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Once a Dance Hall

Always a dance hall. A former polka palace in Williamsburg turns seventies-influenced loft space—with plenty of room to party.

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Phillip Rossini and Joe Ponciano live in what was once the local Polish community center’s dance hall; the wood floors were polished smooth by decades of Saturday-night socials. Since buying it in a fortuitous insider deal two years ago (they heard the downstairs neighbor was selling, and they pounced), they’ve kept up the festive atmosphere both in décor (with a very disco-appropriate circular couch accented by fuzzy pillows) and in events (throwing fairly massive parties complete with disco ball and smoke machine).

What doesn’t come from vintage stores, Ikea, and Bowery kitchen-supply shops was found on the street or made by Ponciano, an artist, photographer, and lighting designer (the hall lamps seen here have since been replaced by pieces he’s crafted from cable ties).

“We’ve had some huge parties,” says Ponciano; his 38th-birthday party clocked in at about 150. “Insanity!” he says. “We actually decided we have to try to put a bit of a cap on it because word gets out fast.” In fact, they developed a very analog way to let guests into the building when they’re throwing big bashes.

“Rather than having to run down the stairs, we throw the key out on a string,” Ponciano explains. “Otherwise, you’d be going up and down all night.

“Occasionally, strangers walking by will look up and say, ‘Can we come, too?’” Ponciano says, laughing. “And I will kind of size them up. I have let a few people up from the street, and they have had the best night of their lives, at a party they didn’t even know they were going to!”


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