On this week’s show we will explore New York City’s legendary nightclubs! New York is the city that never sleeps, and we will visit some of the famous spots that tripped the light fantastic on the City’s sidewalks.
My solo guest will be Rediscovering New York regular and the show’s Special Consultant, David Griffin of Landmark Branding.
Tune in for this fascinating conversation at TalkRadio.nyc or watch the Facebook Livestream by clicking here.
The show initially begins by Jeff summarizing all of the previous episodes. There have been a wide variety of guests and occupations. Tonight's show will feature the topic of nightclubs. The solo guest for tonight is David Griffin of Landmark Branding who has been on previous shows. He grew up mostly in Long Island but has spent time in the Hudson area. He knows The City very well. He got started due to his interest in the past that his siblings also shared. They would constantly go out to explore and examine. Nightclubs are directly tied to New York City and its culture. The city served as one of the largest urban hubs in North America. African American music was very popular in this area. Performers and entertainers were drawn to this city due to its large population and diversity. People also loved the architecture of New York City. It is very unique. The bright lights and lifestyle of the city match the nightlife perfectly. The Cotton Club is an older club in New York where several great entertainers performed. During the enforcement of Jim Crow laws, black people were not allowed to enter the club as guests which was ironic because they were profiting off black performers. Eventually, the law was lifted.
The Cotton Club helped break down barriers in the entertainment industry. The next club being discussed was opened in 1929. It was titled Stork Club and founded by Sherman Billingsley. The decor was described as elegant but not particularly eye-catching, Some of the famous guests were the Rooselvelt family and Evelyn Walsh Mclean. Later, many of the guests stopped visiting because of the protesting that took place. Billingsley was very hard headed when it came to the union. Soon after many of the prestigious guests no longer want to be associated with it. The Copacabana was opened up in 1940 and based off of Brazilian music and decor. It was also a segregated club like the Cotton Club. Sammy Davis Junior and The Supremes were two of the famous acts who performed there. In the 1950’s some of the Yankees went to the club and some racist was hurling slurs at one of the performers which led to the team getting into a brawl with the man. There were some lawsuits after the fact.
At Landmark Branding, David offers branding and marketing support for real estate, architecture and design professionals. He is currently pitching a book idea and is an active blogger. Also, he is the special consultant of the show. Next, the Peppermint Lounge was discussed. It was disco heavy that featured the technology to play records. The dance called the twist was born here. The club was geared towards a younger crowd. Also, many people of the gay community were drwan to it. Eventually, many celebrities started visiting to learn the dance. The Beatles visited while making their first trip to the United States. The Beach Boys were one of the famous bands who performed there. Cafe Society was up next. It was a fully integrated club from the start and treated everyone equally as long as you were dressed well and there to listen to the music. The place features some of the greatest African American musicians. Some of the music being played there was political. For example, Billie Holiday first sang Strange Fruit at this location. El Moraco was then talked about. It was originally a speakeasy which became extremely popular after prohibition. The place was very popular because they had a house photographer who would take people’s photos.
Studio 54 is another popular club.The club featured a lot of unique lighting. It had a cinematic quality to it. For the first time, the crowd could be lit up brightly. There was no color barrier at the club but there was a “cool” barrier. If you were not cool enough you did not get in. The owner only wanted people who were good enough on his dance floor. The Limelight opened in 1983. It is known as a post disco club. During this time period, the style is moving more towards punk and rock. It really earned the media’s attention in the 90’s after a scandal took place.
00:00:31.320 --> 00:00:32.370 Jeff Goodman: Hello everyone.
00:00:33.420 --> 00:00:40.320 Jeff Goodman: Welcome to our listeners in the big apple from across the US around the world i'm Jeff Goodman and you've tuned into rediscovering New York.
00:00:41.130 --> 00:00:46.170 Jeff Goodman: professionally i'm a real estate broker with brown hair Stevens, but our show is not about real estate.
00:00:46.920 --> 00:00:53.160 Jeff Goodman: rediscovering New York as a weekly show celebrating New York celebrating its history, its texture and its vibe.
00:00:53.850 --> 00:01:02.970 Jeff Goodman: And we do it through interviews with historians local business owners nonprofit organizations preservationists musicians and artists and the occasional elected official.
00:01:03.930 --> 00:01:11.940 Jeff Goodman: On some shows we bring an individual New York neighborhood to life we explore its history and its current energy what makes that particular New York neighborhood special.
00:01:12.810 --> 00:01:19.350 Jeff Goodman: On sometimes like tonight's we celebrate an interesting and vital color of the city and its history that's not focused on one particular neighborhood.
00:01:20.220 --> 00:01:29.490 Jeff Goodman: Prior episodes you've heard us covered topics as illuminating and interesting as American presidents who came from lived in will who had some interesting relationship with New York.
00:01:30.150 --> 00:01:36.000 Jeff Goodman: we've looked at the history of women activists and the women's suffrage movement we've looked at the history of different immigrant communities.
00:01:36.300 --> 00:01:44.610 Jeff Goodman: we've looked at the history of the city's LGBT community and the gay rights movement we've explored bicycles in their history we've looked at punk and opera.
00:01:45.150 --> 00:01:48.930 Jeff Goodman: And our library systems, we visited the subway we've talked about public art.
00:01:49.530 --> 00:01:56.100 Jeff Goodman: we've also talked about our greatest train stations, one of which is here, one of which is no longer here, and even some of our bridges.
00:01:56.670 --> 00:02:05.820 Jeff Goodman: After the broadcast you can hear each of these shows on podcasts were on apple spotify Amazon podcast stitcher Google podcasts and other services.
00:02:06.450 --> 00:02:14.580 Jeff Goodman: Tonight we're doing one of those special shows and spring is in the air, and people are out and beginning to celebrate more with restrictions.
00:02:15.390 --> 00:02:29.370 Jeff Goodman: Of the pandemic being lifted and no longer is necessary, maybe we'll even be able to say post pandemic and the not too distant future, so tonight we're going to be focusing on entertainment and specifically nightclubs one of my favorite topics.
00:02:30.720 --> 00:02:38.550 Jeff Goodman: are only guest tonight because it's such a long topic we're going to devote the whole show to it is no stranger to rediscovering New York he's my friend, David Griffin.
00:02:39.540 --> 00:02:45.750 Jeff Goodman: David is a lifelong architectural enthusiasts, and he provides great sales enhancing services for the national real estate community.
00:02:46.380 --> 00:02:50.340 Jeff Goodman: david's the founder and CEO of an amazing company called landmark branding.
00:02:51.030 --> 00:02:58.890 Jeff Goodman: His clients include architects and design firms in addition to developers brokers and marketing companies, yes, he has other real estate brokers who are his clients, as well as me.
00:02:59.640 --> 00:03:05.220 Jeff Goodman: David has a series called room at the top it co hosted with Jennifer wallace of nascent aren't New York.
00:03:05.730 --> 00:03:10.500 Jeff Goodman: it's the only ongoing networking series and real estate to future tours of manhattan's greatest buildings.
00:03:11.280 --> 00:03:15.900 Jeff Goodman: David writes a tremendous amount his latest blog is called every building on fifth.
00:03:16.350 --> 00:03:24.810 Jeff Goodman: It documents every single building on fifth avenue from Washington square right up to where fifth avenue ends at the Harlem river in Harlem that's at the Harlem armory, by the way.
00:03:25.590 --> 00:03:31.650 Jeff Goodman: Dave is writing has appeared in real estate weekly metropolis dwell and the national trusts preservation magazine.
00:03:32.130 --> 00:03:40.410 Jeff Goodman: David I always keep saying a hearty welcome back to rediscovering New York, but it especially hearty welcome back to rediscovering New York, now that we have you for a whole hour welcome back.
