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Gothic parties in NYC, from ARKHAM to Memento Mori

Ready to embrace the dark side? Like any subculture, New York City’s local gothic community is a vibrant safe haven for those who appreciate an alternative way of self-expression – that includes dark music, fashion and art along with a more macabre lifestyle. For many, goth isn’t just a music genre or style, but also a mindset that people can relate to, says Eric Thorpe-Moscon, founder of ARKHAM: Brooklyn Gothic Party and resident DJ.

“It’s (about embracing) the mystery of the unknown – the greatest mystery being death even though it’s scary and people are scared of it … and romanticizing the darker side of life,” Thorpe-Moscon says. “It’s the same reason why Dracula was popular and Frankenstein was popular. People like being scared.”

Whether you’re a goth looking to party through the dead of night or simply a little curious about what NYC’s gothic community has to offer, these local goth organizations host regular parties (including upcoming Halloween events) with dark music that even skeletons will be dancing to.


If you're decked out in goth attire and
Photo Credit: Procession

If you're decked out in goth attire and want a venue that matches your passion, Procession is where you want to be. Most of its monthly events are free, except when a band is playing. Co-director Mark Knight calls Procession a "lascivious danse macabre" that provides a club and lounge experience with a curated music list of darkwave, industrial music and dark pop. It's not uncommon to enter Procession's events and find yourself surrounded by fog, candlelight, taxidermy, antiques and dark visual projections, all reminiscent of goth vibes from the early '80s and '90s.

"Procession creates an ambiance that is modern and provocative while maintaining a tone that is reminiscent of classic gothic parties," Knight says. There is no dress code, but goth or basic black attire is encouraged.

Procession will host a free Halloween party on Oct. 30 at Home Sweet Home (131 Chrystie St., Manhattan) from 10:30 p.m. until 4 a.m. The party will feature DJ Hart and DJ Cage with thematic video projections and a midnight ritual performance to greet All Hallows' Eve.

No Return Post Punk Society

No Return Post Punk Society prides itself on
Photo Credit: Roe Poalino for No Return Post Punk Society

No Return Post Punk Society prides itself on being inclusive, non-niche and welcoming to everyone who might be interested in being part of an alternative culture. Dance music includes goth rock, electronic, industrial and French cold-wave tunes - basically "everything you would hope to hear and dance to in a post-punk club," says Ryan Walker, co-founder of No Return Post Punk Society.

"If you're wearing a band T-shirt we can make out from the [DJ] booth, we'll try and play that band for you," he adds.

No Return Post Punk Society is hosted on the first and third Fridays of every month at the Pyramid Club in the East Village. The best part? People on their email list get drink tickets, which they can cash in for a free well drink or shot before 11 p.m.

The next event is slated for Friday, Oct. 21 at the East Village's Pyramid Club (101 Avenue A) from 9 p.m. until 4 a.m. There's a $6 cover.

Memento Mori

If you're looking for a smaller gathering, Memento
Photo Credit: Memento Mori

If you're looking for a smaller gathering, Memento Mori is a weeknight party that has an attendance of 45-85 people per event. Memento Mori's music style ranges from traditional gothic to death rock to post-punk. Previously featured bands include Sex Gang Children, Virgin Prunes and Paralyzed Age. At any given event, you'll find candles, cobwebs and dim lights - plus a newly curated playlist.

Most Memento Mori events are free and hosted at Bedlam Bar in the East Village, which provides a roomy dance floor and gives off the aesthetic of a Victorian parlor. Like most goth events, the basic dress code is traditional gothic, vampire, Victorian, some combination of looks or simply just black clothing. No baseball caps, sneakers, flip-flops or jeans are allowed.

The next Memento Mori event, "All Hallows' Eve edition," is slated for Thursday, Oct. 27 at Bedlam Bar (40 Avenue C, Manhattan) from 10 p.m. until 4 a.m. Entry is free.

ARKHAM: Brooklyn Gothic Party

What makes ARKHAM unique from many other Gothic
Photo Credit: Roe Paolino for ARKHAM

What makes ARKHAM unique from many other Gothic organizations is that it focuses on horror pop culture. Every monthly themed event celebrates horror literature or pays tribute to a horror movie, a film director or horror writer such as Stephen King. Ranging from 40 to 90 people, ARKHAM's events often feature Brooklyn-famous DJs, like Frankie Teardrop and Andi. While there's a $5 cover charge for band nights, DJ-hosted events are usually free. No dress code is enforced.

ARKHAM's next party, "Nightclub of the Living Dead," is planned for Saturday, Oct. 29 at Don Pedro (90 Manhattan Ave., Brooklyn) from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m. The party, which has a $5 cover, will feature Brooklyn-based bands Decorum and Dead Leaf Echo, zombie movies on two projector screens, skee ball and a costume party.

The Red Party

Like with any other subculture, people who identify
Photo Credit: Red Party Prod.

Like with any other subculture, people who identify as goths love to dress up and "dance their brains out," says Sean Templar, resident DJ and founder of The Red Party, which hosts popular monthly gothic events on the Lower East Side that attract crowds of up to 300. Going on its 10th year, The Red Party only plays goth, death rock or post-punk music and brings in established artists like The March Violets as well as new talent. Attendees will find decorations like skeletons and candles sprinkled around at events, which have an entrance fee of around $10. There is no dress code, although Templar suggests coming "dressed to kill."

Society Nocturnus of Gotham

For those who are especially interested in vampire
Photo Credit: Society Nocturnus of Gotham

For those who are especially interested in vampire subculture, The Society Nocturnus of Gotham is an old institution that's been an integral part of New York City's gothic community for years. The society hosts quarterly events open to the public, as well as more frequent events for those who belong to the organization (every event has nearly 100 people). All-black attire is required at society events, which incorporate an eclectic mix of goth music. For the adventurous, go to any goth community event and order a blood bath, a mystery drink special that's never more than $6.

The Long Halloween, four days worth of Manhattan parties co-hosted by The Society Nocturnus of Gotham, Synfuldreamz Entertainment and Big Lee and Sasha Inc., is slated to run from Friday, Oct. 28 through Monday, Oct. 31. It will feature dancing, horror movies, live bands, a monster's ball, a vampire lounge and a raffle. The four-day event, which will be held at The Delancey (168 Delancey St.), Pyramid Club (101 Avenue A) and The Hard Swallow (140 First Ave.), costs $30 for all four parties and includes free shots and drink specials.


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