Not too long ago, it looked like New York’s glory days as a center for dance music had passed. As the birthplace of disco and hip-hop and the home of legendary nightclubs like the Paradise Garage, Limelight and Twilo, the city has long been part of the cultural fabric. But as the notoriously grimy city of the late 20th century transformed into the sleek and hyper-gentrified metropolis of today, its thriving underground lost its foothold.
New Yorkers have long flourished under adversity, though, and its now bustling party scene is a testament to this. Promoters, producers and DJs jumped the East River to establish Brooklyn as a new creative center. Lofts and warehouses filled the void left by Manhattan’s shuttered nightclubs, and a new generation of producers is infusing the city’s musical legacy with the sounds of the international scene. But the luxury condos rising along the waterfront are a constant reminder that the city’s relentless evolution could easily stamp things out again. We burrowed deep for our latest Real Scenes film, discovering how some of the key players in this vast scene are hustling hard to make it last.