April 21st, 2017
BILL NYE SPOTTED AT SOCK HOP SUNDAYS!
“The thing that I do often is go swing dancing at the Iguana now and then.” – Bill Nye
Read the full article HERE.
April 29th, 2016
Featured on CBS NEW YORK as top 5
“Best Swing Dance Clubs In New York City”
“Even if you don’t know how to swing, the throwback into the music of the 50s and 60s will make you want to get up and dance.” – CBS NEWS
Read the article HERE.
April 25th 2016
Featured by author, Brigitte Nioche
“When we arrived [at Sockhop] around 9 pm, I went with my friend Pat, the place was crowded and jumping. Jumping with men and women dancing. Another surprise was – which is a rarity in New York City – there were more men than women. Age didn’t matter either – from young to old, to older, to real old everybody was happy to be there. Partners were changed often and it felt like the joy of dancing was the reason for being here.” – Brigitte Nioche
Read the full article HERE.
Feb 14th 2016
Featured in THE CULTURE-IST magazine as
“Anyone who appreciates this genre of music and wants to try something new, they should definitely check it out!”
Click the picture for the link to the online article.
March 15, 2009
Featured on Explore Dance Magazine
“Great Dance Music from the 50’s and 60’s
Eric Silvey’s Swing Dance Party at Iguana”
by Bonnie Rosenstock
“One of Eric Silvey’s fans described the dances he organizes as going to a sock hop in someone’s basement. That description is not far off base. The 50’s and 60’s dance party does take place in a basement, that is, Downstairs at Iguana, 240 West 54th Street between Broadway and Eighth Avenue, an elegant club with a spacious wooden dance floor, low lights (no spinning disco balls), comfortable seating, great food and a polished wraparound full bar.
However, it is the egalitarian sock hop of your dreams, and definitely without wallflowers. Divisions among former jocks, beauty queens, nerds and smarty-pants are non-existent. “Everybody is here to dance and have a good time,” said Phyllis Platin, in her second year attending. “I am not skilled. I dance from the heart and find so many of the people, both men and women, are very kind.”
“Girls and guys complement each other,” added Manny, who has been coming here since Silvey started these dances five years ago. “If you don’t know how to dance, your partner is willing to help you out. I was taught by most of the females here,” he stated.
Norah has been coming here for a year and credits Manny with teaching her most of her dance moves. She was dressed to the nines in a delicious combination of red and black and signature black lace gloves with gold threads. She likes East Coast Swing because it has “a hoppy, boppy feel, the happier the better,” is how she put it.
Which is what Silvey, 59, raised on this music in the suburbs of Ohio, hopes people will experience. He and Carlos Cardona, who has been with Silvey since the beginning, take turns spinning those platters, now called CD’s, alternating 50’s and 60’s doo wop, Motown, soul and rock n roll with a dash of rhythm and blues, made for East Coast Swing, West Coast Swing, Cha-cha and romantic slow dancing. Golden Oldie favorites like Bill Haley and the Comets, the Temptations, Dion and the Belmonts, Martha and the Vandelas. Bobby Darin, Frankie Lyman and the Teenagers, and popular requests like “Morse Code of Love,” by the Capris (which they actually wrote in 1982 in their doo wop sound), “That House on the Hill” by Hank Ballard fill the room with nostalgia and energy. “It’s so great to dance to, the harmonies, lyrics, brass and rhythms are so enticing. It fulfilled some deep-seated need in me to keep this type of music and dancing alive,” Silvey said.
The atmosphere is informal and dress is casual although some dancers recreate the outfits of that bygone era. Silvey himself is sartorially splendid from starched navy blue and white striped shirt, pale yellow tie with a hint of red floral, sleek black pants down to his black and white German-manufactured Bleyer shoes, reminiscent of those must-have saddle shoes, but with spin spot sole for swing.
The event attracts people of all ages, from their 20’s to 80’s, with a preponderance of those who were around when they and the music were both young. Around 75% to 80% have been regulars since the first dance event. Over the last six months, however, Silvey has seen a rise in attendance, bringing the average easily over one hundred per dance. Perhaps the economic downturn has brought people out seeking to dance their troubles away while thinking back to a happier, more carefree time. Or word has spread that it’s “wholesome fun dancing to this music,” said Silvey. Whatever the reason, like those who attend his dances, Silvey can’t wait for the next party, which happens every third or fourth Sunday of the month. “Hearing the music and dancing is the highlight of the month for me. It’s my great hobby and great love.””
January 29, 2006
Featured on Explore Dance Magazine
“Swing Dancing Downstairs at Iguana”
by Leon Mitrani
“One, two, three o’clock, four o’clock, rock,
Five, six, seven o’clock, eight o’clock, rock,
Nine, ten, eleven o’clock, twelve o’clock, rock,
We’re gonna rock around the clock tonight.
Baby boomers will recognize these lyrics as the opening lines of Bill Haley’s classic, Rock Around the Clock (For complete lyrics to Rock Around the Clock, go to http://www.billhaley.co.uk/lyrics.htm), which played over the credits for the film, Blackboard Jungle in 1954. That was also one of Sidney Poitier’s first starring roles. While the D.J. is spinning this, several dozen couples are rockin’, swinging, doing the Lindy, and acting like any teenagers would. However, the year is 2006, and dancers are Baby Boomers in their fifties and sixties joyfully reliving what we consider great music. Where is this magical place? It happens every third Sunday at the Iguana, 240 W. 54th St. in Manhattan, and is hosted by Eric Silvey. He’s also a Boomer who promotes these events as much for love as for financial gain, since the cost is a modest $10.
It’s almost axiomatic that any generation considers the music it grew up with to be the best, just as the Greatest Generation of WWII regarded the Big Band sound as special. Other legendary artists heard are Chuck Berry, Elvis, Little Richard, Dion, Bobby Darin, and for aficionados, Little Isadore and the Inquisitors. Those of us who attend these dances, or hops as they were called, feel rejuvenated and refreshed after these monthly Sunday evening events. Some of us are retired, others working, some a little of both, but we’re mostly good dancers in great shape who attend for vigorous exercise, hanging out with friends, and listening to music considered passé by today’s music industry.
We now label this swing dancing, which is thriving throughout New York, but most of the music is the Big Band sound of the 1940s. Rock n’ Roll (R&R), as we call the sounds described above, has dance steps similar to Big Band music, and both can be called swing dancing. R&R has a hardcore following that appeals to people of every generation. Word is spreading.
Besides enthusiastic dancers, what makes these events such successes have been the dedication to, and taste and love for this dance music by Co-DJ’s Eric Silvey and Carlos Cardona, Baby Boomers themselves. Eric launched these throwback events in the fall of 2004, and their popularity has grown steadily through word of mouth.
If you’re a member of Our Generation, please join us. If you’re younger and enjoy swing dancing, we’d love to have you, and are sure you’ll enjoy expanding your dancing options. More dancers under 45 are discovering and enjoying this music and dancing. Our last event included people from their early twenties to their mid-sixties. Since we change partners after every song, singles as well as couples are welcome.
Oh yes, as an added bonus, there’s another type of music played here that you can Lindy/swing to, and that’s Motown groups like the Four Tops (Same Old Song) and Martha & the Vandella (Heat Wave). To check for the date of our next dance, please visit http://www.sockhopsundays.com, and look at the third or fourth Sunday of the month, or call Eric on (212) 486-9517. Come on down!
When the clock strikes two, three and four,
If the band slows down we’ll yell for more,
We’re gonna rock around the clock tonight,
We’re gonna rock, rock, rock, ’til broad daylight.
We’re gonna rock, gonna rock, around the clock tonight.”