A New York City nightclub has made it past the velvet ropes to city landmark status.
On Mar. 19, the New York City Landmarks Commission bestowed that designation to Webster Hall, built in 1886. The move may prevent the building from being torn down for 20- and 30-story dormitories and hotels, like several others on the same block.
"In the area where Webster Hall is, we've been losing a lot of historic buildings," says Andrew Berman, executive director of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, which pushed for the designation. "On the same block, we lost a 19th-century church, St. Ann's, for a 26-story dorm. We did not want to see the same thing happen to Webster Hall."
The diocese of New York sold the nearby 1847 church to a developer in 2004 for $15 million. Now that Webster Hall is landmarked, it is unlikely to meet the same fate.
"Webster Hall is an incredibly important part of New York City's heritage, not only for its style and design but also for the myriad concerts, political meetings, conventions and sporting events that were held there in the past 121 years," Commission Chairman Robert B. Tierney said in a statement.
The building has hosted labor rallies, costume bacchanals, and political protests, according to the society. During Webster Hall's stint as a recording studio, Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, and Julie Andrews sang there.