The Church of the Holy Communion on West 20th Street, better known as the infamous Limelight club, is one of the most amorphous properties in Manhattan. It’s gone from church to raucous club, to shopping mall, to gym, to restaurant in a remarkably short period. But Jue Lan Club, the latest restaurant to open in the old cathedral, is trying something different – embracing the buildings nebulous past.
In the 80s and 90s, the Limelight played host to club kids and Michael Alig’s legendary Disco 2000 parties. Drugs and wild costumes were de rigueur. But since the club closed in 2001, the property has had an identity crisis. Neither restaurants, nor malls have been able to establish firm roots in the converted church space.
But restaurateur Stratis Morfogen is trying to change that with his new Chinese effort, according to the New York Times.
“The history of New York City night life — it’s pretty incredible what this building represents,” he said. “You had Andy Warhol hosting events here. You had Keith Haring painting the stairs. You’ve got to embrace the art and history of this.”
Jue Lan Club pays tribute to the Limelight with menu items like a Club Kid cocktail, emerald-green banquettes and wallpaper created from photos of clubgoers.
Morfogen has also commissioned murals by “all the cool graffiti artists of Brooklyn,” he told the Times. “I wanted to embrace what’s cool now, and that’s graffiti.” No comment.