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Roseland Ballroom: Your Stories

With the famed nightclub set to close, we're collecting your memories

Friday, April 04, 2014

Another storied New York concert venue is about to close its doors: Roseland Ballroom will cease operations on April 7, after a stylish sendoff/residency from Lady Gaga.

Say goodbye to Roseland Ballroom by sharing a memory of a great concert, a great run-in or a legendary evening. Post your story below, tweet us @Soundcheck, or leave us a voicemail at 866-939-1612

We've included your stories in our look back at Roseland Ballroom today, part of our occasional series Vanished Venues. We also talked with music writer Ira Robbins and New York Times writer Lori Holcomb-Holland, who compiled a timeline of Roseland's history

Comments [6]

Noah Lehrman from New York City

From the dancing all night at the Jammy Awards to browsing rock pins for sale downstairs amidst the coat-check rodeo, memories of Roseland remain indelibly ingrained in brain under the heading of youth, music, and New York City. My most formative experience at the Ballroom has to be May 23, 2000, when I scored a bracelet outside to see Phish play, with two of my dearest college friends by my side. That night so seared my synapses, especially the set break spent splayed on the floor down front, that I wrote a song about the evening on the spot while still there. In honor of today's closing of Roseland, this morning on the day of the final performance April 7, 2014, I re-recorded a special solo version of the song written at and about the Ballroom almost fourteen years ago - https://soundcloud.com/noahlehrman/swinging . Thanks to all those performers, staff, dancers and audience members who helped Roseland help make me the musician, music fan, and rager that I am today! Rodeo!

Apr. 07 2014 02:25 PM
matt from new brunswick

einsturzende neubauten. the only instrument i recognized on the stage was a guitar. - blix set a clorox bottle on fire, held a mic up to the whirring plastic drips and told a story in german. it was special.

Apr. 04 2014 09:26 PM
Patricia from NYC

In 1971 I lived with a roommate one flight above Gallegher's Steak House, right across 52nd Street from "Roseland Dance City." Our plush, roaring-twenties style apartment was sublet, fully furnished, from a friend's rich mother in Connecticut. The mother was a show-girl from the flapper days who married well, and we were poor art students from Cooper Union.
Often we'd sit in the full-length french windows to take in the amazing costumes on "The Street." 52nd.
Next to Roseland there was a (pimp) bar--I want to call it Snookies but that can't be right--where splendid men dressed in head-to-toe crushed velvet lime green or burgundy sateen suits (matching oversized hats and bizarre platform shoes) would exit complex, multi-toned limos--pea green with cream leatherette cabriolets and the like. Flocks of girls in hot pants or micro skirts would accompany them into the bar.
But the craziest times were when the ballroom couples arriving for a dance at Roseland--women in Shirley Temple sissy-pink and lavender crinolines extending 4' out from their wasp-waists with Miss-Yvonne-stupendous-hair, and their almost-Liberace partners would mix with the crowd from the 'working-girls' bar. It was a time of costumes, the early 70's.
I haven't thought of that crazy scene for years. My roommate was photography student back then but we weren't brave enough to take any pictures. It was all somehow scary. Also, Jilly's Bar, hangout of Frank Sinatra and his good buddies was a few doors down that same block (but on our side of the street so we didn't have a view) and Barbara and I just had a sense it wasn't a place to be seen with a camera. New York was a bit menacing back then. So each morning we'd step over the night-before detritus in our Dr Scholl sandals, jeans & Danskins. We lugged our art projects back to Astor Place. We survived.

Apr. 04 2014 04:10 PM
Jenny from Upper Westside, NYC

Roseland was literally in my backyard as I lived on 8th Ave between West 52nd and West 53rd for 6 years. I just recently moved to the Upper Westside 7 months ago. I loved having Roseland just a brief 30 second walk outside the front door of my building as I love music and going to concerts. I used to play a fun game on my way to work as I walked on West 53d which is the backdoor of Roseland where the tour buses would park. I would try to guess from the look of the tour bus who was playing at Roseland that night. The buses were often non-descript and did not have any names written on the sides. The most tricked out, elegant, impressive bus I ever saw at Roseland had chandeliers that could be seen through open shades. I was floored when I found out whose bus it was...it was Motorhead! Ice Cube had the biggest tour bus that was a quarter of a city block long. His name was written prominently on the side so there was no guessing who owned it. The most interesting concert I saw at Roseland was Madonna who did a very quick concert as a promotion for her new album, Hard Candy in 2008. Justin Timberlake was there as a surprise guest. I am going to the final night at Roseland on Monday night with some friends to see Lady Gaga. I have to be there as Roseland was my home away from home for so many years. I have to be there to say a final good-bye.

Apr. 03 2014 01:32 PM
Jason from Brooklyn, NY

Ugh, let's be honest, the Roseland was a terrible place to see a concert. It was a dancehall and built like one. The venue was long and narrow, which meant even in a non-sold out show, you were always super far away from the stage. The stage was low and there were no risers, which also made it hard to see the band. The sound was terrible and the location was awful. New York City has so many better places to see music now, we're better off without the Roseland.

Apr. 01 2014 09:28 PM
Karyn from NYC

So many great memories...mostly in the late eighties to grungy early 90s. Got to see Love & Rockets, Beastie Boys, Alice in Chains ( w/ Layne Staley), Pantera, Sonic Youth, et al. Last show was in June 2013 for Kings of the Mic tour featuring Public Enemy, Ice Cube, De la Soul and LL Cool J. Roseland will be missed!

Mar. 31 2014 08:54 PM

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