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Alegria Pride 2008
Webster Hall, New York City
by Mark Thompson & Robert Doyle
June 14, 2008 Bookmark and Share

The city that never sleeps doesn’t want you to dance.  At least that’s how some might interpret the gradual eradication of Manhattan’s nightlife venues.  Thanks to the rising price of real estate and the draconian policies of the past two mayoral administrations, as well as Manhattan’s Prohibition-era “no-dancing” restrictions on any establishment without a cabaret license, it’s becoming harder and harder to shake your booty in the Big Apple.

Fortunately, there are some who won’t stand still.  While some promoters have thrown in the towel, there are others still willing to wage the good battle for us to get our groove on.  Take Ric Sena, for example, who, over the course of eight years, has had to move his Alegria party into three different locales.  Now ensconced in the East Village landmark, Webster Hall, Alegria appears to have found a perfect home—and not just because Webster Hall was recently designated a landmark, thereby keeping it safe from realtors’ greed and the wrecking ball. 

Roughly the downtown equivalent of Roseland, Webster Hall has history—and the bones to prove it.  A massive four-story structure built in 1886, Webster Hall was the nation’s first nightclub and rumored to be owned by gangster Al Capone (which was perhaps one reason the city’s police turned a blind eye to the hedonism within the club’s walls). 

On Wednesday, March 19th of this year, the City of New York designated Webster Hall an historic landmark—just in time for the first Alegria party held there, Alegria Xtreme 8.  Since that night, Sena and the Webster Hall management have been making changes to the club within, in order to better serve the Alegria tribe. 

As anyone who’s ever worked with any landmark preservations committee knows, progress can be halting—and yet, Sena and his crew have been remarkably successful at pushing through renovations that might send most contractors running.  Brand-new bathrooms, for example—right off the dance floor.  And a new sound system on the Main Ballroom.  Furthermore, the front part of the mezzanine balcony has been replaced with an iron railing, thereby improving sightlines to the dance floor.  And downstairs in the deliciously seductive Marlin Room, there’s another brand-new sound system and bar—and an overflow capacity of 500-600 (always a good thing for Alegria Pride, the biggest Alegria of them all). 

According to Sena, the Webster Hall management has been extremely supportive—not only about the ongoing renovations, but also in their desire to work with the Alegria crew to insure that the Alegria party becomes a long-term resident at this historic hall. 

The invitation for this year’s edition of Alegria Pride showcases the dancing waters of the Bellagio Fountains in Las Vegas—and if past Alegria Prides are any indication, attendees can expect to be awestruck by Sena’s production values.  Past Alegria Prides have run the gamut from Moulin Rouge to The Greatest Pride on Earth, as well as Space Odyssey, Spectacular Spectacular, and last year’s stupendous riff on the Caribbean Pirates trilogy called The Pride of Alegria.

This year’s Alegria Pride will be the first to be held at Webster Hall, and with the theatre’s massive proscenium and its ornate ceilings, Webster Hall would appear to be a perfect venue for Sena’s expansive imagination. 

As for the music?  For the first time, Alegria will have three dance floors, with three different deejays working to keep the boyz dancing all through Saturday night and Sunday morning.  That means Rosabel (aka Ralphi Rosario and Abel) in the Main Ballroom, Eddie Elias in the Marlin Room, and Dudu Marquez in the Balcony Lounge.   And just in case, the all-volunteer MedEvent will be on hand to insure that all patrons are well cared-for during any time of need. 

And speaking of firsts, this is the first Saturday Alegria Pride.  The party starts at eleven on Saturday night and, in all likelihood, will run right through to Sunday at noon, just in time for the kick-off of the Pride Parade down Fifth Avenue.  Given that tickets are limited due to capacity limitations, it’s probably a good thing to purchase your tickets to this Alegria Pride in advance.  Because as all good Alegria tribe members know, this is one party that always sells out.  You wouldn’t want to miss history in the making—and besides, you know you want to help Manhattan keep dancing.

Alegria Pride: 2008 @ Webster Hall
Webster Hall, 125 East 11th Street, New York City,
DJs Rosabel, Eddie Elias, Dudu Marquez
Saturday 28 June 2008, 11 pm until

For more information about Alegria Pride go to



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