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Roseland Ballroom

Coordinates: 40°45′49″N 73°59′03″W / 40.763627°N 73.984122°W / 40.763627; -73.984122
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Roseland Ballroom
Roseland Ballroom in July 2007
Address239 West 52nd Street
LocationManhattan, New York City, U.S.
Coordinates40°45′49″N 73°59′03″W / 40.763627°N 73.984122°W / 40.763627; -73.984122
OwnerGinsberg family
(concerts promoted by Live Nation)[1]
ClosedApril 7, 2014
Construction cost$800,000

The Roseland Ballroom was a multipurpose hall, in a converted ice skating rink, with a colorful ballroom dancing pedigree, in New York City's theater district, on West 52nd Street in Manhattan.

The venue, according to its website, accommodated 3,200 standing (with an additional 300 upstairs), 2,500 for a dance party, between 1,300 and 1,500 in theatre style, 800–1,000 for a sit-down dinner, and 1,500 for a buffet and dancing.[2]

The venue hosted a wide range of events, from a Hillary Clinton birthday party, to annual gay circuit parties, to movie premieres, to musical performances of all genres, including Beyoncé's Elements of 4 show and internet stars Team StarKid's Apocalyptour National Concert Tour. It was also known as the place American singer Fiona Apple broke down during a concert in 2000.[3][4]

The rear of the venue faced West 53rd Street and the Ed Sullivan Theater.[5]

On October 18, 2013, it was announced that the venue would close on April 7, 2014. Lady Gaga completed a short residency as the last performer before the Roseland Ballroom closed.[6]


Broadway at 51st Street location[edit]

Roseland was founded initially in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1917 by Louis Brecker with financing by Frank Yuengling of the D. G. Yuengling & Son beer family.

In 1919, to escape Philadelphia's blue laws,[7] Brecker and Yuengling moved the venue to 1658 Broadway at 51st Street in Manhattan,[8] on the second floor of that five-story building, opening on December 31, 1919.[7] Guests lined up to rub elbows with celebrities like Will Rogers and Florenz Ziegfeld.[9] It was a segregated dance club called the "home of refined dancing," famed for the "society orchestra" groups that played there, starting with Sam Lanin and his Ipana Troubadours.[8]

Postcard promoting the club's "Fall Opening" of October 9, 1945

The all-white, ballroom-dancing atmosphere of the club gradually changed with the ascendance in popularity of hot jazz, as played by African American bands on the New York nightclub scene. Piron's New Orleans Jazz Orchestra played the ballroom in 1924. Often, two or more orchestras alternated with one another in order to have continuous dance music.[10] The Fletcher Henderson band played at Roseland in the 1920s and 1930s. Louis Armstrong, Count Basie (with his "Roseland Shuffle"), and Chick Webb followed with their orchestras. Other major-name bandleaders who played the venue included Vincent Lopez, Harry James, Tommy Dorsey, Glenn Miller and Sonny Burke.[11] Many big-band performances were broadcast live from Roseland by radio networks; recordings survive of several NBC broadcasts of 1940, featuring the young Ella Fitzgerald fronting the Chick Webb band.

Brecker popularized such stunts as marathon dancing (until it was banned), staged female prizefights, yo-yo exhibitions, sneezing contests, and dozens of highly publicized jazz weddings with couples who met at the club.[12]

As the club grew older, Brecker attempted to formalize the dancing more by having hostesses dance for a fee, with tuxedoed bouncers (politely known as "housemen") keeping order.[13][8]

52nd Street location[edit]

The original New York Roseland was torn down in 1956 and it moved to its new venue on West 52nd, a building that Brecker earlier had converted from an ice-skating rink to a roller-skating rink. It had been built in 1922 at a cost of $800,000 by the Iceland ice-skating franchise. A thousand skaters showed up on opening night at the 80-by-200-foot rink on November 29, 1922. Iceland went bankrupt in 1932 and the rink opened as the Gay Blades Ice Rink. Brecker took it over in the 1950s and converted it to roller-skating.

Time magazine described the new Roseland's opening interior as a "purple-and-cerise tentlike décor that creates a definite harem effect."[12] Brecker attempted to maintain its ballroom dancing style, banning rock and roll and disco. In 1974 Brecker told The New York Times, "Cheek-to-cheek dancing, that's what this place is all about."[14]

Brecker sold the building in 1981 to Albert Ginsberg.[15] Under the new owners the Roseland began regularly scheduled "disco nights", which gave rise to a period when it was considered a dangerous venue and neighborhood menace. In 1984, a teenager was shot to death on the dance floor.[16] In 1987, a 34 year old Harlem man was fatally shot in the lobby.[17]

In 1990, after Utah tourist Brian Watkins was killed in the subway, four of the eight suspects (members of the FTS gang) were found partying at Roseland. As a result, Roseland discontinued the "disco nights".[18]

ARO building

Roseland's low-rise three-story structure on top of the quarter-acre dance floor in the middle of midtown Manhattan stirred concerns over its being torn down for redevelopment. In 1996, a new owner, Laurence Ginsberg, filed plans to tear down the venue and replace it with a 42-story, 459-unit apartment building. A spokesman for Ginsberg said the filing was to "beat a deadline for new, more stringent earthquake codes, which went into effect earlier" in 1996. The interior space has been subsequently renovated.[19]Demolition of the site began in 2014. The site was redeveloped into Aro, a 62-story apartment tower, with retail space built at the former entrance site.[20]


Final Roseland Ballroom marquee

In November 2013, it was announced that Lady Gaga would headline six shows (March 28, 30, 31 and April 2, 4, and 6 of 2014), which would be the final performances at the venue.[21] It was her first time performing there.[22] An extra, seventh show was added, held on April 7, 2014, which officially closed the venue. "G.U.Y." was the final song performed at Roseland Ballroom.

