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Coordinates: 42°21′48″N 71°06′08″W / 42.3633°N 71.1022°W / 42.3633; -71.1022
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Front door of Manray danceclub, Cambridge, MA

Manray is a nightclub in Central Square, Cambridge, Massachusetts.[1] It was named for Dada artist and photographer Man Ray.

Early days[edit]

In 1983, Campus, a gay club, was built on a site previously occupied by Simeone's Restaurant. In 1985, the club was expanded under the moniker of Manray and its dance nights included a Campus event along with goth, new wave, industrial, and fetish nights. The club billed itself as an "art bar", and often featured gallery shows by local artists in its lounge area. Manray gained national attention when it was featured in Life Magazine.[2]


Manray catered to a variety of alternative lifestyles.[3][4] Its longest-running night was Campus, a night "for gay men and their friends". Wednesday was designated a gothic event known as “Crypt”. A New Wave night[5] was held every Saturday, which featured DJs Chris Ewen and Gary Conzo playing new wave and disco anthems, respectively. Manray also hosted many live music acts, including Nirvana.[5]

Manray gained a reputation as a hotbed of strangeness in the early 1990s, when it became home to the goth and fetish/BDSM scenes in the Boston area. Alternating Friday night events would be geared to one, the other, or both subcultures, resulting in a local scene that was unique in its cross-pollination across recurring events with titles such as Hell, Xmortis, Fantasy Factory and Ooze.

Closure and reopening[edit]

Dance floor at Manray at doors open, with projection screen

On July 30, 2005, after more than 20 years, Manray was forced to close its doors. The owner of the building decided to take advantage of the high property values, and to demolish the building in order to construct apartments.[1][6] This followed a long process in which a building near Manray was declared historical, and the developer sought and eventually got permission to move that building to a new lot. Its final week was reported as a sad farewell by its patrons;[7] discussions on and rumors of its reopening persisted for years.

In January 2023, ManRay reopened in the former ImprovBoston space at 40 Prospect Street in Cambridge.[8][9][10] The Saturday of opening weekend had a "line wrapped around the corner and required hours of patience, in raw January temperatures".[11]

Oral history book[edit]

In January 2022, an oral history of the nightclub was released. The crowd-funded book, We Are But Your Children – An Oral History of the Nightclub ManRay, presents the history of the club and its importance to the communities that attended ManRay.[12]


  1. ^ a b Kuo, Ryan J. (August 1, 2003). "Alternative Nightclub May Close Soon". The Harvard Crimson. Retrieved May 26, 2021.
  2. ^ "Manray, Cambridge". Life (magazine). 1985-08-01.
  3. ^ Barry, Ellen (1997-07-31). "Still gothic after all these yers". Boston Phoenix. Archived from the original on 2009-05-06.
  4. ^ Usmani, Basim (June 4, 2015). "Long Live Goth: Manray Celebrates its 10 Year Reunion at the Paradise". DigBoston. Retrieved May 26, 2021.
  5. ^ a b "ManRay nightclub's return preserves Central Square's alternative roots". The Boston Globe. February 19, 2013. Retrieved May 26, 2021.
  6. ^ Zhang, Dian; Levy, Marc. "ManRay owner vows fast sale of license after despairing of ever reopening club". Cambridge Day. Retrieved May 26, 2021.
  7. ^ Eng, Heather V. (2005-07-29). "ManRay's last dance, last chance for love". Boston Herald. pp. e03.
  8. ^ Levy, Marc (2021-08-18). "With new licensing and construction underway, ManRay club anticipates an October reopening". Cambridge Day. Retrieved 2021-08-22.
  9. ^ Michael O'Connor Marottaon (January 12, 2023). "ManRay set to re-open in Cambridge after nearly two decades". Vanyaland. Retrieved January 14, 2023. ManRay, the legendary alternative underground nightclub in Central Square, is set to re-open at its new location of 40 Prospect St. on Wednesday, January 18.
  10. ^ Slane, Kevin (January 13, 2023). "ManRay, a beloved Cambridge nightclub, will reopen in Central Square". www.boston.com. Retrieved January 14, 2023. The 19+ venue will resurrect some of its old theme nights, with Ewen telling the music blog that ManRay will bring back the goth party crypt on Wednesdays, the campus gay night on Thursdays, and the fetish-themed industrial night on Fridays.
  11. ^ Kohli, Diti (January 20, 2023). "A night at the resurrected ManRay, 18 years after the counterculture club closed - The Boston Globe". BostonGlobe.com. Archived from the original on 2023-01-20. Retrieved 2023-01-25.
  12. ^ Levy, Marc (2022-01-22). "'We Are But Your Children,' a history of ManRay, arrives with hopes for a party at the reopened club". Cambridge Day. Retrieved 2023-01-25.

External links[edit]

42°21′48″N 71°06′08″W / 42.3633°N 71.1022°W / 42.3633; -71.1022