Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Limelight Angels

In the early 1990s, Andre "Angel" Melendez was a fixture at the Limelight nightclub. He was known for wearing his trademark white angel wings. In 1996, he was infamously murdered by club kid Michael Alig.

Angel Melendez

It was a particularly gruesome murder--he was hit in the head with a hammer, injected with Drano, and put on ice until his body began to decompose, then Alig chopped him to pieces and tossed him into the Hudson River.

Today, the Limelight is now the Limelight Marketplace, a high-end shopping mall.

Said Guest of a Guest at the grand opening this spring, "The ghost of Limelight past rolled in its grave...as the 6th Avenue church-cum-debauched megaclub reopened as a mini-mall."

Real New York Housewives, Limelight mall

Angel Melendez might have been rolling, too, had he seen what was at the Limelight this weekend.

The shopping mall has placed two greeters at the door--pretty people dressed in all-white with feathery angel wings.

Was this a grim homage?

Angels outside Limelight mall today

Inevitably, I thought of Melendez and his famous wings. You don't have to be a former Limelight regular to make that connection. Even if you don't remember the splashy headlines of 1996, and you didn't see the missing flyers posted all over the Village, you only had to see the 2003 movie Party Monster, starring Macaulay Culkin.

From Party Monster

So the question is: Did the marketing people who made this decision intend to reference the victim of a brutal murder and dismemberment? Or did they stumble upon the angel wings unaware of their significance to the Limelight?

I'm not sure which would be worse. Maybe, in the light of this new day, New York history is that easy to forget.


Suburban Guy said...

Hipster-izing the dead. We live in sad times.

EV Grieve said...

I'd like to think that the people responsible for dressing the greeters had absolutely no idea... and wanted to seem "heavenly" in front of this space. I hope that I'm right. Otherwise, this is incredibly horrific bad taste.

tattoedGenExer said...

Win for American capitalism. (I hate this world so much right now)

glamma said...

die die die

Carol Gardens said...

I give them the benefit of the doubt, since they have no sense of history, after all.

PS: I remember when Limelight opened, it was considered by some to be a huge affront to the religious nature of the space. The decorations and drugs and raunchiness and etc. were definitely thought to be in bad taste and then we all got used to it. Today's post is just another take on sacrilege--the holy object being a defunct nightclub...and not a particularly democratic one at that.

Anonymous said...

Are you kidding me? some folks will go to any length to find insult. let's not forget that Melendez wasn't exactly respecting anyone sensitivities as to the Limelight's sacred past with HIS costume...and himself, hardly a role model or praiseworthy community figure.

Anonymous said...

Hey Jeremiah, not sure if you've posted this at some point, but if not, you should: http://nymag.com/news/features/48277/

Laura Goggin Photography said...

I'm really surprised this marketplace is still living. I walked through it one afternoon a few months ago and, although there were hardly any customers, it felt extremely cramped and claustrophobic. I felt so uncomfortable, I couldn't imagine having an enjoyable shopping experience.

As for the wings, I'm guessing it's to do with the building's past as a church.

Jeremiah Moss said...

thanks Anon, i have seen that Hamill article. it's a good one, and worth a second read.

JakeGould said...

I think this is all coincidental as well. If these folks knew anything about the history of the place, they would have some kitschy gallery of photos (black and white of course) to “remember” the past.

That said, I had a mind-blowing experience when I first wandered into the newly refurbished place. You know when you’re an adult and visit an elementary school classroom and you’re amazed at how small the place seems? That’s exactly how I felt!

I wandered up to some room area that I remember being roped off and I was trying to get into in 1988 or 1989. And now, with the light and white walls and all that... Wow, what a small place!

I mourn the death of the place as a club, but it’s only a symptom of the larger gentrification of the neighborhood that has been going on for years.

Jason said...

Totally unnecessary.
In a city full of shops and stores, the new Limelight market only serves to remind one of the once lovely club scene that used to flourish in it's great halls. It's a sad trip for anyone that remembers the old Limelight and it's many great parties. Save yourself the pain and avoid that block. Maybe someday, it might be a club again.

Here's a link to some party pictures from the old Limelight: