Big Ben was, in my eyes, a moneymaking machine, not just for his own businesses but for many in the nightlife scene. With that comes a love and hate relationship with many, and seeing the responses on social media following his recent passing, this tenuous relationship is as apparent as ever.
The Big Ben I knew was a softhearted, kind man who always had a smile on his face. His demeanor was all the more impressive in the knowledge that he ran an operation spanning as many as five huge nightclubs several weekends a year.
As those of us in the business know, nightlife work pays by the day—there are no fixed payrolls; it’s all about hard work, and Ben certainly paid his dues in that respect. He not only was responsible for covering the clubs’ operating fees, but also staffing the venue, picking the entertainment and everything else that goes along with the job.
Big Ben and I would often go to dinner on Sundays. He never batted an eye at a $300 food tab. He was always happy to share his dinner table with his closest friends and colleagues.
More often than not he carried a bag of money around with him. I would always encourage him to take more caution: “You never change—even after getting beat over the head at the club and after getting robbed by masked men outside your apartment.” Despite my encouraging him to be more careful, he kept up the same routine. That was Big Ben! He did what he wanted to do and when he wanted.
He obviously enjoyed his work, and the industry respected him for that: He was voted Get Out! Magazine’s 2016 Promoter of the Year this past June. He was the only promoter throwing parties from Thursday through Sunday nights, as well as rooftop parties on Saturday and Sunday afternoons.
We will miss you, Big Ben. The nightclub scene will not be the same without your leadership.
Michael Todd, Publisher, Get Out! Magazine