10:35 pm: The line outside the 40/40 Club wraps around Broadway, to the other side of the XXL magazine offices, down to 24th street. There are about 500 people visible from the corner of 25th street, hoping to get in.
10:36 pm: The entire 25th street between Broadway and 6th Avenue is shut down. Police “Do Not Cross” barricades are up and there is a red carpet under a canopy that houses about 100 photographers and reporters.
10:37 pm: Security, led by a short, stocky female with cornrows in her hair, is tight. They are yelling for people to get off the sidewalk and street corners and get on line. But, who wants to do that? It’s freezing!
10:40 pm: Shawn “Pecas” Costner, the VP of Island Def Jam, gets us in by walking us down the red carpet with Hot 97 radio personality Angie Martinez, who stops to get her picture taken by photographers and bypasses reporters vying for her attention.
10:41 pm: As soon as you walk in through the set of wooden doors closest to Broadway, coat-check is to your left. But, we skip it, still feeling cold from the winter weather.
10:42 pm: We walk in the venue, which seems smaller than before at first glance, assuming that’s because of the crowd that’s already inside. We don’t think most of the folks on line outside will make it. It’s almost at capacity in here already.
10:43 pm: Leave my coat with DJ S&S, who is on the 1s and 2s. I don’t realize what a good idea this is until it’s time to go.
10:45 pm: The crowd is extra excited to be here. In a matter of seconds, I get water spilled on my head by a partygoer leaning on the railing on the second floor; someone else drops a camera on my shoulders from above and a camera man trying to get a photo of Jay-Z, who is just walking in with security and publicist en tow, knocks me on the head with his giant device.
10:46 pm: Speaking of, Jay-Z has arrived, sans Bey. He walks through the club, rocking a gray suit, greeting his friends and taking photos.
10:53 pm: Spot Warren Buffett. Wow. Jay-Z got one of the richest men in the world to come out and party. Amazing. Put the diamond up one time!
10:58 pm: Angie Martinez comes and says hello.
11:00 pm: Just got a chance to check out the venue for the first time since arriving. The 40/40 has grown up! The main floor bar is bigger and more centered, demanding attention as Ace of Spades form a sort of pyramid in the middle of it and spot lights light up the bar from within. The hanging swings/chairs that took up a lot of the first floor are now gone (good ridden!) Instead, the space is taken up by four VIP sections that ascend from the bottom floor up like wide stairs. Beige couches and white lacquered tables with silver legs are in each of the sections. It appears the bathrooms are now underneath the VIP areas on the first floor, according to Ty-Ty, Jay-Z’s right-hand man, instead of being on the second floor like before.
11:15 pm: Just realized the place isn’t that conducive to dancing, although, people are definitely getting their two-step on.
11:31 pm: We’re on the second floor. There’s another bar up here, like before, and bar stools and tables throughout. There are two separate indented areas in the walls with couches and tables. Assuming these are additional VIP areas. Oh, there are a bunch of these indented areas with couches and dining tables on the first floor, too.
11:32 pm: Jay-Z sits in one of these areas and immediately a crowd surrounds him. It appears he is watching the basketball game as a waitress walks over a tray of about 15 shot glasses in his direction.
11:40 pm: NBA player Mike Bibby doesn’t seemed phased by his latest Knicks loss. He is having a good ‘ole time.
11:41 pm: We don’t walk to the back, where the VIP rooms are still at, but we ask if there’s another bathroom back there and a young lady tells us there isn’t. But going back to the first floor means not getting back upstairs, so, we opt to chill out instead.
11:44 pm: “Wale is here,” someone says. And then we spot the dreaded rapper, walking near DJ Khaled, the latter whose beard is furrier than usual these days.
12:01 am: Jay-Z is still at the VIP section, this time with Ebro Darden, PD of Hot 97, and 40/40 partner Juan Perez. The crowd around him has grown and the area is getting hotter by the minute. I’m sweating bullets.
12:02 am: Bey’s song “Love on Top” is playing and all the girls are doing their best B dance.
12:03 am: S&S mixes B’s “Countdown” in. She may not be here in person, but she’s here through music!
12:04 am: Recent XXL “Plus 1″ subject Young Sav is here.
12:10 am: We find two empty bar stools and sit. Ashanti walks by and gives a friendly hello. Her mother is somewhere around, too.
12:15 am: We spot Beyonce’s cousin Angie. She’s a celebrity in her own right.
12: 20 am: A waiter brings us a second round of drinks (Stoli Vanilla and coke and a Grey Goose and Club soda).
12:30 am: We try to get hors d’oeuvres with no success. The vultures are out! Just kidding.
12:35 am: We see Juan. He thanks us for coming out.
12:45 am: We get our coats from S&S and head home, bypassing the extended line at coat check. Star-studded night, indeed.