Mr. Black and Woodson & Ford Find New Homes

Photo: Ben Rosenzweig

Gay dance den Mr. Black has been a traveling gypsy ever since it was booted from its original home two years ago owing to what the NYPD called “evidence of rampant drug activity.” It has operated in two midtown spaces, but only now is it settling into a full-time, permanent home, at 199 Bowery, right on the border of the Lower East Side and Nolita.

In a letter from Stuart Black reprinted below, it’s revealed that starting October 9, Mr. Black will occupy the place that until recently belonged to the forgotten club BLVD (where JE Englebert recently threw a swingers’ party). Meanwhile, Eater reports that over at Mr. Black’s original space (the former speakeasy at 643 Broadway), the mysterious cocktail den Woodson and Ford is vacating and will open nearby as a legitimate bar rather than an events space. Here’s the note sent to us by Stuart Black.

To all the peeps,

I believe after 3 and a half years of the mr. Black roller-coaster that you all have been patient enough to endure what we have thrown at you. Now it is time for me to do a little explaining of where mr. Black has been and where it is heading. I know I have not been the most open person when it comes to the drama that mr. Black as a whole has had to deal with, but while I may say little it is only because I have spent all of my time ensuring that as a club/party/scene/social network mr. Black survives the hostile environment that, sadly, Manhattan has been transformed into.

Since the closure of the original mr. Black it has been a hard fought battle to find a new space that could provide you all with a full time clubhouse, something I feel is severely lacking in Manhattan for New Yorkers of our sensibility. After 9 months in exile we returned once more at 24th street to huge success Sadly the venue was unable to fix its past woes and our move to 30th street was inevitable.

30th street a.k.a MR. BLACK 3 was a resounding creative triumph; epic beyond anything we had imagined, but deep within I missed my dance den; I missed being open more then 2 nights a week, and showcasing the musical diversity that NYC has to offer. I also felt in general that most of you who have loved mr. Black in the past felt the same way and the location was always an issue, hence the move to 21st was decided upon, being more central and cozier it felt like the right decision. However it became quite obvious from the get-go that no one liked the space, so immediately plans were made to fix the problem. We have now severed all ties with 21st street.

Fate has had it’s way and it looks like we have come full circle, with many lessons learned, and we are ready to serve NYC with a creative explosion that only the stability of a full time venue can create. No longer just a roving party/club we have found a space to settle in, back downtown, back on home soil and back to our creative roots.

Renovations to tailor the space specifically in the spirit of mr. Black have already begun. For now rest assured that we will be open by Columbus Day weekend, i.e FRIDAY OCTOBER 9TH, and will be instantly serving up 4 nights of mr. Black fun.

I thank you all for keeping the faith, please rest assured our past instabilities are not of choice. If anything I could have merrily retired from NYC nightlife and taken my blue print to other parts of the country with half the stress that is endured dealing with Manhattan politics, but I love what NYC has to offer, musically and culturally - it’s in my blood.

We have all become so cynical about where it has been heading to, but I refuse to give up, and have too much respect for those who rally against the musical and cultural mediocrity that seems to be the norm these days. If only I could employ and house every talented creator out their I would be a happy man, but I can’t; it doesn’t mean I along with those involved with mr. Black cannot make a change, we have in the past, and we will in the future.

Keep the faith.

Stuart Black.
Mr. Black and Woodson & Ford Find New Homes