Live recordings at the venue[edit]




  • In A Chorus Line, the character of Al DeLuca sings about how his father would take his mother to the Roseland Ballroom in the song Montage 3: Mother.


  1. ^ "Live Nation Ticketing In Deal With Roseland". Billboard. October 14, 2008. Retrieved 2014-04-13.
  2. ^ "Roseland Ballroom: Floor Plans". Roselandballroom.com. Archived from the original on 2013-04-16. Retrieved 2013-05-11.
  3. ^ "Fiona Apple Breaks Down At NYC Concert". Billboard. March 1, 2000. Archived from the original on March 6, 2012.
  4. ^ Rahman, Ray (June 19, 2012). "Fiona Apple tells Jimmy Fallon about famous meltdown". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2013-05-11.
  5. ^ Monde, Chiderah. "Lady Gaga treats Bill Murray, 'Late Show with David Letterman' audience to Roseland Ballroom show". nydailynews.com. Retrieved 2020-09-10.
  6. ^ "Lady Gaga To Close NYC's Roseland Ballroom". Live For Live Music. November 20, 2013. Retrieved 2014-05-20.
  7. ^ a b "The History of Roseland". RoselandBallroom.com. Archived from the original on October 5, 1999.
  8. ^ a b c Pareles, Jon; Holcomb-Holland, Lori (2014-03-27). "Taxi Dancers to Gaga: Roseland's Life and Death". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2020-09-10.
  9. ^ Goldman, Jonathan. "How New Yorkers Celebrated New Year's Eve 100 Years Ago". Gothamist. Retrieved 26 December 2021.
  10. ^ Brothers, Thomas (2014). Louis Armstrong: Master of Modernism. New York, NY: W.W. Norton & Company. p. 130. ISBN 978-0-393-06582-4.
  11. ^ Lee, William F. (February 1, 2006). American Big Bands. Hal Leonard. p. 220. ISBN 0634080547. Retrieved 4 January 2023.
  12. ^ a b "Romp at the Met". Time. January 7, 1957. Archived from the original on December 21, 2007. Retrieved 2007-06-21. When a public dance hall named Roseland opened on Broadway in 1919, smart young people had recently deserted the waltz for the foxtrot, were just beginning to master the delicate nuances of the shimmy. Sam Lanin and his Ipana Troubadours were on the bandstand, thumping out such Ziegfeld Follies hits as "Mandy" and "You Cannot Make Your Shimmy Shake on Tea". Since that distant New Year's Eve, generations of stag-line Romeos and their girls have bunny-hugged, Lindy-hopped, Charlestoned, big-appled, black-bottomed and jitterbugged under Roseland's star-studded ceiling. At 1 o'clock one morning last week the stars winked out for the last time; the following night Roseland reopened in glittering new quarters, billed as 'a magnificent metropolis of melody and merriment.'
  13. ^ "Roseland (Sans Liquor, Taxi Girls, Rows) Will Mark Its 30th Anniversary Tonight". The New York Times. 1949-01-27. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2020-09-10.
  14. ^ Severo, Richard (1977-07-09). "Louis J. Brecker, Who Fostered Romance at Roseland, Dies at 79". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2020-09-10.
  15. ^ Krebs, Albin; Thomas, Robert McG. Jr. (October 27, 1981). "Notes on People; It's On With the Dance". The New York Times. Retrieved 2014-03-23.
  16. ^ "18-Year-Old Is Killed In Roseland Ballroom". The New York Times. November 11, 1984. Retrieved 2014-04-13. A Staten Island teen-ager was fatally shot yesterday morning at the Roseland ballroom in midtown Manhattan, the police said. The victim - Robert Dudley, 18 years old, of 62 Roxbury Street - was shot once in the chest at 3:26 A.M. and was pronounced dead on arrival at St. Clare's Hospital and Medical Center. The police said they had not established a motive for the slaying.
  17. ^ "Man, 34, Is Shot and Killed After Argument at Roseland". The New York Times. October 27, 1987. Retrieved 2019-07-25. A Manhattan man was shot and killed in the crowded lobby of the Roseland dance hall early yesterday after an argument that began when another man stepped on the feet of the victim's companion, the police said.
  18. ^ "Discoterror". Scientitian.com. Retrieved 2013-05-11.
  19. ^ Gray, Christopher (October 13, 1996). "An Old-Fashioned Dance to the Music of Time". New York Times. Retrieved 2014-04-13.
  20. ^ "239 West 52nd Street". New York YIMBY. Retrieved 2017-02-18.
  21. ^ McManus, Brian (November 19, 2013). "Lady Gaga Concerts to Close New York's Famed Roseland Ballroom". The Village Voice. Archived from the original on October 27, 2014. Retrieved 2013-11-19.
  22. ^ Seabrook, John, "Final Engagement: In the Room," The New Yorker, April 7, 2014
  23. ^ "Metallica at Roseland Ballroom in New York, NY on August 3, 1984 | Metallica.com". www.metallica.com. Retrieved 2023-10-30.
  24. ^ "Live from the Roseland Ballroom New York 1940 - Ella Fitzgerald | Release Info". AllMusic. Retrieved 2023-10-30.
  25. ^ "Phil Collins: Going Back – Live at Roseland Ballroom, NYC". www.amazon.com. Retrieved 2020-09-10.
  26. ^ "Steve Aoki: Deadmeat Live at Roseland Ballroom". Amazon. Retrieved 2014-04-13.

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