Remembering China Chalet, Downtown’s Polarizing Party Epicenter

If you went to a China Chalet party any Friday (or Monday) night since 2016, chances are you saw Tyrell Hampton dancing, camera in hand, among a scrum of questionably-of-age models, skaters, artists, and students. “I never missed a party,” says the 21-year-old photographer, who started going in 2016 to the infamous (and now, sadly, closed) Chinese restaurant on Broadway that turned into a nightclub after the last plate of lo mein was cleared from the banquettes. Hampton’s new book of photographs, China Chalet: Memories, doesn’t seek to represent an exhaustive history of the place that served as a port of call for a few generations of downtown party people. (Hampton couldn’t have become a regular much earlier than he did.) Rather, it captures the energy, sexiness, sloppiness, and recklessness of the crew that always flocked to his flashbulb, and serves as a record of a young photographer discovering his eye in a place that’s now gone—though in a scene that abides to this day. Read more at GQ.