00:03:40.620 --> 00:03:41.700 David V. Griffin: Thanks a lot Jeff.
00:03:42.930 --> 00:03:51.570 Jeff Goodman: Well, for the last couple of shows that we've been on we've actually been interviewing other people, and we haven't asked you about your background, but since some of our listeners.
00:03:52.680 --> 00:04:01.590 Jeff Goodman: are new and they don't know your background let's talk about your background for a bit you're from the metropolitan area, but not the city itself, at least on originally.
00:04:01.950 --> 00:04:17.370 David V. Griffin: know I grew up most of my childhood is on long island and then, when I was in my early teens we moved up to the Hudson river Valley, I have lived in New York City post college so i've always been in New York City area residents and yeah I know the city.
00:04:18.420 --> 00:04:23.880 David V. Griffin: Very well, it's been my my stomping ground throughout my five decades as or.
00:04:25.650 --> 00:04:33.210 Jeff Goodman: How did you get interested in what you typically write about which is architectural history and in New York history in particular.
00:04:33.930 --> 00:04:40.530 David V. Griffin: Well, my mother is an artist and social sort of school this all and how to kind of just visually observe our surroundings.
00:04:40.860 --> 00:04:47.430 David V. Griffin: I remember, she was to make little die around this for us kids when they would go and visit a new place like we go up to Montreal, and my grandparents.
00:04:47.670 --> 00:05:01.170 David V. Griffin: So she'd build a sort of a scale model of the place and let us sort of explore it at that level, and then we were my siblings and I were the first children to be hired by the State of New York for a Park, we were.
00:05:02.190 --> 00:05:11.910 David V. Griffin: costume dose and said old bethpage village restoration out on long island and just sort of having a chance to go out there and where the the clothing of the 1850s.
00:05:12.270 --> 00:05:19.830 David V. Griffin: And sort of stay in and play in the old houses and buildings out there it's kind of piqued my interest is to you know.
00:05:20.490 --> 00:05:30.240 David V. Griffin: How American history had developed and how buildings work right way to kind of read that stream so that just sort of lead overall into an interest in architecture as a field.
00:05:30.930 --> 00:05:36.900 Jeff Goodman: And it went beyond architecture, because you also mentioned that you use to demonstrate original toys from from the age.
00:05:36.960 --> 00:05:45.030 David V. Griffin: Yes, my siblings and I would go out and play with things like wouldn't tops and ride a velocity of speed and other things of that nature.
00:05:45.960 --> 00:05:57.360 David V. Griffin: It was actually a lot of fun, it was more fun than you think kids could have in modern times with antique toys things of that nature, but we were all sort of interested in the past, I think hmm.
00:05:58.620 --> 00:06:09.930 Jeff Goodman: Well, speaking of the past, maybe a little bit of the present New York has an amazing story past, and one thing that that takes us from the past into the present, although not in the last 12 months, but now, maybe again.
00:06:10.530 --> 00:06:17.520 Jeff Goodman: or nightclubs and the genre of nightclubs yeah as much as they have been, and will again be a mainstay of New York.
00:06:18.570 --> 00:06:31.530 Jeff Goodman: David the subjects, a little bit different from the typical talks that you give and the things that you write about what was it that had you branch out into studying nightclubs in their history, why nightclubs what's there what's their interest for you.
00:06:32.130 --> 00:06:39.630 David V. Griffin: Well, I think anybody who's spent down their younger years in New York City has an interest in nightclubs because that's where you go out and.
00:06:39.990 --> 00:06:50.310 David V. Griffin: meet people, whether it's your friends or people that you want to meet new I certainly did a certain amount of clubbing in my post college years in New York and really enjoyed it.
00:06:50.880 --> 00:06:59.220 David V. Griffin: and not for quite a quite a long time I haven't and I don't know that I would do it again if the opportunity presented itself, but I think it's part and parcel of.
00:07:00.510 --> 00:07:08.760 David V. Griffin: A certain kind of social rite of passage in New York City that you know you go out that's where the music is it's were dancing as it's for socializing is.
00:07:09.120 --> 00:07:24.570 David V. Griffin: And it's been that way, for you know over 120 years since the first what we would consider to be nightclubs came into being in the 1880s and 1890s and then spread with the spread of things such as electricity, and you know it's it's.
00:07:24.750 --> 00:07:25.920 Jeff Goodman: An amplified sound to.
00:07:26.460 --> 00:07:27.300 Jeff Goodman: Sound right.
00:07:27.360 --> 00:07:34.680 David V. Griffin: I think electricity is really the thing that created modern nightlife because all of a sudden, you could see the streets, you can see the buildings.
00:07:34.950 --> 00:07:48.540 David V. Griffin: You can see signs, etc, and so forth, and you could light and carriers in a very new and brilliant way and so that opened up the doors, for you know night being a different type of time to entertain or to seek entertainment.
00:07:48.990 --> 00:07:49.950 Jeff Goodman: hmm whereas.
00:07:50.070 --> 00:07:57.810 David V. Griffin: Prior to the 1880s period, you know the when the sun went down the city was dark that was that was the end of that yeah.
00:07:57.870 --> 00:08:02.850 Jeff Goodman: Well, there was a time when the sun went down you didn't even have nighttime baseball and there was a time when there was the baseball now I was.
00:08:03.420 --> 00:08:08.580 Jeff Goodman: In things seem timeless sometimes I was reading recently about the history in New Orleans and about.
00:08:09.240 --> 00:08:15.030 Jeff Goodman: One of the first gay bars on Bourbon street, and it was opened in 1946 I think in a closed.
00:08:15.720 --> 00:08:22.350 Jeff Goodman: In in the 60s and if you've been on Bourbon street you just think well it's been that way for time immemorial, but actually.
00:08:23.100 --> 00:08:34.020 Jeff Goodman: Back in the 40s and the 50s it was a pretty sleepy part of New Orleans, and now it makes sense that what what gave rise to it was the fact that you could have air conditioning and also amplified sound.
00:08:34.350 --> 00:08:35.640 Jeff Goodman: And pre recorded sound.
00:08:36.390 --> 00:08:45.510 Jeff Goodman: i'm David, this is something about the genre of New York of the New York nightclub that made clubs in New York distinct compared with clubs and other American cities.
00:08:46.230 --> 00:08:54.810 David V. Griffin: i'd say there were three things that that kind of led to the rise of the New York nightclub being something of an iconic vessel for this type of experience.
00:08:55.140 --> 00:09:06.690 David V. Griffin: What is the fact that the New York was such a Center for African American music, you had the largest urban African American population in North America in the district of Harlem.
00:09:07.200 --> 00:09:15.030 David V. Griffin: And a lot of the great car clubs were located in Harlem specifically to showcase that sound and those musicians and those performers.
00:09:15.840 --> 00:09:24.090 David V. Griffin: But you had things like jazz blues you had all these you had swing like big bands, because you had the hotel ballrooms you can try to fill those people.
00:09:24.810 --> 00:09:32.040 David V. Griffin: There were just an enormous amount of venues that were seeking different types of music and I think New York and became.
00:09:32.370 --> 00:09:38.370 David V. Griffin: A sort of a Center along with Chicago to a certain extent, with certain extent, other cities up and down the Mississippi.
00:09:38.610 --> 00:09:47.640 David V. Griffin: But none of them had quite the audience back to the New York City did so it really became a place for these performers to play there some thought that the phrase, the big apple.
00:09:48.060 --> 00:09:56.430 David V. Griffin: was in fact popularized by jazz musicians, who would say well i'm going to go play the big apple, meaning that they finally got a booking in New York.
00:09:56.700 --> 00:10:01.290 David V. Griffin: And they could play their music in front of what was sure to be a large and rather diverse audience.
