Thursday, January 29, 2009

i miss danceteria

I was grooving to some songs on the iPhone as I settled into the office with no one around this morning, when this thought popped into my head: I miss Danceteria.

Apparently I'm not alone, as they have their own blog (the club's been closed since 1986.)

I thought back to how fun a place it was to go while I was in art school in NYC. It was a night club, and probably as sleazy as any other, but it never really felt that way. It just felt fun. It was a place where I could go and dance, of course, with different things happening on each of its four floors, so there wasn't much opportunity for boredom, unless that was your goal. It was also somewhere in the big, bad city where I felt that I could go out on my own, either meeting friends there, or occasionally, just by myself.

I remember one occasion where I had been going stir crazy in my Brooklyn apartment and called a bunch of friends, but they were all settled in for the night and didn't want to venture out. But I could go to Danceteria. I set off for the subway, got to 21st Street, got waved through the door (somehow the bouncers could tell the locals from the bridge and tunnel crowd) and made my way in. I think I danced, had a drink or two, and ended up on the top floor where they were showing music videos. Not much different from what I could have done at home, but I was out in New York, and that was important on that night.

Mostly I remember going there with friends and dancing, to music no one would dare call disco at the time, like Michael Jackson and Madonna before she became sinewy, and Fine Young Cannibals.

I also remember seeing a few famous people. Billy Idol, not budging from the bar, the Clash's Mick Jones, hanging out with his friends who would later become the band Big Audio Dynamite. I loved The Clash, but I remember not really knowing what to say to Jones, because my favorite was Joe Strummer.

Probably the only occasion I have to go dancing these days is at somebody's wedding. With the 80s revival in full swing, the DJ is bound to play something from that era, and if I close my eyes, maybe for a moment, I'll be back there on 21st, between 5th and 6th, on the second floor-until my adorable dance partner, my daughter, squeezes my hand and brings me back to the present.


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