Photographer Steve Eichner and author Gabriel Sanchez have opened a window into nightlife past in their upcoming book, In the Limelight: The Visual Excess of NYC Night Life in the 90s.
The book showcases the wild world of 1990s club life in New York City via Eichner’s stunning captures. Foam parties, cage dancers, and holiday parties are just a few of the subjects of Eichner’s photographs, which paint a fantastic picture of a carefree and ecstatic atmosphere that existed just two decades ago. Though it may be a far cry from the state of the current nightlife atmosphere given the COVID-19 pandemic, the content of In The Limelight provokes nostalgia for a gleeful world of days past – even if the reader never experienced it in person.
Eichner, a fixture of 1990s nightlife in New York City, documented this world as both an official and unofficial photographer. His work came before the time of cell phone captures and social media, making it a crucial piece of nightlife history.
“Limelight was the breeding ground for so much culture, and you couldn’t be part of it on your phone from your basement,” said Eichner. “There was no social media. You had to get out. You had to be in it.”
One of the book’s main focuses is its namesake: esteemed New York club Limelight, the brainchild of Peter Gatien, who had previously run incarnations of Limelight in Atlanta and Miami. The vision for New York City’s Limelight, however, came to life in an old Gothic revival church in the Chelsea neighborhood. Its ornate stained glass and Gothic architecture provided the perfect setting for the excess of 1990s club culture. Thus, Gatien’s favorite nightlife venture was born.
The venue boasted a “Shampoo Room,” where club goers could dive into a foamy, above-ground pool, as well as a room inspired by the work of renowned artist H.R. Giger.
With Eichner and Sanchez’s new book, memories of some of Limelight’s most incredible moments manifest themselves in shots that depict a dreamscape of every club kid’s wildest fantasies. ’90s sensations like TLC, Run DMC, Tommy Lee, Pamela Anderson and others routinely made appearances at the famous venue.
In The Limelight also features Eichner’s work from other New York City club life staples like the Tunnel, Webster Hall, Club Expo, and Club USA. The book is slated for release on October 20th, and it’s available for pre-order here.
Image Credits: Steve Eichner