"This is the toughest atmosphere for nightclubs in New York since Prohibition"
August 4, 2001 11:35 PM   Subscribe

it's seemed to me, for a while now, that ny is going down the tubes as a nightclub spot. a month or so ago, i received an issue of urb magazine which detailed some of the problems that club owners, specifically in new york, have been having. what can i say? the underlying problem is one, as the article mentions, of gentrification pushing out the undesirables.
posted by moz at 12:33 AM on August 5, 2001

i think this is may be a good thing in that more clubs will go "underground" and it will eventually bring a revitalization to the club scene in NYC.
posted by suprfli at 1:01 AM on August 5, 2001

What suprfli said.
Generally, the harder it is to have a good time, the harder people work at it.
Usually pans out for the best.
posted by dong_resin at 2:14 AM on August 5, 2001

I remember going to CBGB in the late 70s and feeling reassured that it would be years before anyone thought of gentrifying that area. ;] Interesting how music gets linked up with "undesirables" and dangerous areas. What reason to live in a city without that "danger"?
posted by aflakete at 2:50 AM on August 5, 2001

There is nothing worse, nothing, than living near a nightclub in NYC, or having a nightclub on the way home between you and the subway stop or where you were having a late dinner.

Noise and filth at all hours of the night; for those of you not in the NYC nightlife scene. Limos and cabs idling and spewing exhaust, throngs of Jersey's most boistrous losers shouting at each other and the doorman while on line, etc.

The great thing about NY is not nightclubs, which are enjoyed / enjoyable by maybe 1% of the populace, but the fact that couples and families with responsibilities, children, etc., can and do live throughout the city -- very much unlike most other big cities, where the core urban area is residentially unacceptable to all but the dirt poor and the terminally hip.

Clubs belong where people who actually need to go to jobs in the morning don't live, period. If that means some warehouse district in the Bronx, so be it.
posted by MattD at 5:53 AM on August 5, 2001

There are lots of reasons to live in a city. Ask almost anyone who knew anything during the last few thousand years.

Nightclubs should be zoned for the financial districts and other areas that otherwise shut down after business hours. Put those creepy glass canyons to use at night.
posted by pracowity at 6:09 AM on August 5, 2001

The Village Voice has been following this trend for some time:

Rave Robbers. The club Twilo was shut down May 24, leading the probable closure of the Limelight and the Tunnel, both owned by a man facing legal action for unpayment of taxes and other accusations. The city and Feds are going after Peter Gatien the way they went after Capone: If you can't get him on the big ticket items, just get him, no expense spared.

Hip-Hop Under Heavy Manners: The Police's Sunday Night Tunnel Vision.. The famous trend-making Sunday night hip-hop spin-and-mix at the Tunnel is heavily policed, with a platoon of police, road blocks and car searching, frisking and bag checks at the door, and a vibe of silent accusation so heavy, you almost feel like a criminal just walking in the door. "There seems to be this concerted effort in the media and among the police to target hip-hop as a menace to society. No matter what the press says, hip-hop is less violent now than it was in the past. That's because today, the hip-hop DJs' following is made up of individual consumers, not gangs and crews. It's just, to the general public, there seems to be more violence—because hip-hop is so big now, every time a rapper gets into trouble, it's front page news."

Search the Voice's archives for more.
posted by Mo Nickels at 6:29 AM on August 5, 2001

Here in Richmond, VA, we have an awful situation with our nightclubs. Allegations of fostering drug use directed towards club owners aren't handled as criminal cases, mostly because there isn't enough evidence. How do they shut down clubs in our town? The ABC (alcohol bureau) revokes their liqour license under powers that require much less in the way of evidence than a criminal trial. We've already had a situation where a club was shut down, not because police on any jurisdictional level made an arrest, or because the ABC board revoked their license, but because the landlord said that he had a clause to evict "if offensive or unlawful behavior occurred at the club." All that without any criminal charges. If club owners aren't selling or fostering drug use, then enforcement needs to be directed at the individual patron level. Why is drug-war frenzy always misplaced?
posted by machaus at 7:40 AM on August 5, 2001

Because there's money in it.
You don't have to be accurate, just tenacious to get funded.
posted by dong_resin at 9:52 AM on August 5, 2001

heh. and i was just about to ask if the LimeLight was still around.

god i miss that place.

so it's under threat of closure, *again*. go fig.

thanks for the info Nickels.
posted by jcterminal at 9:56 AM on August 5, 2001

When I lived there we always used to laugh at the tourists. "The Limelight!" Yeah, the most generous distributor of "free admission" cards in the city ....

I did get to see the band one of my bosses (a female ad exec) was in play there, though. The funniest part of that was that the clients (Noxell) were in town, and seeing this fully-suited, balding product manager checking out the ladies and getting down ... well, it was memorable.

Chicago has a similar problem with bars. Under a 1990s ordinance, individual aldermanic precincts can vote themselves dry -- effectively banning any new bars from opening, and making it extremely difficult for grandfathered bars to remain in business after changing ownership. (There was actually a successful challenge to the original ordinance, and they do it differently now. But the net effect is the same.) In one ironic case, a Hyde Park (U of Chicago) institution, Jimmy's, wasn't going to be able to get a new liquor license. They slipped through the moratorium, but they were too close to a church parking lot (of course, nothing had moved, both bar and church had been there for years). The neighborhood overwhelmingly supported the reopening, even the church agreed to deed the parking lot over to the parish school, and after enormous legal hurdles they managed to reopen.
posted by dhartung at 11:14 AM on August 5, 2001

standard practice in Seattle
posted by roboto at 3:57 PM on August 5, 2001

And in San Francisco.
posted by muta at 7:02 PM on August 5, 2001

Chicago has a similar problem with bars. Under a 1990s ordinance . . .

Weird laws concerning bars in Chicago are the stuff of legend. During the Seventies, one of the "independent" aldermen was having a benefit at a bar on the second floor of a building on Belmont -- I think it might have been the "Quiet Knight". Now, hosting a benefit for independent aldermen certainly wasn't the proper role of a drinking establishment at least according to Daley Sr. and Co. The next day they had a group of Chicago's Finest close down the place saying that not being able to see the bar from the street was against the law.
posted by leo at 8:15 PM on August 5, 2001

« Older The Reverend Catherine Sims,   |   The FDA burns books on herbal sweetner. Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments