At 12:30 Friday night, black walls, colored lights and heavy beats made for one of the most diverse and lively parties on campus. This party wasn't on the Street, however — it was in the basement of Wilcox Hall, at the BlackBox's "Coming Out of Retirement" party.
The BlackBox club — a Friday night dance party billed as an alternative to the Street — had been on hiatus due to breaks and finals.
But Friday, dozens of students showed up, dancing to hip-hop and reggaeton spun by DJ Rated R. With music blasting from 11:30 until late into the night, the event provided the right atmosphere for the many students who came looking for a good time.
"It's very high-intensity," Jessica Kellogg '09, who frequents BlackBox "most weekends," said over the din. "It's a good outlet for my energy at the end of the week. It's a safe place to come and dance."
Rafat Sanni '09 said the club's diversity was one of its main appeals. "A lot of different kinds of people come to BlackBox. Like, Jessica is a different kind of person than I am," Sanni said, signaling to Kellogg, her roommate.
As the party wore on into the early morning, dozens of students poured into the crowded room. A large cluster of students moved onto the dance floor, joking with friends, while a few couples danced intimately in the corners.
Some students said that BlackBox was a welcome alternative to the Street. "It's not as far, and it's smaller [than eating clubs], so it's more intimate. You're more likely to see people you know," Sanni said.
A club is born
The club was formed last year to give students who may not want to go to the Street another social option.
Ben Bernstein '08, one of the original organizers of the club, said that Wilson College Master Marguerite Browning sent out an email to students last February about forming a nightclub.
"We all met for dinner and came up with a bunch of ideas on what we could do with the space and hatched a plan for the semester," Bernstein said.
Since then, BlackBox has played an essential role on campus, he said. "It's important because it's different. When people come to Princeton, they know about the clubs and the Street culture and are almost forced to either accept it or be crippled socially. What we are offering appeals to the people that don't want to make that choice."
Co-organizer Daniel Watford '09 said that while the club mostly attracts underclassmen now, he hopes these students will stick with the BlackBox when they become upperclassmen. "As years pass, more and more upperclassmen will come," Watford said.
Bernstein shares that same optimism.
"BlackBox is going very well. We have a good core group of regular attendees that appreciate what we do," Bernstein said. "We started with just a few people, but now we have recruited about 10 more people to help with the operations. I have all confidence that as we get more people attending and getting involved, BlackBox will be a very big part of the Princeton social scene."