8. Jue Lan Club at The Church of the Holy Communion
The Flatiron District‘s Church of the Holy Communion has had many lives. In the ’80s and ’90s, it housed one of Peter Gatien’s infamous Limelight Clubs. After being convicted of tax fraud, Gatien shut down the clubs, and the church has gone through one business after another ever since. It was a mall that opened in 2010 after a $15 million renovation, but it closed after only a year. It was then replaced by a smaller collection of shops. The David Barton gym has occupied one floor for the past several years, but its lower level has constantly been in flux.
The space has even been called cursed, due to its legacy of bad luck. First it housed a gastro-pub, then a French restaurant, then a speakeasy-style bar, all of which failed to last more than a year.
In 2015, a Chinese restaurant called the Jue Lan Club decided to take its chances and opened on the bottom floor of the church. The Jue Lan is a venture of the restauranteur Stratis Morfogen, who decided to embrace the location’s seedy past rather than attempt to erase it. He designed the space after a Warhol-esque lounge, with each room having its own individual identity. He also commissioned some of Brooklyn’s most famous muralists to decorate the back alley behind the church.
A lot has changed since this humble church was the site of religious worship, but it seems that the location has been on the cutting-edge of modernity for so long that it won’t be going back anytime soon.