‘Safe haven for freaks’: NYC’s iconic Pyramid Club closes after 41 years

The end of a business is so rarely the death knell for an era.

After over four decades hosting wild times, the East Village’s legendary Pyramid Club has announced that — as a result of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic — it will not reopen. 

Both Nirvana and the Red Hot Chili Peppers played their first NYC concerts at the iconic venue, and celebrities including Andy Warhol, Madonna, Debbie Harry, Keith Haring, RuPaul and others spent countless hours being inspired by the depraved music and beauty happening within its walls.

“We are another sad consequence of Covid-19,” the club’s final managers, Maria Narciso and Quirino Perez, wrote in an Instagram post Thursday. “The very last night we opened our doors was March 7, 2020.” 

The news came as a surprise to the pair, who were working on reopening plans and had recently received city and state permission to start operating again beginning April 2. Then came a text message from The Pyramid Club’s owner: After 41 years, the club would close. 

“For decades, managers have run The Pyramid Club with unfortunately very little communication from the owners,” the couple — who are engaged — told EV Grieve, which first reported the news. “We don’t know what their plans are, as they are very private people and rarely, if ever, talk about their business plans with us.”

FOR WOMENS PAGE

FOR WOMENS PAGE

The scene outside The Pyramid Club on May 18, 1997.

Gary Miller

Gothic Club Pyramid

Gothic Club Pyramid

Friends Christine Inauzzi, Andrea, Melina and Luna pose for a photo at The Pyramid Club in 2002. “Most everyone at the club refused to give a last name,” the photographer noted.

Anthony J. Causi

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The blow is especially devastating for Perez, who has worked at The Pyramid Club for more than 37 years. “They were his first and only employer since he began working in his teens,” said Narciso. 

While the club, like so many other beloved city venues, now has the death year of 2021 on its tombstone, its freshly amber-encased legacy transcends its 101 Avenue A home.  

“We want to remind you that The Pyramid Club is just a building, we are the Pyramid Spirit, it lives inside all of us, inside of YOU, and it will live on!” Narciso and Perez concluded their post, which is signed “Eternally yours.” 

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The DJ at The Pyramid Club on May 18, 1997.

Gary Miller

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pyramid-club-6

A dancer and a patron at The Pyramid Club on May 18, 1997.

Gary Miller

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And that “Pyramid Spirit” runs far deeper than the celebrity names which elevated the venue and its small, divey storefront to immortal icons of early queer and punk culture: The Pyramid Club was a shelter and inspiration for strange strangers of all walks, offering them a space to exist and build together. 

“It served as a safe haven for freaks, geeks, weirdos, queers, and dreamers to come together and create,” wrote Tricia Romano in her 2014 oral history of The Pyramid Club. “Sometimes it was bad; sometimes it was beautiful. But it was never boring.”

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The Pyramid Club in 2015.

Christian Johnston

The Pyramid Club, 101 Avenue A, New York, NY. exterior of a bar and club in the East Village neighborhood of Manhattan.. Image shot 11/2018. Exact date unknown.

The Pyramid Club, 101 Avenue A, New York, NY. exterior of a bar and club in the East Village neighborhood of Manhattan.. Image shot 11/2018. Exact date unknown.

The Pyramid Club in 2018.

Alamy Stock Photo

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