TOUR OF POWER STATION RECORDING STUDIO AT BERKLEE NYC (Video):
New York’s most storied recording studios have been vanishing, victims of more accessible digital recording techniques and escalating real estate prices in Manhattan. First went the Hit Factory, in 2005. Last year, both the Magic Shop — a favorite of David Bowie, who recorded his final album there — and Manhattan Sound Recordings were shuttered.
But now one of these spaces filled with pop-culture lore is being saved: After almost two years on the market, the building that houses Avatar Studios has been acquired by Berklee. The studio — which originally opened as the Power Station in 1977, and where Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Madonna, David Bowie and the cast of “Hamilton” have recorded — will be renovated, expanded and rebranded as BerkleeNYC. The recording studios will continue to operate commercially as the Power Station at BerkleeNYC, along with new offerings including educational programs, performances and resources for local musicians.
The transaction was spearheaded by the Berklee trustee Pete Muller, with the support of the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment and the Economic Development Corporation. They have raised $25 million for the project, including $6 million from the city. According to the Berklee president, Roger H. Brown, this will be “enough to launch, renovate, and operate for a decade,” while the school continues to raise additional funds for the project.
Avatar, a 33,000-square-foot complex in a former Consolidated Edison power plant on West 53rd Street just off 10th Avenue, is one of the last full-scale recording studios left in Manhattan — the only one big enough to accommodate a full orchestra or a Broadway cast album.
If you enjoyed David Bowie’s “Let’s Dance,” Chic’s “Le Freak,” Bruce Springteen’s The River album, Dire Strait’s “Money for Nothing,” or the aforementioned Hamilton soundtrack, they were all recorded at the Power Station (along with a zillion other records), which thanks to Boston’s Berklee College of Music, received a reprieve from being turned into condominiums. Fun video for recording or music aficionados.