In the 1980s, the Palladium featured murals by Keith Haring, Jean-Michel Basquiat, and Francesco Clemente. The Limelight was housed in a church on Sixth Avenue, and the Tunnel featured real train tracks running through the dance floor as well as the Kenny Scharf Lava Lounge, designed by the artist.
In addition to educating and entertaining visitors, the nightlife museum will serve as an archive for a vast industry with a scholarly base that is widely distributed. “We’ve seen gallery exhibits on promoters and impresarios, and the old-timers and the newcomers. There's fashion, there’s music, there’s dance, there’s film, there’s audio, there’s photography—and flyers, invitations, and drink tickets,” Palitz lists.
Of course, the museum is just one of twenty-three recommendations in the report. Other suggestions include streamlining the processes for multi-agency permitting, inspections, and support, as well as introducing Sunday waste removal, coordinating the for-hire vehicle pickups in nightlife areas, and promoting and preserving the cultural history of New York’s nightlife. Within that last one is the proposal for the museum.
“[The report] encapsulates everything the office is trying to accomplish—and what the city is trying to accomplish in creating this office—to elevate the nightlife industry [and its] culture and history into a more prominent place where it will be appreciated, respected, and acknowledged,” Palitz explains.
“Nightlife has not always been seen as an asset to the city. It has all too often been seen as a danger or a blight that needs to be restricted,” she continues. “I’m hoping the Museum of Nightlife can shine a positive, more truthful and honest light on what [the city’s] nightlife has contributed, both economically and culturally. That’s the crux of what we want to accomplish.”