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Scene Last Night: DJ Cassidy, Russell Simmons, Doug E. Fresh

DJ Cassidy's 30th Birthday Party
DJ Cassidy and DJ Mel DeBarge. Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

July 7 (Bloomberg) -- In a bright yellow suit and matching bow tie, DJ Cassidy took a bite of his five-foot-tall 30th-birthday cake in the shape of a bottle of Hennessy Black and gave some instructions to the guests on the dance floor.

“I’ll need a little path, so just let me by,” Cassidy said last night from the stage in the cavernous -- and slightly too warm -- Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum.

A minute later, the sweaty sea of guests -- including singer-songwriter Shontelle, who co-wrote Rihanna’s hit “Man Down” -- parted obediently, and Cassidy, surrounded by bodyguards and photographers, made his way to join Russell Simmons, Grandmaster Flash and Tyson Beckford on the VIP white couches.

This is where he watched a reunited New Edition complete with Bobby Brown bounce all over the stage with such finesse it was hard to believe the band’s glory days were in the 1980s.

DJ Cassidy, born in 1981, just two years before New Edition released “Candy Girl,” got his first turntables as a gift from his mother on his 10th birthday. He’s deejayed for President Barack Obama at one of his inaugural balls, Kanye West, Jay-Z and Oprah Winfrey, at a party to celebrate the opening of her Leadership Academy for Girls.

‘The Love Boat’

Last night, flanked by models wearing short shorts and captain’s hats (think Gavin MacLeod on “The Love Boat”), he announced he was feeling “bittersweet” as he’d decided his 30th-birthday party would be his last. Apparently it cannot be topped.

He made the most of the night, directing Doug E. Fresh to add some reggae to his beatboxing and welcoming Swizz Beatz and Q-Tip to the stage.

Around the Intrepid, waiters passed grilled cheese sandwiches and miniature chocolate ice cream cones. The drinks, from the party’s sponsor, Hennessy, included shots, cocktails and Hennessy Black poured over shaved ice.

From the turntables came impressive samples of 1980s tunes, from Men at Work’s “Down Under” to Joan Jett’s “I Love Rock N’ Roll.” Michael Jackson -- alone and with the Jackson 5 -- and hip-hop classics dominated.

“We’re going to play everything because DJ Cassidy plays everything,” Doug E. Fresh said. “This is a real birthday party. How many people came to celebrate the birthday and not network?”

(Amanda Gordon is a writer and photographer for Muse, the arts and leisure section of Bloomberg News. Any opinions expressed are her own.)

To contact the writer on this story: Amanda Gordon in New York at or on Twitter at @amandagordon.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Manuela Hoelterhoff at

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