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 advise 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”. Besides all the film and theatre 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.
In-between all these endeavors there was one actor/friend who disappointed him but has recently impressed him. Troubled actor Lillo Brancato, famous for his role in “Bronx Tale”, was an old friend of Noel’s. As many of you know he just completed his sentence after being incarcerated for first-degree attempted burglary. He presently got back on his feet and found an new acting role in an upcoming film entitled “Back In The Day”. Noel is proud of Lillo’s new venture and hopes that he can stay on the straight and narrow.When Noel took on the task of building the Leonora name he had certain investors come on board. Unfortunately when it comes to something this notable some try to take advantage of it. One, Mike Bregman son of the talented Marty Bregman attempted to defraud Noel and make false claims against the club. Eventually the truth came out that Mike was just a fraud trying to garner money illegally.
Besides, this comical mess the Leonora is doing very well and drawing crowds every week. The club 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.