|City||New York City|
|Owned by||David Mancuso|
The Loft is the location for the first underground dance party (Love Saves the Day) that was created by David Mancuso on February 14, 1970, in New York City. Since then, the term The Loft has come to represent Mancuso's own version of a non-commercial party where no alcohol, food, or beverages are sold. Mancuso's vision of a private party is similar to, and inspired by the rent party and house party. Unlike conventional nightclubs or discotheques, attendance is by invitation only. In the early 1980s, Mancuso abandoned the generally accepted and expected practice of beatmatching, preferring to play songs in their entirety on his renowned audiophile-quality sound system, considered to be the best in New York, and among the best in the world,) during the venue's heyday.
When Mancuso threw his first informal house parties, the gay community was often harassed in the bars and dance clubs. At The Loft and many other early, private discotheques they could dance together without fear of police action thanks to Mancuso's legal, yet underground, business model.
The initial Loft was Mancuso's own home at 647 Broadway. The collapse of a neighboring hotel forced a move to 99 Prince Street in Soho in 1975. Vociferous community opposition ensued, and the party lay dormant for a year during the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs' longest administrative trial to date, based on their insistence that Mancuso required a "cabaret license". The department decreed in 1975 that he was free to host his parties as long as there were no sales of food or beverages. This decision set a new precedent that benefited the Paradise Garage and other private "clubs" in the process. The period also saw Mancuso's space serve as headquarters for the New York Record Pool, the very first Record Pool, which he founded with Vince Aletti and Steve D'Acquisto. Many of the disco era's leading disc jockeys, including Larry Levan, Nicky Siano and Frankie Knuckles were early Loft attendees. Their venues (the Paradise Garage, The Gallery, Chicago's Warehouse, and the exclusively gay The Saint) were influenced by the Loft. Nonetheless, Mancuso maintained his niche, breaking such unconventional records as Manu Dibango's "Soul Makossa" and the Steve Miller Band's "Macho City" at his weekly events.
In the early 80's Mancuso purchased a building on 3rd Street between Avenue B and Avenue C in Alphabet City. Not yet benefiting from gentrification, the new crime-and-drug ridden setting resulted in him losing "65 percent of my attendance."Around this time, DJ and promoter impresario, Richard Vasquez began his influential and exclusive weekly parties named, The Choice at this location along with Joey Llanos. The party kept the spirit of the early Mancuso parties while embracing the early days of Deep House Music. In 1994, Mancuso relocated to a smaller space on nearby Avenue A, and subsequently downsized further to another location on Avenue B. Since then, Mancuso has continued to throw 3 to 5 Loft parties per year at an undisclosed location in the East Village while organizing general admission Loft-style events in locales as disparate as Los Angeles and Shibuya. 1999 and 2000 saw the release of the defunct Nuphonic Records' David Mancuso presents The Loft anthologies on CD and vinyl, all of which are now highly collectible and hard to find.
- Tim Lawrence Articles
- Bidder, Sean (June 1999). House: the Rough Guide. London: Rough Guides Ltd. pp. 213–214.
- Acland, Charles R (2007). Residual Media. University of Minnesota Press, 106.
- David Mancuso's Loft parties
- Tim Lawrence's Village Voice article
- Podcast of 2005 Loft party in Shibuya