Pictured: The “Club Kids” crowd outside of the original Limelight.
Today’s New York City mega-clubs such as M2, Marquee, and Pacha usually leave a good impressions on their guests. Out-of-towners, the “bridge-and-tunnel” crowd, and tourists might not be used to the huge crowd and vibrant atmosphere. However, after some time of partying in the city, a person is bound to run into someone nostalgic for the old nightclub scene of the city. These people usually look at the new nightclubs with disappointment and long for the old days of clubs such as Limelight and Tunnel.
From an outsider’s perspective, the clubs of today and the clubs of twenty years ago aren’t so different. Bottle service originated at Tunnel Nightclub ,a large club with several floors once located in Chelsea between 27th and 28th street. The dance floor was noted for having several dancing cages throughout the floor. Tunnel also had a notoriously loud soundsystem, much like M2 nightclub today. Tunnel also had many stars of the hiphop community host parties—much like M2 does on a nearly weekly basis. Tunnel fell to its inevitable demise in 2001; it had been cited for underage drinking, had often dangerous overcrowding, and was a frequent target of police raids. As of May 2010, M2 has been closed due to smoking violations. It is said that history repeats itself, and this is certainly true in the case of NYC nightclubs.
Former clubbers have been especially distraught lately, as the space of the once-popular nightclub Limelight has been turned into a retail space. The mall pays tribute to the club with its name, “The Limelight Marketplace”. It is needless to say that former Limelight lovers were not exactly thrilled with this news. Many questioned if there would ever be any clubs like it in Manhattan ever again. These people aren’t willing to admit that the mega clubs of today and two decades aren’t that different. There are the same loud soundsystems, police raids, and wild fashion.
While the clubbers of yesteryear mourn the diversity of the old clubs, they don’t realize that NYC still has one of the most eccentric nightlife scenes in the world. There are few other American cities where drag queens, star athletes, models, and Wall Street types mix freely. All New Yorkers should for grateful for our diversity and strive to keep the scene alive.