By Nick Christophers
The lights and glitz of Manhattan are a serious draw for anyone looking for excitement. But once you land there the question arises, “Ok where do we go now?” For any club goers there are not many choices as there were during the height of the club scene in the 80’s. But there are a few that stand out like Space, Pacha, Webster Hall and more. Yet these are big room clubs that lack the intimacy that many club goers look for.
This void was quickly filled by club entrepreneur Noel Ashman who opened his long awaited night spot, The Leonora. The club is nestled in the Chelsea section of Manhattan where many others before it were born. Noel was always involved in the nightlife, he was only a teenager when he became the first promoter to throw a party at the famous Nell’s in 1987. He realized early on that people always looked to enjoy themselves and unwind after working hard all week. Noel felt he wanted to offer people an opportunity to “let their hair down and rock on”.
In any business it is always scary to invest your time and money. Statistically speaking most business go under within the first six months. But Noel never looked at the negatives and found a way to benefit from every venture he approached.
“There is a quote I live by “A prepared mind is never a nervous one.” I never worried about what I went into as long as I was fully prepared.”
As Noel moved in the nightlife circle he came in contact with many celebrities who helped him hone his business skills. Notable individuals like Mike Strahan (also part owner in the The Leonora), Mark Wahlberg, David Wells and Chris Noth. All of these A-list people have guided and offered advice to Noel in his journey as a nightlife impresario.
Noel was always a movie buff and decided to dabble in the film business. He along with producer Randall Emmett released his first production “Speedway Junky” in 1999. The film starred sultry actress Daryl Hannah. At this point Noel became co-owner of a film company called Co-Op. He also co-produced the films “The Atrocity Exhibition” and “Never Again” co-written by J.B. Ballard.
He also offered some of his acting skills in the films “Mind the Gap” and “Never Again”. He has also received special production credits for “The Guitar”, “Carlito’s Way: Rise to Power” and“Bounce: Behind the Velvet Rope”. Noel was also drawn to theatre and co-produced an Off Broadway play called “The Dog Problem” by David Rabe. Recently he co-produced a short entitled “Fall 4 You” which was for Natali Yura. Besides all the film and theater ventures he also became a regular contributor to the then VH-1 show “My Coolest Years” and was one of the stars of show. He would often comment on issues surrounding Pop Culture.
The Lenora offers a Roaring 1920’s motif and fuses it with a modern day twist. It definitely offers that intimacy some search for but also hits you with some fist pumping beats. Noel is a visionary who is always looking to improve on better ways to make every night a party to remember.