00:10:01.860 --> 00:10:07.230 David V. Griffin: The other thing is that diversity in New York City has always been a multicultural Center right from the beginning.
00:10:08.040 --> 00:10:15.360 David V. Griffin: Even from the depths colonial period, it was surprising how many different languages and how many different races were living in the city during the time of Dutch morial.
00:10:16.110 --> 00:10:25.140 David V. Griffin: period, and so you have Europeans coming in, you have Latin Americans coming in, you have all these other people who are visiting the city or integrate into the city.
00:10:25.500 --> 00:10:31.800 David V. Griffin: And you have them, you know from people who really are the immigrants who arrived with you know, whatever they have in their pockets.
00:10:32.070 --> 00:10:39.360 David V. Griffin: to people who are touring through who are you know the ultra rich the aristocracy itself and so forth, so you have a very diverse.
00:10:39.840 --> 00:10:52.050 David V. Griffin: audience for this and people expect something new and then the third thing was simply the fact that the New York was so visible as a kind of an icon of new types of architecture technology.
00:10:52.470 --> 00:11:02.430 David V. Griffin: And I mean think about time square that's really a kind of a unique place in the United States, there are other places around the world that are somewhat like it like Piccadilly in London.
00:11:02.670 --> 00:11:07.860 David V. Griffin: Or the ginza district in Tokyo that's more known as a favorite famous shopping zone.
00:11:08.460 --> 00:11:18.720 David V. Griffin: Time square was really just this confluence of media technologies spectacle light and nightlife you had night clubs that were purchased on top of those buildings, who had the theaters directly adjacent.
00:11:19.050 --> 00:11:27.870 David V. Griffin: You had bars and restaurants, who had you know the entire spirit of the tender line, as was understood in South 40 seconds, with all the way down to 23rd That was the original zone.
00:11:28.350 --> 00:11:32.010 David V. Griffin: And you know the steak houses that were there, you know.
00:11:32.520 --> 00:11:37.680 David V. Griffin: Except and self worth and it went through various periods of time, always in the 70s, was very seedy.
00:11:37.950 --> 00:11:50.070 David V. Griffin: Nowadays it's very sort of corporate and very sleek and very addicted to special effects, but it is this kind of zone of the spectacular, and I think because of that nightclubs keyed into that they borrowed from its technology.
00:11:50.550 --> 00:11:55.740 David V. Griffin: there's, not a single one of these clubs were about to discuss that didn't have a neon sign outside, for example.
00:11:56.970 --> 00:12:07.140 David V. Griffin: They all had neon signs that was what a nightclub net New York, and I think a certain type of up to the minute very, very you know ultra chic.
00:12:07.530 --> 00:12:17.550 David V. Griffin: sort of modern interior was something that was associated with New York in a way that a place like London just you know they weren't they weren't selling that that wasn't that wasn't what people want to London to.
00:12:17.550 --> 00:12:23.460 David V. Griffin: Experience so yeah I think that that became kind of a hallmark of nightclubs around the world, actually.
00:12:24.180 --> 00:12:31.740 Jeff Goodman: Well, you mentioned the diversity of New York and the African American Community and population that was here in the city from the time of the great migration.
00:12:32.040 --> 00:12:37.590 Jeff Goodman: let's start by speaking about one of the most famous clubs in New York history unit and actually.
00:12:37.830 --> 00:12:48.990 Jeff Goodman: which started which opened almost 100 years ago if you can believe it and that's the cotton club which most people have heard of or most people should have heard of the cotton club if they if they hadn't heard of the cotton club, what are the origins of the cotton club.
00:12:49.290 --> 00:12:58.770 David V. Griffin: Well, the cotton club, is not the oldest nightclub in New York City by a long shot we'd have to go back to the 19th century to really investigate you know the beginnings of the nightclub is a phenomenon.
00:12:59.130 --> 00:13:02.970 David V. Griffin: But the cotton club is certainly one of the first That was really known around the world.
00:13:03.570 --> 00:13:15.690 David V. Griffin: It does founded in 1923 random 19 2020 1948 did have two locations, the most famous location was on 100 42nd street and lenox avenue up in Harlem.
00:13:16.530 --> 00:13:24.690 David V. Griffin: The second location briefly at midtown in the theater district for about two or three years, the club operated during the United States are a prohibition.
00:13:25.380 --> 00:13:35.040 David V. Griffin: And it also, unfortunately, the Jim crow era of racial segregation So although this was a great place to go and hear the black performers of the day.
00:13:35.430 --> 00:13:42.900 David V. Griffin: of huge variety of them, it was initially a place where those people could not bring their friends guess.
00:13:43.560 --> 00:13:52.860 David V. Griffin: black people are not allowed to patronize the cotton club, so you know, that was a real sort of bitter irony that stuck in a lot of people's throats for quite a while.
00:13:53.400 --> 00:14:01.620 David V. Griffin: And then he did go on to feature a lot of the most popular African American experience of the era of what time i'd be like Duke ellington.
00:14:02.070 --> 00:14:13.260 David V. Griffin: chuck web was Armstrong count basie fats waller vocalists at the cotton club included at the waters people a cab calloway bessie Smith Avon long.
00:14:13.710 --> 00:14:22.620 David V. Griffin: The dandridge sisters Dorothy dandridge in particular there's a series of famous photographs of her singing at the cotton club and the damage is really I think got their start there.
00:14:24.360 --> 00:14:32.220 David V. Griffin: There were dancers they're the greatest Nicholas brothers were one of the all time sort of great tap dancing sensations of that period.
00:14:32.790 --> 00:14:45.300 David V. Griffin: They actually appear in several films set New York nightclubs and if you Google them on YouTube their their routines are just absolutely phenomenal and they were regular appear they may break their appearance of the car.
00:14:46.560 --> 00:14:54.300 Jeff Goodman: When did the barrier of racial segregation go away at the cotton club David when could African American people be customers there.
00:14:54.540 --> 00:14:59.610 David V. Griffin: There was increasing protest against this racist bias against patrons.
00:15:00.210 --> 00:15:11.070 David V. Griffin: You know, people are pointing out, you know you're making your living off of the people who are actually there to provide the talent there's no reason why anybody go to this place more for them and you're not allowing them.
00:15:11.460 --> 00:15:21.150 David V. Griffin: their own people to come in and see them so in 1935 they did decide to just get rid of the color barrier and they put on a huge ball and a spectacle for it.
00:15:21.510 --> 00:15:31.050 David V. Griffin: and opened up the Club to black patrons and it continued on is a great success, you know for the few years that it was still open in that location.
00:15:32.190 --> 00:15:37.530 Jeff Goodman: And the original location was at lenox avenue like 140 second 140 third street right, I think.
00:15:37.560 --> 00:15:54.420 David V. Griffin: Yes, yes, yes right between the block 120 second 23rd it's still the entire block and it was on the second floor of a large commercial building so you'd see the neon sign cotton club, the ballroom is actually upstairs and there are a host of little stores and shops on the main floor.
00:15:55.260 --> 00:16:02.280 Jeff Goodman: Although the first original closed and they moved it and the first subsequent cotton club opened up, there is a cotton club on West 125th street.
00:16:02.580 --> 00:16:08.580 Jeff Goodman: yeah I don't know that it's a as much affiliated with the people who started the first tour with the organization.
00:16:08.880 --> 00:16:22.620 David V. Griffin: I think it really is just that they license the name and they do, they do jazz brunches and things of that nature doesn't popular, but I have looked into it and there's no direct connection between that and the original cotton club, unfortunately.
00:16:23.220 --> 00:16:36.750 Jeff Goodman: Well, at least we have the name we're going to take a short break and when we come back we're going to continue our illuminating conversation with David Griffin of landmark reading about nightclubs in New York, mostly past but maybe a little present we'll be back in a moment.
00:19:33.480 --> 00:19:46.680 Jeff Goodman: we're back to rediscovering New York and our episode about nightclubs in New York, my guest for the entire show is David Griffin of landmark branding David is also the special consultant for the program David welcome back to the show.
00:19:47.790 --> 00:19:54.270 Jeff Goodman: We talked about the cotton club I think that's it was a good way to start off nightclubs in New York was so iconic and also ultimately broke down.
00:19:54.540 --> 00:20:03.060 Jeff Goodman: Racial barriers in the city's entertainment industry a very different kind of club was the store club, and that was midtown it didn't have the uptown set did it.
00:20:03.450 --> 00:20:15.960 David V. Griffin: No, it was definitely a midtown location and Upper East side was as far up as it went, this was a club that existed for 1929 to 1965.
00:20:16.500 --> 00:20:22.650 David V. Griffin: And it was for a time, one of the most prestigious clubs in New York City, and in fact the world.
00:20:23.340 --> 00:20:33.330 David V. Griffin: Was sort of an international symbol of what was called CAFE society, which was a sort of mixture of the the upper crust with artistic and cultural types.
00:20:33.930 --> 00:20:48.510 David V. Griffin: and, interestingly enough, it was a place where movie stars celebrities show girls etc all mixed in the VIP rooms and suites of the club, it was a more of a supper club, meaning that people could order dinner there.
00:20:49.170 --> 00:21:02.160 David V. Griffin: There were live performers, there were shows there was dancing, but it was mostly known for its kind of conviviality and conversation place where people went to sort of meet and see and be seen.
00:21:02.610 --> 00:21:10.200 Jeff Goodman: When was it open 1929 29 it was opened by Sherman billingsley was he who was a bootlegger.
00:21:11.730 --> 00:21:12.930 Jeff Goodman: Some people were bootleggers.
00:21:13.740 --> 00:21:14.460 Jeff Goodman: Actually I learned.
00:21:14.490 --> 00:21:28.680 Jeff Goodman: Some time ago that actually two of my great grandmother's prevented booze and the 20th i'm not embarrassed about that at all, a lot of people did was billingsley still in the bootlegging business when he opened.
00:21:29.010 --> 00:21:44.820 David V. Griffin: The car, I can only say that the bills we was not the sort of person that one would normally associate with CAFE society it's it's always been a little bit sort of ironic to find out more about the people actually own these places, and in this case.
00:21:45.270 --> 00:21:48.090 David V. Griffin: He was pretty much you know hardened criminal drawer.
00:21:49.110 --> 00:22:05.010 David V. Griffin: I don't know if he was still bootlegging personally when he opened up the club, but I do know that the place was rated by the prohibition in 1931 and that they actually had to move they moved addresses after that they moved to a very famous building on East first street.
00:22:05.250 --> 00:22:09.120 Jeff Goodman: Well, that would have outsmarted the COPs definitely to move the same name to a different location.
00:22:09.780 --> 00:22:15.390 David V. Griffin: But billingsley was kidnapped, at one point and held for ransom by men a mad dog call.
00:22:15.870 --> 00:22:29.820 David V. Griffin: It was a rival of his mobster partners and after that he negotiated to become the sole owner of the store club, and I think sort of divorce themselves from his criminal ties, I guess, one time handcuffed to a chair was enough for him.
00:22:30.900 --> 00:22:32.430 David V. Griffin: And that was the end of that.
00:22:33.480 --> 00:22:41.700 Jeff Goodman: How did billingsley come up with the name of the store club did it have anything to do with the the old myth about the stork delivering babies.
00:22:42.870 --> 00:22:54.750 David V. Griffin: The origin of the club is unknown actually billingsley once said, please don't continue to ask me how or why I picked the name, because I just don't remember so.
00:22:55.200 --> 00:23:05.250 David V. Griffin: Whatever the, the idea was it has been last time, the story itself was incorporated into the club's logo and appeared on the famous ashtrays mark store club.
00:23:05.580 --> 00:23:17.250 David V. Griffin: which were anchored at every table in the entire place and it's how we know a lot of the times, where people were since the rest of the decor was elegant but not particularly eye catching.
00:23:17.550 --> 00:23:22.950 Jeff Goodman: Well that's one closing going out of business auction I would have loved to have attended if I had the chance.
00:23:24.210 --> 00:23:29.790 Jeff Goodman: There was a famous broadcaster who broadcasted from the store club yes.
00:23:30.510 --> 00:23:35.850 David V. Griffin: That was Walter winchell and he was a famous gossip columnist.
00:23:36.480 --> 00:23:44.370 David V. Griffin: He was sort of one of the people who set the tone for celebrity reportage he was sort of like the head of hopper of the East coast.
00:23:44.730 --> 00:23:59.700 David V. Griffin: And he broadcast his radio program from table 50 at the cotton club and sort of had a coterie of people who would surround him like that it was sort of the the outdoor Quinn Roundtable for kissing up.
00:24:00.810 --> 00:24:05.940 Jeff Goodman: And also drinking well, you could drink at the algonquin Roundtable, even though the famous Roundtable.
00:24:06.360 --> 00:24:14.670 Jeff Goodman: Roundtable the mostly during prohibition, but that probably didn't stop, most of them, certainly not Dorothy Dorothy Parker who was some of the famous people that one would see at the store club.
00:24:15.570 --> 00:24:26.400 David V. Griffin: It really ran the full gamut my next guests were President Kennedy and his wife Jacqueline the roosevelts families, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor.
00:24:27.030 --> 00:24:34.650 David V. Griffin: This is the place where the news of grace kelly's engagement to Prince rainy or Monaco was broken, while the couple was actually visiting the store club.
00:24:35.550 --> 00:24:44.220 David V. Griffin: Evelyn Walsh mclean a person who that's not a very familiar name but she was the socialite, who was the owner in New York City of the hope diamond.
00:24:44.550 --> 00:24:52.650 David V. Griffin: And she wants actually lost the diamond under a table while she was visiting the club, so that must have been a really frantic search.
00:24:53.460 --> 00:25:10.350 David V. Griffin: Ernest Hemingway was able to cash a $100,000 check at the club which he had just received for the film mites to for whom the bell tolls he cashed it at the store Club to settle his mile long drinking bill what she had put off and put off and put off and put off for countless months.
00:25:11.370 --> 00:25:16.560 David V. Griffin: So yeah it was a very broad range of celebrity guests.
00:25:17.490 --> 00:25:21.030 Jeff Goodman: And there's some interesting organized Labor history that happened at the store club.
00:25:21.390 --> 00:25:29.160 David V. Griffin: yeah the strip club was pretty much done in by the fact that the owner was unwilling to allow the workers to organize.
00:25:29.880 --> 00:25:35.100 David V. Griffin: The 1940s, the members of the store club, the workers desired to be represented by a Union.
00:25:35.940 --> 00:25:43.590 David V. Griffin: By 1957 the employees of all similar New York menus for union members billingsley was adamant that he would not allow this to happen.
00:25:43.890 --> 00:25:49.440 David V. Griffin: That, but the Union supporters picketing in front of the club for many years, this became an embarrassment.
00:25:50.130 --> 00:25:56.490 David V. Griffin: All of a sudden, people who are more sort of left leaning didn't want to see, be seen as supporting a place like this.
00:25:56.820 --> 00:26:06.780 David V. Griffin: And the people who didn't care still didn't want to have to go through a massive picketers going in and out and the club really lost its popularity because billingsley was so pigheaded about the unions.
00:26:07.620 --> 00:26:11.130 Jeff Goodman: So the picketing actually and led to its demise to lead to a closing.
