At midnight last Friday, hopeful participants into the Jane Ballroom waited behind the velvet rope, trembling and patient. Lines were long on Jane Street, as revelers lined up to celebrate the last evening the nightclub was open to the public.
The ballroom, inside the Jane Hotel in the West Village, was packed with a capacity of 275 people. The crowd is a mix of former employees – party orderers, DJs, bartenders – going back to the time of its opening in 2009, along with 20-somethings and college students looking for furniture. Drinks and receptions to climb.
Carlos Quirarte and Matt Kliegman, who run the departing ballroom, chat with actor Justin Theroux, their partner in the Chrystie Street pub, Ray’s Bar.
For years, the ballroom was greeted by throngs of celebrities, plush velvet couches, potted plants concealing love and the feeling you’ve just walked into a relative’s empty mansion. eccentric. The venue, which includes a rooftop bar, will be closed to the public in anticipation of the building being sold to hotelier Jeff Klein.
It’s a destination for young celebrities such as Lindsay Lohan, Kirsten Dunst and Mary-Kate Olsen and is home to fashion shows — Cynthia Rowley in 2009 — and parties that follow, including Thakoon in 2010 and Rodarte 2016.
The building is being taken over by Mr. Klein, the hotelier behind the Sunset Tower Hotel in West Hollywood, Calif. At the time a series private club opened throughout Manhattan, Klein plans to turn the ballroom and other non-guest spaces into a members-only club, SVB New York City. It will be modeled after him Chalet San Vicente in West Hollywood.
The hotel itself, which has shared bathrooms and cabin rooms originally built for sailors, will remain open to the public. Membership fees in New York will be $150 per month for those under 35 and $350 for those above. Opening date has not been announced.
“New York is a rapidly changing city,” said Kliegman. “You have to be ready to grow or change, and the winds of change are upon us.”
Commercial Pier to Bohemian Enclave
With its key location overlooking the Hudson River, the building offers a close-up view of the neighborhood’s progress over the past century.
In 1908, the American Seamen’s Friends Society, a religious charity dedicated to the moral well-being of sailors, opened the building as an alternative to the squalid hotels and motels in the vicinity. approached to serve men from the many ocean-going ships docked in the north. of Jane Street.
Most notably, in 1912, the society provided food, clothing, and a prayer service for The crew survived of the Titanic. At various points, the YMCA and by the 1950s That’s the Jane West Hotel. RuPaul Charles, performer and TV presenter, live in the tower’s penthouse in the 1980s.
In 1998, the hit rock musical “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” release in the Riverview Hotel then and in 2001, the musical “Tick, Tick… Boom!” by Jonathan Larson! was also shown there.
‘This strange house in New York’
The hotel’s colorful past has intrigued developers. “It looks like the house Wes Anderson used to use,” said Sean MacPherson, hotelier and restaurateur who, along with owners Eric Goode, Ira Drukier and Richard Born, took over the hotel in 2008 with owners Eric Goode, Ira Drukier and Richard Born. for ‘The Royal Tenenbaums’.
“I tried to develop it like this quirky New York house,” said Mr. MacPherson. He transformed the space from Hotel Riverview, a rundown house with bulletproof glass in the lobby and the gray painted exterior of a warship, into Hotel Jane. He designed the interior by himself, including the ballroom.
After the hotel opened, he invited nightlife producers Mr. Quirarte and Mr. Kliegman, who were hosting parties downtown at the time. The couple also recently opened a restaurant called Smile on Bond Street.
With the ballroom, Mr. MacPherson wanted to create an unusual note full of charm. Mr. Quirarte and Mr. Kliegman, hardly the domineering nightlife umpire of Studio 54’s Steve Rubell or the downtown queen bee Amy Sacco, are party men to monsters. party, suitable for the relaxed atmosphere of the ballroom.
“The big bottle and model scene, we were never good at it. That is not our thing. Mr. Quirarte said. “Our friends are artists and creators. Jocks, nerds, artists. Just everyone.”
This “Breakfast Club” nightlife ideal has been clicked. “It’s the living room of downtown New York,” said James Cruickshank, former director of nightlife at the ballroom. “You can’t always call a nightclub ‘cozy’.”
After the ballroom opened in June 2009, things started immediately. “It started with a big bang,” Mr. Quirarte said.
‘An Olsen here, an Olsen there’
Musician and producer Mark Ronson has DJed at Jane, as has Thom Yorke of Radiohead – always unannounced. PJ Monte, who was a DJ at Jane’s for a decade, remembered Julia Fox, Paloma Elsesser and Richie Shazam in the crowd and “an Olsen here, an Olsen there.”
Mr. Quirarte felt the explosion reverberate into the street. Before long, neighbors had gathered to complain about noise and disruption in the property caused by revelers. An enterprising neighbor, Anthony Locane, wrote a sarcastic message to the Olsen twins published in The magazine. New York Post Office.
