I love the ’80s. Not just because I was born in 1989, but because it was the final decade that grittiness and the cheap, run-down apartments that made creativity possibility characterized my city. There are still a few spots where you can get a glimpse of what this era in New York history was like, and the Pyramid Club is one of them.
When the Pyramid opened on Avenue A in 1979, Alphabet City was considered beyond the ‘edge of civilization’ in Manhattan. At the time, discos like Studio 54 were dominating the music scene. But downtown personalities from drag queens like RuPaul to pop artists like Madonna put the spot on the map in the ’80s.
Later on, big names like Nirvana and Red Hot Chili Peppers both performed their first New York show at the club. And while the world outside changed significantly, inside the club today a lot has stayed the same – cocktails are still served in small, plastic cups and the walls are covered with 30 years of graffiti.
For the role it played in New York’s downtown nightlife scene, the building in which the club is located, achieved landmark status in 2012, preserving a spot where the grit and grime of East Village’s recent past is still (to a certain extent) alive.