Bright Lights, Big City (Redux)

March 23rd, 2013

Deidre Schoo for The New York Times

Mr. Doyle in one of his haunts, the lounge at the Tribeca Grand Hotel. More Photos »

When Gavin Doyle moved to New York from Miami in 2006, he knew only one person, Abby Hofeldt, a classmate from Miami Country Day who’d come here to study fashion. On Halloween night they presented themselves outside the Beatrice Inn in the West Village, a speakeasy-turned-restaurant-turned-low-key bar with a tough door policy.

The doorman, Angelo Bianchi, gave the two college kids a once-over (Mr. Doyle was dressed as a zebra, Ms. Hofeldt a Greek goddess) and then an approving nod. Down they went into what would soon become one of Manhattan’s coolest and most decadent gathering places; smoking seemed the only vice not permitted out in the open. The couple showed up the next night and the next and five nights a week until “the Bea” was shut down by authorities in 2009.

Last fall, Mr. Doyle returned to the same space on his 26th birthday. It had the same name but was now Graydon Carter’s third restaurant, in a ”soft opening” period. In the back helping him celebrate, Mr. Doyle said, were Sienna Miller, Rob Pattinson and Kristen Stewart, Paris and Nicky Hilton.

“Rob and Kristen basically hosted my dinner and invited like 40 people, intimate, and most of them were Beatrice regulars,” he said.

Wearing a black leather Adidas jacket, black vintage T-shirt, black ripped jeans and Nikes, Mr. Doyle pondered his future the other day over a beer at Cafe Select in SoHo, one of his main hangouts. By sheer persistence, he has become a regular presence on Web sites that exhaustively chronicle the city’s party scene, a part of a glittering social circle and even an occasional tabloid figure, thanks to the antics of Lindsay Lohan, a close associate. He sees himself as a kind of intermediary between various celebrity worlds.

“I’m very good at connecting people,” he said. “That’s my biggest strength.”

At the moment, photographing parties and art openings for Purple magazine is Mr. Doyle’s main gig. “He is fun to hang out with, and so I think people like when he’s taking their picture,” said Caroline Gaimari, Purple’s fashion director and executive editor.

But Mr. Doyle, tired of competing with other shutterbugs at big events for the same old celebrity shots, has greater ambitions. By age 30 he wants to have a million dollars in the bank, own an apartment and run his own company.

“I don’t want to say I’m at a standstill,” he said. “I’m at a point where I have so many opportunities in terms of outlets I can pursue. There’s so much that I want to do and I’ve been told by so many people just to focus on one thing, and I don’t necessarily believe that.”

He gets around. “I was just in Miami, Art Basel, and I was one of the few people invited to this Diane von Furstenberg luncheon,” he said. “I was taking like really intimate photos. I guess there were a few photo agencies there, but you know, I’ve had a history with her team and whatnot so the photos I was getting were more personal.”

Mr. Doyle said he has worked with brands and friends as a “creative consultant” on endeavors like fashion shows or the layout of a new store. “I’ve made a good amount of money working on some of these projects,” he said. “Maybe that’s what I’ll keep doing until I find the thing that I love the most. It’s kind of scary, though.”

At the same time he is afraid of getting stuck, he doesn’t want to make the mistake of not getting stuck. “Yes, I need to be stuck,” he decided.

One possibility is revamping the clothing and accessories line he and Ms. Hofeldt created. Ms. Hofeldt said in a phone interview that members of Nine Inch Nails and Coldplay had worn their sequined sweatshirts at a Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival.

Another: the hospitality industry. “It would amaze you many people in night life have approached me to invest in a bar or promote their bar,” Mr. Doyle said, adding that he would like to work with the hotelier Andr? Balazs in some capacity because he is someone he looks up to. Mr. Doyle named several advertising agencies and social media companies that he said have approached him to consult on content, or to be a “brand ambassador.” The draw is his Web site,, which he describes as “an open-ended view on night life, art, music, and current pop culture through the lens of my camera.”

Recently he posted a striking photo he took of Lady Gaga’s fist clawing the air as she stormed onstage at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

“Eventually I’d like to work in an artistic capacity with her,” he said of the pop star, whom he said he met in 2008 at the nightclub Sway. Mr. Doyle said Lady Gaga has been a big supporter and that last December her team scored him a “perfect” seat at a Rolling Stones concert. His photos include one of her performing with the band, which he tweeted to her. She retweeted it to her 33.5 million followers, which got him 1,500 new followers.

Another striking photo on his Web site is of him sitting with Ms. Lohan in Snoop Dogg’s trailer backstage at Coachella. She is making a hand gesture with her middle finger. “She was mimicking my attitude,” Mr. Doyle said, explaining he did not want to have his photo taken. “It was a good time.”

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