At my office, there is a series of small conference rooms all inexplicably named after live concert venues and night clubs here in the city. It's not at all out of the ordinary to get an e-mail saying "noon conference in the Roxy" or "bi-annual re-org meeting in the Palladium." I've made personal calls in "Crash Mansion" and had a quiet chat with a confused colleague in "Culture Club." If I worked at, say, Rolling Stone or Blender, such a thing might make sense to me, but it just doesn't.
In any case, some of my colleagues had a meeting in "Limelight" today. Predictably, this sparked off a discussion about the actual old Limelight down on 6th Avenue, and we all traded war stories about our respective misadventures within the old converted-church-turned-nightclub's notorious walls. I mentioned a rumor I'd heard quite a while back that they were turning the formerly hallowed space into a shopping mall of sorts. After work, I decided to walk downtown on 6th Avenue for a change. As I made my way into the lower 20's, I passed the old church and coincidentally enough, the space has just opened up as an ersatz flea market of sorts. Unable to contain my curiosity I walked in and gazed around in incredulous awe. Back in the late 80's and early-to-mid 90's, I'd frequented the club. In its lofty apse, I'd seen favorite bands like Killing Joke, Swans, Gang of Four, New Model Army and Cop Shoot Cop perform (see above). I'd drank and danced and gotten lost within its twisty passages and done irresponsible things in its darker hallways. But that was all a long time ago.
As I stared around the main chamber -- now clogged with tables full of chintzy crap -- I could still recognize the room but had a hard time reconciling it. It looked smaller somehow. I snapped a few pictures (see below) while merchants eyed me suspiciously. I sighed and walked back out into the rain.
I've never been particularly religious, but on my way home I wondered which was more sacrilegious -- using a former church as a nightclub and live music venue, or using it as an ersatz flea market to sell gaudy $30 dollar t-shirts?
To see some shots of the Limelight as a performance space, check out Cop Shoot Cop's page. Below is how it looks today.