Past, Over: Saying Goodbye To The Roxy

Rod Townsend (aka our commenter Momo), sometimes receives telephone calls from The Past, a mysterious entity that remembers where things used to be in New York before Starbucks and Whole Foods came to town.

"Hello?"

"Hi."

"Um, The Past?"

"Yeah."

"Oh. You usually insult me right off. I didn't recognize you."

"Well, sorry, um, dummy."

"Dummy? That's not the aggressive type of retort that I've come to expect. You okay?"

"I just heard a rumor that The Roxy is closing."

Past, Over: Saying Goodbye To The Roxy

"Do you talk to someone else in the present?"

"No, why?"

"Then how'd you hear about The Roxy?"

"A friend of mine just told me."

"Well, yeah, there have always been rumors of The Roxy closing. It's sort of part of the place's charm."

"So you mean, it's not closing?"

"Well..."

"That's awesome to hear. It seems like the rumors of its demise have always been around."

"Maybe it's part of their marketing plan?"

"Ha! You made a funny, twinkle-toes! But you might be right. See, there used to be a theater called 'The Roxy' way up at 49th and Seventh. A big gigantic place that was the shit, up until they build Radio City Music Hall. In fact the Rockettes used to be the Roxyettes until they left the Roxy for Radio City."

"What's this have to do with..."

"Always with the interruptions, you. Anyway, when The Roxy Theatre was demolished in 1960 there was this mega-famous picture of Gloria Swanson in a feather boa, being all glam in the theater's ruins."

"Sounds hot. I'll have to look it up."

"Good luck with that—it's pretty obscure. Maybe the library would have a copy of the old issue of Time when it ran."

"It's probably on the Internet."

"The what?"

"Never mind, go on."

"My guess is that the drag queens probably hold a reverence for that classic picture and would love to recreate it. Can't you just see Lypsinka in a feather boa with a disco ball hanging in the ruins?"

"Or Candace Cayne!"

"I don't know who that is, but I can just hear those queens starting rumors throughout the years. 'Oh, that latest drug bust was the last, the owners have had it. Roxy's closing for good.' Or 'I heard Junior Vasquez's latest hissy-fit/overdose has just scandalized the Roxy for good. It's time is up.' Oh! Or 'The Fire Department busted them on code violations and the Health Department said there's urine in the ice machine and John Blair has up and had a heart attack. Roxy is closing forever, Miss Thing.'"

"You do a pretty good drag voice."


"Thanks, kitten. Regardless, it's good to hear The Roxy is still going strong."

"That's what I've been trying to tell you. See, Friday night is the last roller-disco party and then Saturday night is the last dance night. Ever. The place is scheduled to be demolished pretty soon."

"Demolished? As in condemned and dangerous? Is it, like, all decrepit, but like in a cool way?."

"Nah. They're knocking it down to built some residence or something."

"Like a halfway house?"

"Huh? No. Probably some mid-rise luxury glass and steel bullshit. A halfway house?"

"Roxy's in an area that's pretty desolate and there's no subway or anything. So I'm guessing that since it's so remote, they must be building some kind rehab residence or something for society's undesirables."

"Sort of depends on your definition of undesirable. Anyway, since it's near the Chelsea Piers and the High Line ..."

"It's perfect for what? Exhibitionist sluts and rat aficionados?"
"If you'd let me finish I could expl—"

"If I'd let you finish I'd probably want to slit my wrists, numb-nuts. I've gotta call all my buds and let them know Roxy's safe. For us, anyway. Sorry you're losing it, but hey, at least you've still got Palladium. That place will always be around."

"Uh, Palladium is .."

"Gotta go. I'll call you next week."