Located at 125, East 11th street in Manhattan, New York City, Webster Hall is a magnificent architectural splendor spanning over 40,000 square foot that has been serving as a nightclub, a venue for concerts and also as a recording venue ever since it’s construction in 1886. It is situated near Astor Place and was recently designated by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission as a city landmark. Previously bearing the name of The Ritz, this structure can be classified or understood to be comprised of three units: Grand Ballroom, Marlin Room and the Studio.
It was initially built in 1886 by an architect called Charles Rentz. Six years later, the same architect was given the task of designing an addition to the building with the motive of expanding it further. It was designed in the Renaissance Revival Style and similar materials that were used in the construction were made use of in the renovation too. This is one of the most historical hall as it has been used for various social events of all categories ranging from weddings, meetings, labor union rallies, parties and fundraisers ever since its construction. In 1916, it was used as the headquarters of the International Ladies’ Garment Workers Union. It has a name for being a venue to some of the most elite gatherings of New York and also as a gathering spot for people with leftist, socialist and anarchist ideologies.
It was only during the 1950s that it became a venue for concerts which were being performed by well-known performers. The Webster Hall became more known as Webster Hall Studios during this year as it was largely used for recordings. The who’s who of music back then recorded in the studio which included famous artists like Frank Sinatra, Peter Nero, Perry Como, July Andrews, Ray Charles etc. Bob Dylan also played harmonica in a recording that took place here.
However, in 1970, the Webster Hall was purchased by Casa Galicia of New York, a cultural organization of the people of Galicia in Spain and they still hold the ownership rights of the Webster Hall.
Later in the 1980s, this was re-opened as a venue for rock performances, as this was gaining trend. Also known as the “best stage in NYC”, which was termed by Prince, several famous rock-bands including Metallica, Guns N’ Roses, Aerosmith and Prince performed on this stage during the 1980s.
In 1992, the Ballinger Brothers got eyeballs rolling by unveiling the restored Webster Hall, which was upgraded with a state of the art technology of audio, video and lighting installed in place. After this, this venue hosted multiple events of music simultaneously that involved two to three different genres catering up to 2000 people at once. This opened doors for all the concerts and Mick Jagger, Madonna and Bill Clinton used this as a venue for their events. In 2007, one of the most popular albums of Linkin Park, Minutes to Midnight was filmed in The Webster Hall Studios. The club entered into a partnership to bring various acts such as Sonic Youth, Infected Mushrooms, The Hives, Modest Mouse, John Butler and John Mayer to the main stage. A new room for various performances, with a capacity of 300-400 was opened in October 2008.
With the real estate boom taking place in the early 21st century, there was a dire need to protect this from building from the land sharks. The Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation intervened and provided the Landmarks Preservation Commission reports of an extensively conducted research on the history of Webster Hall prompting them to give this site a “landmark” tag. Their efforts were successful and bore results concluding with this building being classified as a landmark in 2008 by the Landmarks Preservation Commission.
FUNCTIONING OF THE CLUB
The owners of the club claim to have made an “indelible mark” on the nightlife of NYC and there are so much arguments to this claim as it is inarguably one of the best New York clubs for one to experience a truly happening night life. The NY club is open on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights of every week. The four storied building springs into life on these three days of every week. Around half a million people frequent this club every year. This is made possible as there are three international stages present in Webster Hall. Apart from the weekly parties, the club is also famous for its annual events such as Webster Hell, also known as the Halloween and the New Year’s Eve Ball which are attended by a large number of people. With a history of 128 years of being a venue for various activities, this nightlife venue continues to be a major player in clubs in Manhattan, New York City.