East Village mainstay Pyramid Club, which has served as a neighborhood institution and longtime drag, punk and dance venue since the 1980s, has permanently closed.
Managers Maria Narciso and Quirino Perez made the announcement on Instagram on Thursday morning. They wrote that the shuttering of the 41-year-old club, which had been closed since March 7th, 2020, was due to the pandemic.
"It is with the most sad and heavy heart that we must announce to our local and worldwide community and family that The Pyramid Club NYC will not reopen. We are another sad consequence of COVID-19," they wrote. "We’ve patiently waited for over a year, and we never thought that we’d permanently close. Our hearts go to YOU, our community, who’ve kept us going over these past 41 years, as well as other nightclubs, live music venues, and theaters, businesses that, like us, have suffered the most from this 'Pause' and are facing our very same predicament."
The Pyramid Club opened on Avenue A in 1979. It first gained popularity as a punk and drag club that was known as "a safe haven for freaks, geeks, weirdos, queers, and dreamers to come together and create," according to this excellent oral history of the venue from 2014. Bands including Fear, GWAR, Lydia Lunch, and he Butthole Surfers all performed there; both the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Nirvana reportedly played some of their first NYC gigs there.
The Pyramid Club was also an influential platform for emerging drag artists and performers including the likes of John Kelly, Larry Tee, Antony Hegarty of Antony and the Johnsons, RuPaul and Lady Bunny. The club also helped bankroll the original Wigstock, the renowned drag festival started by Lady Bunny which first took place at nearby Tompkins Square Park in 1985.
"I felt that the drag shows served a bit as kind of like USO shows that would entertain the troops because, I think that anything having to do with gay or queerness back then, especially in the East Village, was kind of politicized, even if you weren’t embracing that entirely," drag performer Linda Simpson said in that oral history of the club. "I felt like drag queens were the cheerleaders in some way. It was a welcome relief, in some way, to have some comedy and to have some campiness going on."
Narcisco expanded on the circumstances of the closure with EV Grieve. "Quirino and I never doubted that The Pyramid Club would reopen. Throughout 2020, and as recently as two weeks ago, we’ve worked on plans to reopen," she said.
Although the managers wanted to reopen with a food menu and socially-distanced dance floor, the owners of the venue informed them by text message recently that they were throwing in the towel. "With no relief in the near future, or clear requirements/restrictions for reopening, not to mention the loss of being shuttered over a year, The Pyramid Club owners decided to close," Narcisco added.
As of April 2nd, arts and entertainment venues in NYC can begin reopening at 33% capacity, with an indoor max of 100-150 attendees. Despite that, many venues and music clubs told Gothamist they don't necessarily feel equipped to reopen yet with such low capacity numbers.
Narcisco and Perez (who also goes by DJ TM.8) will continue hosting some of their popular Pyramid Club dance events at other venues in the city; The Rapture Dark ’80s and Obsession Friday will happen at Eris in Williamsburg, and Temptation Saturday will take place at DROM.
You can read a few tributes to the club below.