Monday, March 17, 2014

Town Danceboutique celebrates Velvet Nation, which was an interim reincarnation of Tracks. displaced by baseball and now soccer

Saturday night, Town Danceboutique (which I have sometimes incorrectly called “Town Discotheque” although I’ve seen others spell the name that way) held its celebration of “Velvet Nation”, which was the club that had preceded it from the late 1990s until 2006, in the Navy Yard area on Half Street.  The club was torn down for condos and office building real estate development, and was near where the Washington Nationals Baseball Stadium is now.  A soccer stadium is planned for the area (and everybody on Facebook wants it).  As with much of gentrifying Washington, substandard housing was torn down, and poor people were displaced. 
The club had a large entranceway and a downstairs dance floor, which had good viewing from two sides, with a small stage.  At midnight, the club would open the larger dancefloor, which had a large balcony for viewing. 

The Wet (with nude dancers) was also in the neighborhood at the time, and at one time the Lost and Found had been one of Washington’s most popular bars (liked by the late Frank Kameny, who always said “Georgetown is not Washington’s answer to Greenwich Village).  There was usually plenty of street parking, but pandhandlers would approach and demand money to “protect your car”.  In September 2004, I saw a gun being pulled on someone on the street a couple blocks away as I drove past looking to park.  I immediately called police when I got out of sight, and was later told that there was an arrest. 
The club was substantial, maybe not quite as complete as Tracks, which it had replaced. 
The party at Town was packed, and while patrons wore green a lot for St. Patrick’s Day, the décor upstairs, mostly on the ceiling, was multicolored, trying to recreate the mood at Velvet.  There were black and white pictures of the club flashed on the screen behind the bars, but they were dusky.
The music bordered on hip hop, and did not inspire intimacy that much.  It seems that patrons really prefer 70s and 80s music, and I don’t know why clubs don’t play it more often.
The weather was mild, about 55 degrees outside, and this morning, St. Patrick’s Day, there is 6 inches of snow. 

There is a lot of new condo construction near Town and 930 Club now. So far the businesses don’t seem to be affected. I still think that all the businesses should get together and build a 24-hour, smartphone pay garage (similar to what West Hollywood has, next to the library).  
I’ve also noticed long lines to get into Nellie’s on U Street whenever I’m in the area on Saturday night.

It seems difficult to get a cab (“Taxi for Hire”) after 1 AM in the area.  It is relatively easy on 17th Street near Dupont Circle, on the other hand.  Does someone know why? 

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