Home Nightlife The Demise of the Nightclub.

The Demise of the Nightclub.



Special Guest Contribution from Stuart Braunstein of Collective Hardware.

Night life in NYC: what happened, where did it all go wrong? There are lots of reasons. I’ve been a derelict in the biz for over 20 years and I have to say I am disappointed in what it’s become. First, it comes from the gentrification of NYC and then it has to do with the people that have been running it for the past, oh I don’t know 15- 20 years, the same people.

NYC nightlife when it was epic was not based on guys with money or celebs. It was based on the hard cores and you could always find the newest music and it was a creative forum. My favorite place in the last 20 years was Carmalitas, A Puerto Rican drag joint that the trend setters of that time made into a hot spot. Why was it great? Because it was authentic, the real deal, a mixture of glam and sleaze. Not like now, where the client sits and stares at models like animals in a zoo cage from across the room. Most of what is created now is set design. That’s all you can do. The crowd is not open to experience, or underground. Not to mention the fact that the underground is a bunch of skateboarders smoking blunts (or they are called hipsters, which still tells me nothing about anything, wallet chains and fedora hats).

This is where the problem really lies, in the crowd, the people are all closed-minded and want what they know. They want the same top 10 hits of the moment and a table of coked up models dragged in by some half wit promoter. Tables are now called real estate and the more you pay the closer to the zoo animals you can sit. The Box still has something, the only place I still go, but if club entertainment ends and begins with pole dancing and 3 minute acts I’m done with going out. The power clubs like 1 Oak and Avenue are just posers posing, no one has anything to say and if they did you can’t hear them. The light shows make me nauseous, and I think it’s possible to have a epileptic fit.

I don’t want to be that old school New Yorker preaching how much better it use to be, but it was.  It’s hard to blame the pimps that have been running our nightlife, they are just service industry people, serving the needs of the people to make enough money to keep up their life style. In the past there were criminals, artists and anti-culture archetypes. They were personalities. Now they are half-assed businessmen with insecurities and weird perversions, (like the need to stick their dick in barely legal girls from small American towns or Eastern Europe).

A Night Out at 1 Oak.
A Night Out at Avenue.

A Night Out at Kiss & Fly.



  1. There’s a good piece in today’s Times about “dressing up” again for nightlife…Suzanne Bartsch is the only one who can still manage to be relevant when it comes to mixing and matching personalities in NYC.

    What killed NY nightlife was David Sarner and bottle service, he proudly proclaimed this on an Urban Daddy promo piece with Belvedere, by “turning the tables into mini-bars,” he was able to let ANYONE with a credit card into a club and take over. This “go-go” money machine killed the diversity as club owners grew more and more greedy and forgot why people go out in the first place, they killed the dance floor by playing to the table service.

    We went from mega clubs in the 90’s (remember Peter Gatien?) to the lounge scene and smaller places to Marquis which reconciled the size of a mega (slightly, not really) club with the lounge scene, the dance floor there is almost an after thought. Now, we’re left with a mix of also-ran’s when it comes to a choice–and who wants to even go near the west side anymore with all that obnoxiousness–certainly not a real New Yorker (sorry).

    Good Units under the Hudson has a glimmer of bygone NYC clubs, its raw big and fun to get lost in, good luck to Josh and the crew from Morgans hotel to get it up and running in that ‘hood.

  2. so why the fu*k doesn’t someone get with someone with a ton of money and open a new club? i mean no matter what everyone looks for places to go and everyone will always love trendy so why not bring back the old, sell it as the new, well to “the new” and make a billion dollars and enjoy the nitelife again? shit, if i had the connections i could talk them into it, and you sound like you have the knowledge and the know how, everything old becomes new again, right? look, it’s NOT the same, it’ll NEVER be the same, it’s ALL different everywhere, in any sort of thing that was your thing when we were younger…ya know? but you are working with a marketable idea if you can find the investor you got a goldmine, thougth you didn’t? shit, EVERYONE loves transvestites and they love the 60s 70s and the 80s and there gots to be a lot of club goers loving the 90s too, work it out, i bet you can and if you need a hand, email me! why not? i figure you won’t but hey if you do and you end up becoming the next big hit on the scene, just make sure i get in the door, know what i mean? anyway, whatever you do, have fun, and be happy………see ya!

  3. Sad but true. I thought I was just getting old(ish) and jaded then spent some time in Montreal. You would think NYC could support one real club. And all the underground shits been gone from Newark for years. Sigh.

  4. I remember the first time I took you to Carmalita’s–you are not jaded–the club scene does suck–from top to bottom!!!

  5. 1 Oak is a dump. Place gets the worst crowd. Sorry mate, not a fan of those clubs that look like a Sushi restaurant in LA, 1 Oak, Avenue, SL etc… Places need some more character. Bring back the Beatrice…!!!!

  6. I don’t live in New York anymore, but you make it sound kind of depressing. Cheer up, winter’s right around the corner.

  7. Wonderful piece Stuart! There is a definite nostalgia for New York nightlife past these days, though I wish there were more of it. The Box is definitely one of the last ambassadors of old New York still standing…

  8. Barley legal girls.

    Agree, was carded and refused a drink at a place at 31 years of age in NYC recently.

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