00:26:11.190 --> 00:26:24.210 David V. Griffin: To a certain degree, it did many of the guests simply stopped visiting and you know billingsley had agreed to let them unionize I don't see that would have heard him in any way and possibly the store club might still be with us.
00:26:24.840 --> 00:26:36.570 David V. Griffin: The building itself on 53rd street was torn down after the store club closed, and it is now the side of a place that I think a lot of us do enjoy possibly to enjoy more than we would the store club.
00:26:37.110 --> 00:26:48.750 David V. Griffin: paley Park, which is one of the great pocket parks in the world and really sort of initiated a sort of a wave of small scale urban relief spaces, both in this country and globally.
00:26:49.260 --> 00:26:50.700 Jeff Goodman: But, but can you get martinis there.
00:26:51.540 --> 00:26:52.050 Jeff Goodman: No.
00:26:52.080 --> 00:26:55.650 David V. Griffin: No okay I don't suggest trying to drink one outside either.
00:26:55.830 --> 00:27:04.440 Jeff Goodman: Well, you can maybe bring your own this especially this one in Orleans Oh, by the way, this really interesting film that's not well known it's called the wrong man it's with Henry fonda.
00:27:04.830 --> 00:27:18.510 Jeff Goodman: and apparently takes place at the store club he's wrongly accused of a crime it's a little film wash it's very realistic in terms of things that he and his family go through, and he is a band player at the store club that's his job.
00:27:18.840 --> 00:27:21.180 David V. Griffin: I think, Barbara clintonism that film isn't showing.
00:27:21.390 --> 00:27:23.670 Jeff Goodman: A I don't know I don't remember.
00:27:23.760 --> 00:27:29.190 David V. Griffin: The singer yeah I think she is there's a great film poster for that film that features are, I think.
00:27:31.380 --> 00:27:43.770 Jeff Goodman: let's move to another midtown club, one that was immortalized in a hit song from the 1970s and if you're old enough you really would have heard it on the radio, the Copacabana it open later than the cotton club and the store club didn't it.
00:27:44.280 --> 00:27:55.440 David V. Griffin: Yes, 1944 well actually must be 1940 sorry 26th street of very glamorous location for people who are familiar with that area of the city.
00:27:56.820 --> 00:28:03.720 David V. Griffin: And much closer and frank costello and was a mob boss got together and they partner to open up the copper cabana.
00:28:05.070 --> 00:28:15.120 David V. Griffin: And they opened up a place that was really seen as very chic very racy a little bit less stayed less literary than the store club drops.
00:28:15.690 --> 00:28:24.030 David V. Griffin: Less than a Socratic but more fun the Copacabana was based, of course, on Brazilian decor they had no Latin American themed orchestra.
00:28:24.420 --> 00:28:34.020 David V. Griffin: And the menu, however featured Chinese food I think Brazilian food was just simply a little bit to X Ray for the tastes of new Yorkers and their guests back in the day.
00:28:34.590 --> 00:28:46.380 David V. Griffin: The club was also very well known for its famous chorus line, it was a segregated club, as the cotton club was they had a very strict policy about that and then how about Harry belafonte.
00:28:47.100 --> 00:28:50.730 David V. Griffin: who was a member, then the US navy was denied into the date.
00:28:51.270 --> 00:29:01.770 David V. Griffin: There was a huge outcry about that and put Elvis persuaded to change in policy belafonte actually returned to the Copacabana in the 1950s and became a headliner at the club playing there for.
00:29:02.100 --> 00:29:11.670 David V. Griffin: quite a while Sammy Davis jr was another featured player he shattered attendance records, but there's one in May of 1964 Sam cooke the supremes.
00:29:12.900 --> 00:29:22.170 David V. Griffin: Their recordings there actually resulted in motown records booking them the temptations Martin the bendel's marvin gaye all to perform at the COPA.
00:29:23.010 --> 00:29:32.280 David V. Griffin: That period, so it was intense period in the post war period for African American music and for the motown sound, as well as what was left of the ballroom circuit.
00:29:33.150 --> 00:29:38.730 Jeff Goodman: There was a notorious event that took place during the late 1950s involving some pretty famous New York Yankees.
00:29:39.600 --> 00:29:52.890 David V. Griffin: Yes, this was another unfortunate racial episode the evening of may 16 1957 Mickey mantle whitey Ford Barry yogi berra john nuts and billy Martin.
00:29:53.280 --> 00:30:00.120 David V. Griffin: Along with all of their wives arrived at the nightclub to celebrate martin's birthday Sammy Davis jr was their headline the former.
00:30:00.540 --> 00:30:10.500 David V. Griffin: Now, during the performance, a group of drunks at a table just next to the ballplayers started interfere with sandy's act and started hurling racial slurs at him.
00:30:10.890 --> 00:30:22.680 David V. Griffin: This really got the Yankees mad, especially Martin his teammate was elson Howard and Elsa Howard, is a very notable figure in baseball history, he was the first black player to join the Yankees.
00:30:23.700 --> 00:30:31.410 David V. Griffin: All of a sudden, there was this huge brawl that happened, one of the racist guys got his job broken half off.
00:30:32.370 --> 00:30:48.060 David V. Griffin: There were lawsuits about it itself and so forth, but you know, most of them were thrown out of court and however Martin himself was later traded from the Yankees to the Kansas city athletics with this incident of his behavior and public being cited as a main cause.
00:30:49.320 --> 00:30:53.970 Jeff Goodman: A during the 1970s, the COPA changed how so what what changed about it.
00:30:54.180 --> 00:31:05.100 David V. Griffin: Well, if you're familiar with the song by Barry manilow it had become a disco by that point so very different scene, of course, and I think the COPA was.
00:31:05.790 --> 00:31:11.010 David V. Griffin: Just unable to kind of hold on to its Lord glamour of the immediate post war period.
00:31:11.700 --> 00:31:25.560 David V. Griffin: The Barry manilow song Copacabana became a hit during the 70s, just as the club itself, I think, was sort of winding down in the public sphere, there was a move to a space on West 57th street that I remember visiting.
00:31:26.430 --> 00:31:29.460 Jeff Goodman: I remember that to actually What was your college friends in the early 80s as.
00:31:29.460 --> 00:31:30.300 Jeff Goodman: Before to close.
00:31:30.480 --> 00:31:36.450 David V. Griffin: It it had very little to do with the aesthetics, and the the kind of feel of the original Copacabana.
00:31:37.980 --> 00:31:49.380 Jeff Goodman: Alright well we're going to take a short break and when we come back we're going to continue our fascinating conversation with David Griffin about nightclubs in New York, mostly past but maybe present we'll be back in a moment.
00:31:55.890 --> 00:31:57.060 Educating and.
00:34:35.250 --> 00:34:53.160 Jeff Goodman: we're back support for rediscovering New York comes from our sponsors Christopher Pappas mortgage specialist at TD bank to find out how Chris can help you with all your residential home mortgage needs and tailor a mortgage that's right for you please call Chris at 203-512-3918.
00:34:54.180 --> 00:35:00.900 Jeff Goodman: Support also comes from the law offices of Thomas sciatica focusing on wills estate planning probate and inheritance litigation.
00:35:01.710 --> 00:35:13.320 Jeff Goodman: Tom and his staff can be reached at 212-495-0317 you can like the show on Facebook and also follow me on instagram and Twitter my handles and all three or Jeff Goodman invoicing.
00:35:13.950 --> 00:35:19.950 Jeff Goodman: If you have comments or questions if you'd like to get on a mailing list, please email me Jeff at rediscovering New York dot nyc.
00:35:20.700 --> 00:35:23.940 Jeff Goodman: One of the note before we get to the second half of our show.
