Zlokower
More Copa pictures!
The two-dance-floor format has remained the same, but the dance floors are twice as large as the old Copa's! The main dance floor, dedicated to Latin music, is perfect for the serious dancer, those of us who bring our suede and/or leather bottomed dance shoes to most dance events. I would consider the floor a medium speed, not too fast, meaning you will not slip while performing your favorite dance moves. Moreover, not too slow as to make spinning difficult.
On the lower level, you can hear a variety of Hip Hop, Reggae, House, Freestyle, etc. Most do not go to the Copacabana to hear "American" music; however, I find the down stairs dance floor a nice break from the more serious dancing on the main floor. On the few occasions that I have ventured downstairs I've noticed that the DJ's really have a good idea of how to move the crowd. Going from Hip Hop to Reggae and into other genres of music is not an easy task. Blending the music seamlessly, taking the listeners and dancers on an aural journey seems to be a skill that the Copa's DJ's have mastered.
Other great features of the new Copa include 2 coat checks, water fountains on both floors, 2 sets of bathrooms (2 men's & 2 women's) and, numerous flat panel televisions sets, not to mention the entire club is wheelchair accessible. Moreover, the hallways are the widest that I have ever seen in any club! For those who do not like bumping into others while roaming around this is the location for you. To get a bit more particular on minor conveniences let me turn your attention to the restrooms.
Personally, I find most nightclubs do not place enough attention on their restrooms. The most many will do is place an attendant in the crammed restroom to sell you breath mints and hand you paper towels. Personally, I feel capable of carrying my own breath mints. And the physical rigor that comes with reaching for a towel is well within my capabilities. Fortunately, the Copa caters to people like me. The one word that comes to mind when thinking about the layout of the men's room is "spacious." Not the "vastness" that can be found in amusement park bathrooms, nor the rows of urinals and stalls that you will find in any major league baseball park. The comfort of the restroom comes from the design. The layout does not have men standing on top of one another while at the urinal. The designers obviously catered to the homophobic nature of most men in this country and gave us more space. Sorry ladies, one rather well dressed bouncer was standing near the women's room which prevented me from peeping into their domain. Now, I do not want to give the readers an impression that I have some sort of bathroom fetish. My goal is give you an idea of how much attention to detail has been paid when creating this miraculous establishment.
Another example of consideration on behalf of the Copa can be found by the inclusion of the water fountains. Most serious dancers do not drink alcohol when they go out to dance, which usually forces us to pay very high prices for generic bottled water. Or, we can try to sweet talk the bartenders into giving us a class of tap water for free. Not the Copa. They have taken the liberty of forgoing the extra profit the club could be making on us to ensure our comfort and hydration. Yet, another example of how attention to detail results in happy customers.
Now the icing on the cake can be found in the confidence of the ladies who attend the Copa. While there I had the fortunate pleasure of having a few women ask me to dance.
For the best "bang for your buck" I suggest the Copa on a Tuesday evening. The doors open at 6pm, however, most dancing does not take place until 8pm, when the buffet ends. Here's what you do - bring your dance shoes to work on Tuesday, and head straight to the Copa afterwards. Feast on the buffet (vegetarians they cater to you as well), let the food digest and then begin your evening of Salsa dancing. You could easily get in 2 hard core hours of dancing and leave the Copa by 10pm, home by 11pm and up in time to head to work the next day. And what would you expect to pay for such a luxurious evening of dining and dancing $25 - NO, $15 - not even close, $10 - nope! $5! With coat check you're still well under $10. It is truly one of the best deals in NYC.