Reigning and accommodating New York’s underground electronic dance music scene for almost 12 years strong, Sullivan Room was mandated to shutdown their doors with only twelve hours notice last Wednesday. The owner, Sergei aka Serge decided to hold a candlelight vigil on Friday night. Loyal patrons and staff met at the Washington Square Park at 7 pm and then started marching to the Sullivan Room at 8 pm to celebrate the lifespan and memories of 218 Sullivan Street.
Saddened that there wasn’t an opportunity to have a last farewell party, patrons, artists, promoters, Sullivan owners and DJs used social media and Friday night to show their respect to one of the few last standing underground music venues in Manhattan. The last night was magical as music industry peeps paid their respect. Among the crowd were Agent Orange, Down Deep, Andrew Voigt, Michael Arana, and John Dill to name a few.
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One of their loyal patrons Chantal Perez had some thoughtful words to say about her favorite NYC staple,
“…Sullivan Room holds a big part of my young adult life and how I met many of my close friends who to this day hold a special place in my heart. In all honesty, we come into this world alone and we leave it alone. Sullivan Room was a lot more to me than just a social scene. It was a place where I would come to feel the spiritual meaning of what music really is to a person. It was a chance to enter a deeper state of consciousness and reflect on the person who I’ve become, am becoming and who I have yet to be.”
Sullivan Room was an addiction for many in a happy sense of the word. Many of the sets could make someone cry with tears of joy and could make someone feel alive. It was a haven for musical memories.
The final night of the Sullivan Room was filmed by the gatekeeper and famous doorman, A.K. for three hours. With a documentary in the works, the film will showcase the memories and essence of what the regulars know the Sullivan Room as “the Basement.”
The Sullivan Room followed in the tradition of its dance predecessors- Limelight, Twilo, Tunnel, Palladium, and Vinyl to name a few and was forced to shutter with Mayor Giuliani’s and Bloomberg’s attempts to clean the city. “They say this is the ‘city that never sleeps,’” says Danielle Desmond from ClubPlanet. “But they are putting it to sleep.”
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218 Sullivan Street holds it history during a time where the dust was still settling post-9/11. Hoping to be a gleam of hope as the city struggled to recover, Sullivan Room was born. The doors opened on New Year’s Eve, December 2001. The first night was packed, setting the tradition for many more nights at capacity.
Serge, Sullivan Room’s founder said, “We never had a sign in the front, I felt that this would be a good time top cheer people up. I was surprised to see not only the underground scene there but for the grand opening we also saw Britney Spears and Bobby Williams from Page Six. We even had Ashton Kutcher and Kristen Dunst (who was a regular), Jennifer Connelly, Matt Dillon, and the highlight from someone who started her career in clubs, Madonna and her boyfriend. She visited the club with no security right after her divorce from Guy Ritchie.”
Despite its celebrity guest list, Sullivan Room was one of the only places in NYC still courageous enough to experiment and bring in talent globally that normal promoters would not give a chance.
Serge prides himself with some of what made 218 Sullivan Street special, “Sullivan Room was still one of the first clubs that was bringing electronic DJs on a weekly basis while the bigger clubs in NYC only had big name resident DJs. We were experimenting with international talents that were new and still underground. When we started the music scene back then had a different formula and were only concerned about packing a club with well-known DJs. No one wanted to deal with round trip tickets, hotels and take a chance on whether a fresh set of DJs would work out. But, that’s how we started, with a different approach on different flavors from around the world, Australia, Italy, Israel, you name it. We were mostly house music but you can ask anyone that you got to experience something different each week and not listen to the same DJs every time.”
Sullivan Room took a lot of chance on bedroom DJs and was the spring board for once undiscovered talent such as Adultnapper. Even Tony Touch had his Funkbox NYC parties on Sunday at the Basement. This is not the end of Serge’s impact and dedication to keeping the dance music industry alive in New York.
The trailer for the documentary of Sullivan Room will be out before the end of the year. Serge also has other projects coming out with his group, Greener Grass and his solo production name SRSerge, both via Sullivan Room Records. In the meantime, he wants to clear his mind from this unseen and sudden closing and travel and explore the world a little.
While it is a let down for many New Yorkers, the memories will never die. My experience with Sullivan Room was one of the best birthday nights I had while Dr.Kucho and Zenbi were playing that night. So on that note, we will leave you with some quotes and pictures from music industry peoples paying their respects to 218 Sullivan Street.
I don’t want to say rest in peace, may you, forever live!
“Thank you Sullivan Room NYC. You had an amazing run, and I am so happy to have been a part of those 12 years from the very start. Expect great things from the people behind this venue in the future!” Jesse aka”The Scumfrog”
“I have had the pleasure to have my weekly “Tronic Treatment” party at Sullivan room for several years while I lived in New York. It was a great intimate club with a thumping sound system and a great crowd. In what other city in the world can you have a successful weekly Monday night techno party? I have loads of great memories from Sullivan Room!” Christian Smith
“I’m honored to be a part of something legendary. Playing Sullivan Room was one of the gigs I looked forward to the most. A real proper House/Techno club with an amazing crowd. I’ve met some amazing people there and made some even better friends. I want to say a big thank you to Serge and Gene for giving me the opportunity to be one of the residents. The club is gone. But the legend lives. Long live Sullivan Room. Big love." Silky.
“Sullivan Room was a real NYC gem. A dark and intimate space where clubbers could escape from a stressful week and lose their inhibitions on the dance floor. It was one club where what truly mattered was your love for quality dance music, not who you were or how much money you had. There were so many amazing nights in the big apple that I have Sullivan Room to thank for, and while all good parties must eventually come to an end, it is definitely bittersweet to see this club go.” Ryan Saltzman – Co-Owner, The Bullitt Agency
“…Even though it’s a great club, Sullivan was not just a club, it was a family, and I am happy to be part of such a great family. ” Shlomi Aber
“Like everyone I was unhappy to hear about the force shout down of the infamous Sullivan Room NYC. Sullivan was a very important institute for 12 years in NYC underground night life. I played there twice and since the first time, I had a special connection to the venue and to Serge and Gene. Like the cliché says, when one door closes another open. Viva la Sullivan!” Gel Abril