00:35:24.810 --> 00:35:32.280 Jeff Goodman: Even though rediscovering New York is not sure about real estate when i'm not in the fame nightclubs of New York, I am indeed a real estate agent our amazing city.
00:35:32.790 --> 00:35:39.690 Jeff Goodman: Where I help my clients buy sale lease and rent property if you or someone you care about is considering a move into out of or within New York.
00:35:40.110 --> 00:35:47.580 Jeff Goodman: I would love to help you with all those real estate needs, you can reach me and my team at 646-306-4761.
00:35:48.180 --> 00:35:54.930 Jeff Goodman: Well, our guest today is David Griffin of landmark branding David is not only a an architectural specialist and aficionado.
00:35:55.320 --> 00:36:03.600 Jeff Goodman: he's also the special consultant for the program and it's always great to have David with us, David why don't you tell our listeners a bit about what you do at landmark branding.
00:36:04.410 --> 00:36:13.860 David V. Griffin: Well Jeff I create marketing support for the owners developers and realtors that historic architectural distinguished buildings.
00:36:14.610 --> 00:36:23.250 David V. Griffin: I do everything from creating listings to website copy creating VIP tours and events around new buildings in new builds.
00:36:23.670 --> 00:36:33.450 David V. Griffin: and write about architectural and engineering renovation restoration trends for magazines newspapers such as real estate weekly.
00:36:33.960 --> 00:36:42.990 David V. Griffin: brown stoner metropolis as well, you already mentioned my blog every building on fifth, that is a capsule history of every single building on fifth avenue from the Washington square arch.
00:36:43.260 --> 00:36:50.970 David V. Griffin: Up to the amazing art DECO Harlem armory, which is one of the great sort of unknown art DECO masterpieces in New York City.
00:36:51.480 --> 00:36:57.600 David V. Griffin: And I am currently working on a book proposal on the penthouse as a American architectural type.
00:36:58.080 --> 00:37:06.840 David V. Griffin: along with several other articles and projects in the in the wings on currently working on a series of talks with a New York adventure club.
00:37:07.530 --> 00:37:19.560 David V. Griffin: On global architecture and they're a wonderful organization if you'd like check them out, they have all sorts of people are there, speaking on architectural a storage topics and you may have mentioned the.
00:37:21.270 --> 00:37:39.120 David V. Griffin: movement towards that I co host with Jennifer wallace of nascent our New York room at the top, which we're hoping to get going post pandemic visits to historic skyscrapers throughout New York City and talks about how art and architecture are economic engineers for the city.
00:37:40.020 --> 00:37:41.730 Jeff Goodman: And how can people get in touch with you, David.
00:37:42.420 --> 00:37:57.720 David V. Griffin: My website is landmark branding calm and my email, which is linked at the website is D Griffin D G ri F F I n at landmark branding.com and i'm happy to answer any questions or field any increased.
00:37:58.230 --> 00:37:58.740 Great.
00:38:00.660 --> 00:38:06.060 Jeff Goodman: One nightclub that many people have never heard of is the peppermint lounge.
00:38:07.350 --> 00:38:13.050 Jeff Goodman: Do you want to talk about the peppermint lounge and a famous dance that God invented there that I think almost everyone will have heard of.
00:38:13.530 --> 00:38:15.150 David V. Griffin: More than anything.
00:38:16.770 --> 00:38:23.010 David V. Griffin: The government land is interesting, historically, because it was one of the very first places that we would now consider a discotheque.
00:38:23.280 --> 00:38:31.440 David V. Griffin: In other words, it had the sound equipment for people to play records that would be the things that people dance to as opposed to live performers.
00:38:31.710 --> 00:38:36.960 David V. Griffin: Which doesn't say the peppermint lounge did not have live performers, they did they had several very notable ones.
00:38:37.290 --> 00:38:54.390 David V. Griffin: But they were a record playing place primarily and they were associated with a new form of dance called the twist which makes the name of the nightclub makes sense because it's the peppermint twist, of course, so the peppermint lounge was decorated in a very sort of.
00:38:55.500 --> 00:39:01.920 David V. Griffin: declasse a way if you just stuck your head and you think oh it's an ice cream parlor that's fallen upon very hard times.
00:39:02.130 --> 00:39:09.900 David V. Griffin: It didn't quite have the chic, of the other clubs were talking about it wasn't about that type of experience was geared towards a much younger crowd.
00:39:10.170 --> 00:39:20.040 David V. Griffin: It was geared towards what we now would call the teeny boppers and it only had a very small capacity only 178 people, which for a nightclub is miniscule.
00:39:20.610 --> 00:39:32.430 David V. Griffin: It was also one of the clubs that was geared more or less openly during this time period towards a gay clientele, although I think people who became aware of it, through its association with the twist were unaware of that as well.
00:39:33.240 --> 00:39:46.770 David V. Griffin: The twist craze hits around 1960s 1961 and all of a sudden celebrities are swarming into this place audrey hepburn Truman capote at Marilyn Monroe Judy Garland Noel coward Frank Sinatra Norman Mailer and it from the cello.
00:39:47.310 --> 00:39:55.260 David V. Griffin: Even Greta Garbo showed up to learn how to dance the twist one night God in the star lighters were the House band.
00:39:55.740 --> 00:40:04.890 David V. Griffin: Jacqueline Kennedy herself was such an enthusiast that she arranged for a temporary quote unquote peppermint lounge to be mounted in the White House for one of her Gala evenings.
00:40:05.100 --> 00:40:10.890 David V. Griffin: So that people could learn to dance the twist at the White House and surroundings that suggested the peppermint lounge.
00:40:12.330 --> 00:40:20.160 David V. Griffin: A sister club was opened in Miami beach briefly and Sam cooke's twist in the night away, which I love it's a great song.
00:40:20.670 --> 00:40:28.590 David V. Griffin: doesn't mention the club by name, but is specifically about the scene at the peppermint lounge and there are a couple very coded lyrics in there.
00:40:28.860 --> 00:40:34.590 David V. Griffin: A place somewhere up in New York New York way where the people are so gay he means that literally.
00:40:34.860 --> 00:40:46.770 David V. Griffin: there's also that great line about the older queen i've often wondered if he meant actually a drag Queen, in the context of the peppermint lounge and not just a sort of a throwaway remark about a rather grand lady.
00:40:47.130 --> 00:40:55.290 David V. Griffin: So the Beatles were filmed a visiting the club during their first us visit in 1964 they just sort of made an impromptu stop there.
00:40:55.650 --> 00:41:05.970 David V. Griffin: and artists who perform there concluded the beach boys, the ronettes who made their professional debut debut there 1961 ronnie spector was sort of the muse with the peppermint lounge.
00:41:06.360 --> 00:41:18.360 David V. Griffin: The crystals the isley brothers chubby checker the younger brothers lies them anally and the four seasons, so a pretty good run for a shabby little disco on a side street in midtown i'd say.
00:41:19.380 --> 00:41:23.610 Jeff Goodman: let's talk about CAFE society what was CAFE society and what differentiated it.
00:41:24.240 --> 00:41:32.280 David V. Griffin: Well CAFE societies we've mentioned was a term that meant where the aristocracy and the sort of Hollywood glitterati.
00:41:32.610 --> 00:41:37.440 David V. Griffin: met together and that was something that prior prior decades had been seen as something.
00:41:37.860 --> 00:41:48.000 David V. Griffin: You know sort of the demi monde wasn't a target respectable if you weren't nobility you can hang out with a bunch of actors and actresses because you know who knew where they had been at separate so forth.
00:41:48.690 --> 00:41:56.490 David V. Griffin: CAFE society was created by man named HR josephson and it was created specifically to showcase African American town, much like the cotton club.
00:41:56.970 --> 00:42:01.950 David V. Griffin: Unlike the cotton club, this was a fully integrated club right from the start.
