Crystal Ballroom, New York City, NY

The Crystal Ballroom, Hotel Diplomat, New York City, NY, was an 1,800 seat venue located in the hotel, and was the site of many historical events, as well as music concerts. Fan pages record many hotel events, including the MC5 headlining a benefit for the Liberation News Service on May 13, 1969. Also on the bill were Children of God, the Pageant Players, and the Pablo Light Show. On May 29, 1972, the New York Dolls played their second date in the Palm Room, where the Pox had debuted. The Dolls played the venue again on March 16 the following year; openers were the Brats, featuring erstwhile Doll Rick Rivets. Later, Grandmaster Flash DJ performed his early hip-hop in 1977; The Buzzcocks, Mission of Burma, and the Monochrome Set, September 15, 1979; The Police, with The The, in the Grand Ballroom, September 27-29, 1979.

Another witness recalls Rock & Roll Conventions were held in the late 1970s (1977-1981) once or twice a year, on weekends. There were two live shows every day. They also had films of concerts and promotional music videos (pre-MTV).

To further illustrate the scene, here is the story of Kiss and the Crystal Ballroom. In the early 1970s, the band Kiss could not get a gig in New York City, because a club booking required a manager by law. Then they heard about a hotel venue where a manager would not be required. They rented the ballroom of this dirty hotel in Times Square for $500 or $650, depending on which Kiss member you believe (Paul Stanley said it was $500, while Gene Simmons remembered it as $650). They had both attended a New York Doll’s show there, and the place was acceptable. They placed posters and spread media kits throughout the city, and invited music industry people to get record attention. They sold tickets to the general public for only $3-3.50, which filled up the hotel’s Crystal Ballroom on July 13, 1973. After another great show at the hotel on August 10, they finally got a manager, Bill Aucoin, and headed for rock stardom. Lastly, in his book, Gene Simmons described the Diplomat as "a hotel for hookers and junkies". It's all true, according to Gene and Paul.


Springsteen did 1 performances, excl. rehearsals, at this venue.


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