Showing posts with label Roseland Ballroom. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Roseland Ballroom. Show all posts

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Roseland Ballroom makes closure official

On Saturday, we posted the scoop from Billboard about the Roseland Ballroom's closure... at the time of Billboard's report, there hadn't been any announcement from Roseland's ownership.

They made the it formal today with the following release received via the EVG inbox...


Today, Roseland Ballroom announced that it will cease operations in April 2014. Roseland Development Associates, LLC, owners of Roseland, issued the following statement in response to media reports about the venue’s closure next year:

“The owners of 239 West 52nd Street have operated the Roseland Ballroom for over three decades. Managing Roseland has been a labor of love, which is why we have deferred major changes for all these years. Plans to redevelop the property are now underway and will be made public when they are finalized. Roseland will cease operations at the end of April 2014.”

Live Nation, the world’s leading live entertainment company, which has had an exclusive music booking agreement with Roseland Ballroom since 1990, issued the following statement:

“We enjoyed being a part of the history of the Roseland Ballroom and we will continue to celebrate its rich history with an unparalleled closing run of shows. One of the best things about New York is how our city continues to reinvent itself and we look forward to sharing our tremendous plans for live entertainment in the city for 2014 and beyond.”

The space was a sentimental favorite for me... and I agree with an anonymous commenter's thoughts on the Roseland:

Lets face it, the audio was awful and the air conditioning was worthless.

But you could get up close if you felt like it and the mosh pits were great.

One of my favorite places to see a show and I will miss it.

Image via Frankie Gale Photo Gallery

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Report: Roseland Ballroom will close in April

The Roseland Ballroom on East West 52nd Street is closing in April 2014, according to a report at

The venerable venue, owned by developer Larry Ginsberg and booked by Live Nation, opened at its 52nd street location, a converted skating rink, in 1958 and is a sentimental favorite for many bands. The history of the venue in New York dates back to 1919, when it was located at 51st and Broadway, and prior to that in Philadelphia.

Roger Friedman got confirmation of the closing at ShowBiz 411.

“The owner is developing the property,” a source who’s on the inside told me. ... Ironically, across the street last year there was a threat of Gallagher’s Steak House shutting down. It was saved at the last minute. New York’s rare and storied history is disappearing quickly.

The room holds about 3,500... and I've always liked the space for a concert...

Here's a post from 2008 with more history of the space and some archival photos.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The many lives of the Roseland (For Part 2: Man, it's so loud in here)

I love the Roseland Ballroom on West 52nd Street. Not so much as a concert venue. But for its history. Since 1919, the Roseland has been an ice rink, a roller rink and a dance hall. Blogger Cosmodemonic Telegraph Company provides this summary:

The Roseland Ballroom was built in 1919 at 1658 Broadway, near 51st Street. It was the second in a string of three Roselands built by Louis Brecker (the original was in Philadelphia). Brecker envisioned a cheap but respectable dance hall: "home of refined dancing." It became one of America's most famous dance halls, in part due to its booking of upcoming jazz greats such as Fletcher Henderson and Louis Armstrong, in part due to stunts like female prizefighting bouts and law-breaking dance marathons.

After a couple of decades, it jacked up it's refinement factor in order to become "family entertainment": more decor, less taxi dancers, no jitterbugging, bouncers in tuxedos. In 1956, it moved two blocks into a former ice rink at 239 West 52d Street. The older Roseland was demolished.

(Cosmodemonic goes on to discuss how the Roseland played a key role in Henry Miller's "Tropic of Capricorn.")

As the New York Times noted in October 1996: The 1939 ''W.P.A. Guide to New York City'' described Roseland as ''the downtown headquarters for hot music and such urban dance steps as the cake and collegiate, the Lindy and the Shag.'' Tommy Dorsey, Count Basie and other big-band names played Roseland in the 1920's and 1930's.

Roseland was almost lost in the 1990s:

Roseland's dance floor is magnificent, but the rest of the interior is now well beyond shabby, with faded carpets and worn paint. The curved Iceland ceiling is painted black but marked with many holes; otherwise there is no trace of the rink. The gallery level is a warren of empty rooms, littered with debris. Graffiti and a black, spray-painted ''body piercing booth'' are leftovers from rock concerts that take over the house a few times a month -- ''Soul Coughing'' is due on Nov. 29.

Despite its age and condition, Roseland Dance City is a fascinating leftover in New York entertainment culture -- there is no hype, no flash, no marketing, no product tie-ins, just the swirl of dancers from expert to beginner. It's one of those unprocessed experiences that we say we want, but which may vanish very soon.

The Roseland survived, of course. Again and again. Different locations. Different genres. New tastes. A Time magazine feature from 1957 reports:

When a public dance hall named Roseland opened on Broadway in 1919, smart young people had recently deserted the waltz for the foxtrot, were just beginning to master the delicate nuances of the shimmy. Sam Lanin and his Ipana Troubadours were on the bandstand, thumping out such Ziegfeld Follies hits as Mandy and You Cannot Make Your Shimmy Shake on Tea. Since that distant New Year's Eve, generations of stag-line Romeos and their girls have bunny-hugged Lindy-hopped, Charlestoned, big-appled black-bottomed and jitterbugged under Roseland's star-studded ceiling. At 1 o'clock one morning last week the stars winked out for the last time; the following night Roseland reopened in glittering new quarters, billed as "a magnificent metropolis of melody and merriment."

Family Entertainment. Although professional nostalgics lamented the demolition of the old Roseland building as the end of an era, the dance hall had actually been changing its function for a long time. It started as a refuge for the "poor young clerks" Scott Fitzgerald wrote about; it evolved into a place of family entertainment.

Part 2:

Whew. Anyway! Why bring all this up? I was there last night for the My Bloody Valentine show. I won't get into all that here. But I will in the comments if anyone wants to chime in....Take it away Alex.

From last night:

Oh, speaking of Roseland, here's a snippet of 1977's Roseland, the Merchant-Ivory film starring Christopher Walken: