Disappointment isn't exclusive to New York, but the high cost of living does make the feeling especially prevalent here. The nightlife squares it. You work hard all week and then head out into the evening to decorate bars, clubs, warehouses, and liquor stores with your money, all in the hope that you'll maybe have a good time. In New York City, fun is a high-risk, low-reward endeavor.
Disappointment kills some clubs off, allows them to fulfill their free-market destinies as apartments, high-end gyms, coffee shops, or just empty spaces. But when clubs die––in fairness, for all kinds of reasons––their Yelp reviews tend to outlive them. With the ongoing gentrification of NYC seen as an unwitting or targeted assault on nightlife, depending on your viewpoint, I wanted to collate an unspoken history of going out in this city, of the clubland portals that are no more. So I scoured the internet for reviews of the clubs and bars that have gone the way of all things, and looked up their addresses to pair these reveler reviews with Google Street View screengrabs of what the buildings have become.
In some of the testimonies I found, I recognized experiences of my own, experiences that should be universal to anyone who's ever found themselves expensively disorientated late at night in this city. I was 17 when I entered my first club, inhaling the sweat and sin at East Flatbush's Café Alta, where the girls gyrated in their halter-tops and the boys thrust their crotches into the humid air. I partied a year later at Club Gravity in Crown Heights without incident, but my homeboy told me later that I was there on a good night: He heard stories of guys purposely being thrown off balconies. What type of degenerate throws someone off a balcony in a nightclub?
Alas, neither club is listed below because nobody reviewed them on Yelp. Memories from Club Gravity and Café Alta will die with my generation, when we breathe our last breaths, like tears in the rain. But the clubs below are immortalized through Yelp. Read on for tales of people suffering extreme disappointment due to absurd cover charges, choke holds, too much nudity, not enough nudity, gun fights, and Satan.
THE ELECTRIC WAREHOUSE
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