00:42:02.520 --> 00:42:11.040 David V. Griffin: And they opened up and we're very proud of the fact that they would give the exact same service to both white and black guess it didn't matter what the color of your skin was or where you came from.
00:42:11.340 --> 00:42:18.300 David V. Griffin: As long as you dressed well and where they are listen to the music they had no problem with you, and they made sure that you felt comfortable there.
00:42:19.230 --> 00:42:26.550 David V. Griffin: josephson actually trademarked the name CAFE society and he did so as a sort of little finger in the eye to all those sort of.
00:42:27.120 --> 00:42:34.710 David V. Griffin: Talks that upper crusties who at the store club which the place he absolutely hated he had because the club, as the wrong place for the right people.
00:42:35.460 --> 00:42:47.910 David V. Griffin: and opened up a second branch on 58 street between lexington and park avenue in 1940 so there was no color bar there, however, the club featured many of the greatest black musicians of the day.
00:42:48.840 --> 00:42:59.280 David V. Griffin: And what was really kind of unique about CAFE society is that its content was often political in nature Billie holiday first saying strange fruit there.
00:42:59.820 --> 00:43:06.870 David V. Griffin: That was the first time that she sang that song and public she did sell a Joseph since assistance and she closed the set with the song.
00:43:07.110 --> 00:43:19.770 David V. Griffin: Leaving the stage that taking any encores so that the audience will be left kind of decipher the lyrics and think about the meaning of this song which is, of course, about violence against black people in the American South and elsewhere.
00:43:20.940 --> 00:43:29.040 David V. Griffin: Relying on the musical judgment of john hammond was the club's unofficial music director josephson helped launch the careers of people like Ruth Brown.
00:43:29.340 --> 00:43:40.710 David V. Griffin: Lena horne dancer primus hazel Scott Albert ammons big Joe Turner Sarah Vaughan and popularized Gospel groups as well, such as the dixie hummingbirds and the golden gate Quartet.
00:43:41.010 --> 00:43:43.560 David V. Griffin: Among white black and Upper class audiences.
00:43:43.830 --> 00:44:00.540 David V. Griffin: So many of these accident first presented at hammonds Carnegie hall concerts which were called from spirituals to swing in 1938 and again in 1939 there was a series of those concepts, so the Carnegie hall content came downtown and play it again at CAFE society um.
00:44:01.740 --> 00:44:06.120 Jeff Goodman: Before we take a break let's talk briefly about a club with a fun name El Morocco.
00:44:06.990 --> 00:44:23.670 David V. Griffin: Yes, very fun name and I guess a fun place john corona Italian immigrant opened it as a speakeasy on 54th street South side 54th street in the middle of the block the new lexicon a third avenue, where the city group tower now stands, the city bank building.
00:44:24.810 --> 00:44:36.240 David V. Griffin: That has replaced well Morocco was after prohibition was repealed this became one of the most popular establishments in New York, again, we had a mix of fashion society politicians entertainers.
00:44:37.020 --> 00:44:42.060 David V. Griffin: Part of really made made the club unique was the fact that they had a house photographer.
00:44:42.870 --> 00:44:46.590 David V. Griffin: And this was a new thing this was the beginning of the age of the proper artsy.
00:44:46.920 --> 00:44:56.790 David V. Griffin: And you know people didn't photograph any better back then than they did now, so it was nice when you realize that the club had an actual professional photographer who take your pictures.
00:44:57.120 --> 00:45:02.820 David V. Griffin: And then disseminate them, so you had someone who kind of had a little bit more control over the situation.
00:45:03.510 --> 00:45:12.600 David V. Griffin: The Interior was very famous for having a zebra stripes on all the bank hats and a lot of the furniture was carpet zebra stripes and they were blue and silver.
00:45:12.900 --> 00:45:16.650 David V. Griffin: So it was very distinctive scheme that set off a lot of the fashions of the period.
00:45:16.950 --> 00:45:24.990 David V. Griffin: That turned up as black and white on the photographs and the thing was a new pop the photograph in El Morocco everyone knew was El Morocco because you'd see the zebras.
00:45:25.620 --> 00:45:39.390 David V. Griffin: So it was a real way to brand the club, as well as the people who are in it and people like that they, like the feeling of being in a controlled environment where all of a sudden publicity was becoming part of the part of the key of going out was to build that.
00:45:41.040 --> 00:45:47.700 Jeff Goodman: All right, we're going to take another break and when we come back we're going to continue our conversation about New York nightclubs with David Griffin we'll be back in a moment.
00:48:02.670 --> 00:48:16.860 Jeff Goodman: we're back in your bank to rediscovering New York on our episode about nightclubs David I can't believe that almost an hour has gone by, and there were still some great clubs that we have to talk about the famous the infamous studio 54 tell us about it.
00:48:18.090 --> 00:48:25.920 David V. Griffin: warmer disco nightclub currently a broadway theater actually on, of course, to 54 West 54th street so there was a double.
00:48:27.330 --> 00:48:37.590 David V. Griffin: kind of engaged there it opened in 1927 as the Gal Opera House actually and operated as an entertainment venue under various names domain 42.
00:48:37.950 --> 00:48:53.220 David V. Griffin: And that's what CBS began using it as a radio and TV studio dub studio 52 so studio 52 became studio 54, but it was always called a studio and that's where the boat, ultimately, where the name of the club was derived.
00:48:54.330 --> 00:49:04.710 David V. Griffin: In 1977 Steve blue bell and Ian schrager to have the great near dwells might my culture transform the theater into a nightclub called to their party for.
00:49:05.310 --> 00:49:14.520 David V. Griffin: They had jack does she have a financial backer and they brought him designers to create a dance or environment and create movable theatrical sets and lights.
00:49:14.850 --> 00:49:20.220 David V. Griffin: Using the existing TV lighting circuits and fly system, so they had amazing technology.
00:49:20.610 --> 00:49:26.790 David V. Griffin: kind of built into this space and they took it over they knew that they could do something really spectacular with it and they did so.
00:49:27.060 --> 00:49:36.450 David V. Griffin: The new ensures allowed for a very dynamic and constantly changing environment with a lot of sort of special effects, the famous moon with the coke spoon, for example.
00:49:37.050 --> 00:49:43.170 David V. Griffin: Certain displays of neon like lighting that suggested Times Square, the theater district outside.
00:49:43.590 --> 00:49:55.980 David V. Griffin: And the crowd could be lit brightly for the first time, even as they were dancing it was something that you could see and photograph and film so as a place that very Cinematic quality to it.
00:49:57.720 --> 00:50:06.480 David V. Griffin: It was kind of influencers rebel would actually spend most of the nights outside the club kind of helping the bouncers hand pick the crowd who are able to get in.
00:50:06.840 --> 00:50:12.360 David V. Griffin: And so that the club has been kind of famous in a way for being inclusive in some sense and that.
00:50:12.870 --> 00:50:18.630 David V. Griffin: The people that were led in were a very broad spectrum, socially and you know racially ethnically wherever they were.
00:50:19.020 --> 00:50:24.960 David V. Griffin: All of those there was no Internet there was no color barrier here, but what there was is a barrier about being cool.
00:50:25.800 --> 00:50:38.460 David V. Griffin: cool enough for him, you didn't get in if you work, who you got in but cool who define that well bluebell did and the doorman did, but under Bluebells really, really, really good I and.
00:50:38.760 --> 00:50:54.330 David V. Griffin: I think, had a very, very specific idea of the type of crowd he wanted to literally see on his dance floor he knew what those people should look like and he I hate using the term curated In this sense, but if anybody curated a group of people, it was rebel.
00:50:54.600 --> 00:51:02.040 David V. Griffin: A lot of you love them a lot of people hated him, but he did create something that really felt like no other place i'd make a New York before since.
00:51:02.610 --> 00:51:11.970 Jeff Goodman: i'm sure there were mixed emotions from people when he he and he and trigger were found guilty of tax evasion and hold off to federal prison for a while.
00:51:12.240 --> 00:51:22.200 Jeff Goodman: yeah speaking of having a come to Jesus or come to to Buddha moment let's talk about a club with the religious theme that's the limelight.
00:51:22.890 --> 00:51:30.300 David V. Griffin: Yes, limelight is, of course, the famous club that actually was acting in my period as well.
00:51:30.690 --> 00:51:31.290 Jeff Goodman: And in mind.
00:51:31.890 --> 00:51:40.680 David V. Griffin: And in yours and that opened in November of 1983 so it's a little sort of post disco it becomes kind of a new thing we're talking about.
00:51:40.920 --> 00:51:48.720 David V. Griffin: clubs that are moving like plot em, for example, danceteria CB jeebies second so forth, these are all sort of post disco clubs.
00:51:48.990 --> 00:52:00.210 David V. Griffin: They move into things like punk they move into things like electronica they move into modern forms of dance music Madonna comes out of this period, people like boy George and the culture club limelight.
00:52:00.600 --> 00:52:08.070 David V. Griffin: opens, as I said, 93 and the site was a Gothic revival brownstone church built in 1844 45.
00:52:08.370 --> 00:52:18.090 David V. Griffin: designed by the architects Richard Upjohn was a great Gothic architect in New York City he designed trinity church at the foot of Wall Street and broadway so.
00:52:18.360 --> 00:52:28.500 David V. Griffin: This is a smaller much smaller building it's less grand but it's still very beautiful and the interior was sort of partially preserved with stained glass windows and the galleries still intact.
00:52:29.550 --> 00:52:34.560 David V. Griffin: It became one of the most infamous sort of rock clubs in New York City and.
00:52:35.460 --> 00:52:42.420 David V. Griffin: really are in the media's attention in the 90s when club kid and party promoter Michael Alec was arrested and later convicted.
00:52:42.690 --> 00:52:52.380 David V. Griffin: For the killing and dismemberment of on jail melon does it was a fellow Member of the club kids people who dressed up in these kind of extravagant outfits to go out and party.
00:52:54.060 --> 00:52:55.890 David V. Griffin: There was a lot of you know.
00:52:57.240 --> 00:53:00.780 David V. Griffin: mental and moral baggage that went along with this always say.
00:53:00.810 --> 00:53:01.950 Jeff Goodman: Criminal baggage apparently.
00:53:02.280 --> 00:53:09.750 David V. Griffin: baggage the 2003 movie party monster which stars macaulay culkin and seth Green is based on that event.
00:53:10.080 --> 00:53:15.030 David V. Griffin: I actually recommend that movie it's it's better than you think anything with macaulay culkin and it could be.
00:53:15.390 --> 00:53:25.650 David V. Griffin: Particularly with him playing Michael Alec of all people, but seth Green is absolutely amazing in that movie and it does capture something of the signature aesthetic that kind of rolled along with limelight.
00:53:25.980 --> 00:53:26.280 hmm.
00:53:27.540 --> 00:53:34.170 Jeff Goodman: Well, and I have to say, actually they they sort of changed a little I held a party in the limelight when I had a an advertising business.
00:53:34.740 --> 00:53:42.600 Jeff Goodman: That published LGBT travel guides and they said hey come have a party and invite people that you know, so we did, and we had our own little roped off area in the back.
00:53:43.440 --> 00:53:44.040 Jeff Goodman: Quite exciting.
00:53:44.550 --> 00:53:45.450 Jeff Goodman: It was fun, it was fun.
00:53:45.720 --> 00:53:46.170 David V. Griffin: It was fun.
00:53:47.220 --> 00:53:55.050 Jeff Goodman: David and the couple minutes we have left let's go a little bit further downtown and talk to a space that really was extraordinary inside and that was the palladium.
00:53:55.860 --> 00:54:07.740 David V. Griffin: Yes, the palladium was one of probably the most artistic nightclubs in New York City, it was originally called the Academy of music and had been built as a movie theater and Concert Hall.
00:54:08.250 --> 00:54:18.180 David V. Griffin: And this is located on the South side of East 14th street right off of Union Square and it was designed by Thomas w lamb, the original building in 1927.
00:54:18.660 --> 00:54:27.750 David V. Griffin: Times every line was a great theater architect he designed, many of the the great sort of picture palaces in the entire country design theaters New York Chicago San Francisco.
00:54:28.020 --> 00:54:32.280 David V. Griffin: Wherever it may just said he was was generally a theatre by Thomas land at some point.
00:54:33.210 --> 00:54:43.200 David V. Griffin: during the 1960s, it was a rock concert venue and then it was Christian platinum and September 18 1976 they use in radio broadcasts from there.
00:54:43.620 --> 00:54:57.870 David V. Griffin: And then, finally, it was converted into a nightclub by our old pals from studio 54 see rebellion schrager they hired a DJ from danceteria one of the other famous kind of new electronica new dance music clubs.
00:54:58.290 --> 00:55:06.720 David V. Griffin: And they opened it up as a euro and house music oriented club, the architect in charge of the renovation was a rock is a stocky that as a sucky.
00:55:07.470 --> 00:55:15.810 David V. Griffin: Created the famous museum of contemporary art in Los Angeles, is a very distinguished architect, and there was a huge mural.
00:55:16.320 --> 00:55:23.730 David V. Griffin: By the artist Keith haring actually a favorite of mine, yes last to us, unfortunately, AIDS in the early 1990s.
00:55:24.180 --> 00:55:34.650 David V. Griffin: But one of his large monumental pieces decorated the great dance from there, and the places and pulled down it's been entirely demolished in there is now student housing there for New York university.
00:55:36.240 --> 00:55:40.860 Jeff Goodman: Well, David, this has been fascinating there are a couple of other clubs, we could have talked about but we didn't.
00:55:40.860 --> 00:55:47.520 Jeff Goodman: Have a time I mean there's so much you can talk about about New York history, especially nightclubs well Thank you so much for being.
00:55:48.240 --> 00:56:01.620 Jeff Goodman: As always, such a fabulous guests on rediscovering New York our guest today, our only guest has been the great David Griffin David is the founder and CEO of landmark branding you can reach him at www dot landmark branding.com.
00:56:02.730 --> 00:56:09.360 Jeff Goodman: If you have comments or questions about the show, or if you'd like to get on our mailing list, please email me Jeff at rediscovering New York ny same.
00:56:09.870 --> 00:56:15.240 Jeff Goodman: You can like us on Facebook and you can also follow me on instagram and Twitter my handle is there a Jeff Goodman nyc.
00:56:16.140 --> 00:56:26.280 Jeff Goodman: Once again i'd like to thank our sponsors Chris Pappas mortgage banker at TD bank and the law offices of time of cx focusing on wills and estate planning probate and inheritance litigation.
00:56:26.970 --> 00:56:31.890 Jeff Goodman: One more thing, before we sign off i'm Jeff Goodman a real estate agent or brown Harris Stevens New York City.
00:56:32.340 --> 00:56:44.370 Jeff Goodman: And whether you're selling buying leasing or renting my team and I provide the best service and expertise in New York City real estate to help you, with your real estate needs, you can reach us at 646-306-4761.
00:56:45.570 --> 00:56:53.790 Jeff Goodman: Our producer is Ralph story or or engineer is Sam leibowitz our special consultant for the series was our guest tonight, David Griffin of landmark branding.
00:56:54.600 --> 00:56:56.580 Jeff Goodman: Thanks for listening, everyone will see you next time.