Gonna leave this brokedown palace
On my hands and my knees, I will roll, roll, roll
A half block north of the Queensbridge Houses, where Ravenswood abruptly turns into a warehouse and industrial zone, sits Paretti Hall. As pictured above, it’s appearance is considerably more august than that of it’s neighbors, and it has a history to match. Who exactly was James J. Paretti and what was his “Association” are lost to the sands of time. In fact the building’s precise history is not fully verifiable. So we’ll take some artistic license and piece together the snippets of others to paint a tale of intrigue in what is otherwise a non-descript area.1
According to one source, the building was originally conceived of in the 1930’s to be the headquarters for Tammany Hall. But this political machine was pretty much wiped out by reforms passed under Mayor LaGuardia in 1938 that eliminated the ward system it thrived under. So it became a function hall owned by it’s namesake, who supposedly was an alderman.
There’s a wonderful recollection below, that describes the type of events held there in the early days. Future iterations apparently included a local Democratic Party headquarters, union hall, and house of worship. Finally sometime in the late 1970’s and into the 1980’s it was home to Club Exile, a discotheque and live music venue featuring numerous punk bands. We made note of Club Exile from 1980, which during its brief stint in business nearly three decades ago, reportedly chartered buses to transport patrons from Manhattan. After this period as a formal club, it returned to its roots as an occasional event space, very occasional (and quirky but cool).
Then at the beginning of this year, the new owners of the hall brought in a venue manager to reinvent, rebrand, and relaunch the space. It is now called Tammany House and according to Erika Bogner of MF Events NYC – the venue manager – it’s recently been used for pop-up parties and video shoots. In her time overseeing and renovating the hall Erika has come across signs, such as hidden rooms and passageways in the basement, that it may have also been intended to be used as a speakeasy. She also said the whole rooftop was meshed over because the founder kept pigeon coops and held annual pigeon racing contests that were quite competitive. Such good times – and you can have them too if you hold your next event at Paretti Hall …and drink enough moonshine.
//WE hear: that the Hunters Point Library opening is now looking like March of 2018, news back in May cited its being delayed until late 2017-early 2018.
//CARNIVAL at the oval in Hunters Point Park this Saturday. From 11am – 4pm, sponsored by the New City Church. Games, crafts, inflatables, prizes, you know the drill
Tammany House – moonshine easily available today, catering too!
Early Memories of “Paretti’s Catering Hall” – run by the father and his five sons
Bishop Taylor’s Reminiscence – from the 1970’s
Event @ Exile back in 2011 – scroll down for mention of Tammany Hall
The Misfits Live @ Club Exile – July 10, 1980, aka a long time ago
Paretti’s Liquor Store – not sure of any relationship w/ the hall, but the same name? across the street from Queensbridge Houses since 1942 “Noting the inherent opportunity, Paretti’s Liquor opened on 40th Avenue across from the housing projects.”
Hundreds of New Yorkers Gather at MoMA PS1 to Raise $ for Puerto Rico – I heard it was close to 1,000
Inside The World’s Largest Collection of Tiffany Lamps – in an LIC warehouse
Open House NYC – you can see the collection above, and many other closed off sites, on October 14 & 15
- albeit one that has the requisite new 10-story hotel going up 100 feet north, but otherwise wilderness …as the hotel patrons will find out [↩]
Joseph Paretti saysJune 8, 2018 at 7:29 pm
My name is Joseph Paretti. The building was built by my uncles: John (“Lefty”} and James in 1933. My father, Peter (“Lee”) bought the building from John and James’ widows , respectively and sold it in 1982, I believe.
If you want a more accurate and thorough history of this building contact me at jparetti43gmail.com
Ray saysAugust 9, 2019 at 7:58 pm
Is it true the Yankees would come here after practice ?
Madeline Paretti Williams saysJune 16, 2018 at 7:25 am
My name is Madeline Paretti Williams. Joseph is my brother. There are certainly some inaccuracies and incomplete information in your article. I am also upset that you refer to my father as “old man Paretti”. Anyone who knew him well, would never consider using that disrespectful phrase.
Marlin Thomas saysApril 27, 2022 at 5:23 am
We were at PS 111 together.
I’m writing a play about Queensbridge.
Dominick Paradise saysFebruary 2, 2020 at 8:19 am
My name is Dominick and my mother worked at Paretti’s as a waitress throughout the late 60’s and 70’s. The “hall” was my playground and was, without doubt, the best times of my youth. And yes the NY Yankees and the NY Jets (Joe Namath) would patronize the establishment. There are so many incredible stories that your readers would be amazed.
You know only a fraction of the historical monument that was built so strongly, it will last forever.
Adrianne Jorge saysOctober 4, 2022 at 11:20 pm
I lived at Exile in the early 2000’s for about 7 years, and it’s rich history made it a pretty special place to call home. But also, many artists lived there over the years, particularly in the period between the punk club days and when Tammany House took it over. Those walls have seen plenty!