Neighbors Lament Upcoming Closure of Roseland Ballroom

By Kristina Skorbach
Kristina Skorbach
Kristina Skorbach
Kristina Skorbach is a Canadian correspondent based in New York City covering entertainment news.
October 21, 2013 Updated: October 21, 2013

NEW YORK—The Theater District may soon lose a long-standing star, and some of its neighbors are already mourning the news.

According to a Friday report citing an internal email obtained by The Billboard, one of the oldest trade magazines specializing in music, the Roseland Ballroom, a popular concert venue in Midtown Manhattan, will be closing in April.

A concert producer, and the venue’s promoter, both confirmed the upcoming closure to the New York Times.

One of the ticket booth workers at a nearby theater also confirmed the news, citing the security guards at the Roseland as the source. The guards had been notified as their jobs were at stake, the person said.

On Sunday afternoon, the venue’s voicemail box was full and no one answered the phone.

“It’s an awesome venue,” said Erich Stollberger who works at The Neil Simon Theatre across the street. Stollberger had not heard the news, but said it’s “terrible.” He’s worked at the Neil Simon for about 14 years.

Stollberger has seen The Doors, and the Further, a rock band founded by two former Grateful Dead members, at the Roseland.

“It’s a big happy party,” he said about the concerts. Although unhappy with the news, he said he’d like to see the venue go back to the “majestic ballroom” that it was before the ’80s.

The Roseland was founded by Lou Brecker in 1919, but it only moved into its current 52nd Street location in 1958, taking over a space previously used as a skating rink. The venue was run by Brecker’s daughter, Nancy Brecker Leeds.

After her father passed away in the late ’70s, Brecker Leeds reportedly introduced disco to the venue, wanting to change it’s image of “haven for lonely hearts,” according to the New York Times. Four years later, she sold the club to developer Albert Ginsberg.

Nestor Bouchamp, who has been working at the Novotel hotel across the street for almost three decades, said the closure is a loss.

“I was outside and I saw people walking out and talking about it,” Bouchamp said. He heard the news on Saturday. Bouchamp frequented concerts at the ballroom in the ’80s and ’90s, and said he’s seen Grammy Award winning salsa artist Marc Anthony, and Madonna concerts there with his wife.

“It’s a classic, the Roseland,” he said. He said the venue threw spectacular concerts, however, it could use a little “shape up.”

The Roseland Ballroom has hosted some of the most iconic performers known in the music industry, including Frank Sinatra, Sting, and the Rolling Stones. It also hosted various functions, like Hillary Clinton’s birthday in 2000.

During concerts, the hall could hold up to 3,200 standing audiences.

The club’s owner, Laurence Ginsberg has announced neither the impending closure, nor the reason for it.

Kristina Skorbach is a Canadian correspondent based in New York City covering entertainment news.