More Proof that New York Is Getting Soft

Our good friends at the New York Post are reporting this morning that Limelight, the once-infamous nightclub, will be resurrected as a mini-mall:

December 19, 2006 — The former Episcopal church that once housed the sacrilegious Limelight nightclub will be born again – as a retail mini-mall.


Now known as the Avalon nightclub, the legendary 12,000-square-foot venue on Sixth Avenue at West 20th Street will shutter its doors in early 2007.

"The landlord has decided that he doesn't want to go forward with another nightclub," said broker Frank Terzulli, of Winnick Realty Group.

"He's going to cut it up for retail tenants and a restaurant with patio seating."

Terzulli added, "The area is becoming more upscale with high-priced condos and stores, and that will make it more difficult to get permits from the community board" for a nightclub…

Sources say international discount-clothing retailer H&M is the likely main tenant for the space, which features triple-height ceilings and mezzanine levels.

A representative for Winnick would not confirm any specific names, since no leases have yet been signed.

Limelight, founded in the deconsecrated church in 1983, hosted some of clubland's wildest parties in the '80s and early '90s under now-deported club king Peter Gatien (above).

In 1996, federal agents charged that Limelight was a "drug supermarket" and shut it down.

Gatien was acquitted of racketeering and drug charges but convicted of tax evasion. He spent time in jail and was eventually deported to his native Canada.

That same year, one of the club's flamboyant promoters, Michael Alig, pleaded guilty to manslaughter for killing Angel Melendez, a club regular and reputed drug dealer over a money dispute. He's still in jail.

Limelight reopened under new management but was shuttered again in 2002.

It came back to life in November of that year as the short-lived Estate. Avalon followed a few months later.

My only memory of the place is seeing Mogwai play there last year, but I'm sure other Mata-folks would be happy to share anything they might possibly remember (as long as the statute of limitations are up).

6 thoughts on “More Proof that New York Is Getting Soft”

  1. my fave Slimelight memories :

    1) Yo La Tengo with Clint Conley on bass
    2) the fantastic “21 Jump Street” episode with the foppish, drug dealing club owner very obviously based on Peter Gatien (played with aplomb by Dectective/Scum Of The Earth frontman Michael Des Barre)
    3) Michael Alig claiming his follow inmates on Rikers Island were kinda foxy

  2. i saw prong and clutch there back around ’94, though that hardly qualifies as not soft.

    i always thought of limelight–gay nights aside–as a B&T shithole and precursor to the meatpackagization of lower manhattan. the sad thing is that i’m not even surprised that it’s slated to become a bonafide mall now. softah than evah.

  3. actually, the last time I was in Vegas I had some really amazing bagels and lox, but it was nowhere near the Strip.

  4. rough trade had a new music seminar showcase at gonzalez y gonzalez circa ’89. scrawl headlined. i think the original venue fell through (i’ve sure never heard of another good show there).

  5. there were a handful of non-sucky shows at Gonzalez y Gonzalez. I’m pretty sure I saw the Schramms play there once.

    there’s a whole bizarro rock venue history happening on lower Broadway between Bond and Broadway. Tommy Keene once played some basement joint on Bond & Broadway right below what I believe is now a North Fork bank. Bullet La Volta played some goofy place with a faux surf theme that is the current residence of the Best Buy directly opposite Matador.

    admittedly, none of the above are exactly Dylan or Phil Ochs at Folk City (or even Husker Du at Folk City) but rock history’s whatever you make of it.

Comments are closed.