September has not been kind to the Chapel of Sacred Mirrors. Alex Grey‘s psychedelic sanctuary found itself in the middle of a classic NYC nightlife war between the police and the many clubs that line West 27th Street, CoSM’s home.
The City Government is on a new nightlife security kick. The Council is deciding on whether or not to force clubs, bars, and other night-time establishments to submit to new security regulations. In 2006, meanwhile, The NYPD has made a priority of regular harassment (or “aggressive enforcement”) of Chelsea nightclubs. In particular 27th Street, home to notorious city hotspots like Bedhome and Crowbar, has been transformed by police activity; barricades line the street, cars prowl the avenues. Closing time is now routinely announced through lines of NYPD officers who sweep the streets by 5am. Ominous threats are implied against any establishments foolish enough to even consider staying open past the time of police choosing.
Even Alex Gray’s CoSM is not safe. Despite the fact that no alcohol is served or consumed in the Chapel, the building houses other, less-than-respectable establishments, which draw unwelcome attention. Also, the Chapel is a non-smoking environment, so guests are forced to walk down onto the street if they wish to satiate their cravings; this also draws scrutiny from the overvigilant police.
The first incident of note occurred during the X-dream-Krumelur party (mentioned previously here) held on the 16th of September. Between 4- and 5-AM police officers swept the street clear of the drunken crowds hanging around outside the nightclubs. Security informed the building management, who reacted to the news by ordering the CoSM event shut down.
A promising gathering, marred in memory by the fact that it ended early. Community responses were supportive, with a clear note of disappointment evident. We all know how hard it is to dance in New York City, after all.
… things were just getting stompy and *poof* it was gone. too bad so sad trance will go on.. and on, and on, and on…. KARO
Early closing was somewhat disappointing…stupid laws…I want back to the forests!!! mandelbrot
Great time, as always from 28th Day. Cool deco, positive vibes, beautiful girls, and room to dance.Lauryn and Mukti were in the process of tearing the place up when we had to leave!! pyramidion
One week later on September 23rd, CoSM’s own Ethnocentric Salon found itself in the same situation. Patrons were once again forced to leave after intending to remain at the event until 7am, past sunrise.
Until only a few days ago, we were questioning the feasibility of CoSM as a gathering place for the community to dance. Fortunately, there are indications that preparations are already being made to enlarge CoSM’s facilities to encompass the entire floor of the building.
We at dance.with.us feel that the Chapel can avoid further complications with the City by
- Providing a small, in-facility smoking area, so chapelgoers do not have to go down onto the city streets late at night. The Chapel can then close its doors to general traffic at a time most pleasing to law enforcement officials. Community events, in turn, could continue to a time most pleasing to us.
Until that day comes, the cutoff for CoSM events will likely remain 5am. Too short for a proper psytrance experience, perhaps, but psychedelic sanctuaries are few and far between in New York; compromises will have to be made.