“Dear Mary-Kate and Ashley,” it wrote. “I think I should be writing to both of you on behalf of all the little kids here in the neighborhood who have lost sleep since the club opened. They thank you for allowing them to stay up past bedtime.”
Media attention and the efforts of neighbors resulted in the ballroom being closed for seven months.
(Reached to comment on news that the ballroom would be closing, Mr. Locane said: “No love is lost. Not at all!” He has moved to the Upper East Side.)
The club reopens on Spring 2010, and it worked again. Angelo Bianchi, a former doorman at the Beatrice Inn, was brought in and moved the door inside to reduce street noise.
“What makes Jane special is that she is very open to young people, to people who do interesting things,” Mr. Bianchi said. “It was a euphoric atmosphere.”
Author Marnell Cat recalls standing on the steps of the Jane Hotel, smoking a cigarette of Parliament one evening in May 2011 when Courtney Love, her idol, stepped out of a black car in town, in a suit champagne dress.
Ms. Marnell and Ms. Love were both at the hotel to celebrate the launch of the XOJane.com website, where Ms. Marnell is the beauty editor.
“It was the best night,” she said, observing musician Michael Stipe; Jane Pratt, editor and radio host; and Miss Love chatted in front of the fireplace in the hotel’s spacious ballroom. Mrs. Love threw cigarettes into the fire.
“I’ll miss it, but it’s already running,” Miss Marnell said. She gave the scene with Ms. Love into her 2017 memoir, “How to Murder Your Life,” and plans to include a scene from her 30th birthday, held at Jane Ballroom in 2012, into the novel “chick.” -lit noir” coming out soon. .
The cozy and easygoing atmosphere Mr. Quirarte and Mr. Kliegman hoped to create has come at a cost.
“We fix the furniture every weekend,” Mr. Quirarte said, referring to guests using high heels to tear the upholstery and break the legs of the chair.
Once, a guest managed to leave with a life-sized stuffed peacock hidden under a pile of coats. A disco ball hanging in the middle of the ballroom is rumored to belong to Studio 54.
“We couldn’t stop that rumor,” Mr Quirrarte said. The truth is that the ball came from Mr MacPherson’s home in Los Angeles at the time, he said.
Mr. Quirarte remembers Snoop Dogg and Woody Harrelson as memorable patrons. Former Governor Eliot Spitzer, who resigned in 2008 after it was discovered that he was involved in a prostitution ringbeen at the ballroom a few times over the years.
“I thought, ‘He should stay home, what is he doing here?’” Mr. Quirarte said. “I guess he just doesn’t care anymore.”
Guests fondly recall the freedom of a pre-Instagram world in the ballroom’s early years.
“Going out is really hanging out,” says Yale Breslin, a creative producer who was a regular at the ballroom during her early years. “You don’t have to worry about the photo, the caption, the filter, who’s going to see it, when you post it.”
Last jump on the couch
More recently, the ballroom has explored its theatrical past, with evenings featuring live events and readings. Performers Annie Hamilton did a residency earlier this year that included two shows that recounted her candid anecdotes and intimate missteps. She recently returned to Jane as part of the New York Comedy Festival. “I love performing there because you can be on the floor, like in the living room, talking to people,” she said.
She went to Jane as a teenager while in college and has mixed feelings about its new chapter. “I was sad to see it go, but I love the San Vicente Bungalows,” she said.
Outside on Friday, there was a similar mix of emotions. “It’s the end of an era,” says Niambi Moore, a stylist. “I was a little sad, but I was ready to get up one last time, to jump on the couch one last time,” she added.
“It’s an interesting place,” said Dean Holmes, an economics student at Columbia University. One of the best music venues.” For the ballroom to become a private club? “I have no objection,” he said. “I like places like that.”
Mr MacPherson said he and other owners have not put the property on the market. “The hotel is not for sale, but Jeff approached us and we made a deal,” he said. The sale is expected to be completed within the next month.
Mr. Kliegman and Mr. Quirarte, who just opened Pebble Bar near Rockefeller Center, currently undergoing renovations to Smile restaurant in NoHo, in addition to operating the Georgia Room and Bar Calico inside the Freehand Hotel. Mr. MacPherson Latest project is a renovation of the Chelsea hotel.
Back at the ballroom around 1:00 a.m., “Unholy” by Sam Smith and Kim Petras sound on speakers as patrons perform their legacy of dancing on the room’s table one last time.
Pieces of light reflected off the disco ball and bounced off the crown-shaped moldings of the room. Beneath the chipped awning, the breadth of history is wide – from Titanic survivors, who gathered in prayer, to partygoers who danced to praise a place they had visited. will miss.
“It’s a building with a history that you can’t fake,” said Mr Kliegman.