Monarch, a new upscale restaurant, has moved into a long-empty warehouse at 408 West 15th, next to the soon-vanishing Prince Lumber.
408 W. 15th (a few years ago)
The owners told The Observer that the warehouse was "unoccupied for 30 years and home to old abandoned cars." The new space, they said, is meant to be “old warehouse meets a 1920s club room... sophisticated and comfortable yet [with] the intrinsic architectural quality of the neighborhood and New York as a whole." (Did it open yet? Zagat has a preview.)
What they don't mention is that Monarch is in the space once occupied by the famous gay club Crisco Disco.
408 W. 15th: Crisco Disco
In his book Turn the Beat Around, Peter Shapiro recalls the club's giant Crisco can DJ booth, the sleaze, the "wanton open sex," and the drugs. Everyone, said music producer Ian Levine, was "drugged out of their mind, completely drug fucked. No one ever got to go home with anyone because they were just out of it."
The website Disco-Disco has a few fascinating tidbits about the place. The owner, Hank, "used to invite attractive people into his VIP room where a huge pile of blow the size of a card table would be waiting." In Blondie's song "Rapture," the line "Flash is fast, Flash is cool" refers to a "well known coke and heroin dealer who hung out in the club." And Crisco Disco also had a bartender "who would only drink the urine of his lover and kept a glass of it on the bar."
Don't miss Disco Music's amazing page of 1980s photos from Crisco Disco, featuring the Crisco can DJ booth ("it's digestible"), and many fabulous-looking people--in tangerine furs and shiny gold pants, with names like Lonny, Tony, Mindy, and Hank.
We can add this one to the list of what's become of this area's raunchy queer havens.
Men in Leather