October 1999

The Downtowners

   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."