Volume 74, Number 47 | March 30 - April 05, 2005

Villager photo by Ethan Moses

Webster Hall dance club on E. 11th St.

Webster Hall rocks, and is evacuated

Responding to a report from patrons on the first floor that the ceiling began to buckle at about 9 p.m. Sat., March 26, firefighters arrived at Webster Hall, the dance club at 125 E. 11th St., and ordered the packed hall evacuated.

The evacuation of about 800 patrons on the first and second floors of the building was temporary until it was determined that there was no danger of collapse, a Fire Department spokesperson said. Department of Buildings inspectors arrived at 9:45 p.m. and found no structural conditions that warranted closing the building, which dates back to 1886. Patrons were allowed to reenter the hall at 11:30 p.m.

Patrons on the second floor of the building were dancing to the music of the rock band New Found Glory. Doug and Steve Ballinger, who own the club, did not return phone calls for comment on the matter.

One resident of an apartment at 117 E. 11th St. adjacent to Webster Hall said the noise and vibrations on weekends are often heavy enough to make the mortar in her brick wall crumble. But Thomas Steele, a resident in an apartment on the opposite side of 117 E. 11th St., said he never noticed the noise, but recalled that two years ago when the Ballingers gave their annual free party for neighbors, he and his partner left when they felt the second-story floor swaying.

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