Fond memories of Raleigh's old party scene hidden below Cameron Village
Posted July 19, 2013
Raleigh, N.C. — The Boyneses sit on their porch in Raleigh, thumbing through some old albums from the ‘70s and ‘80s.
“Here’s my personal favorite, a group called Arrogance, which was a regional band,” said Jack Boynes, “We used to listen to them in Underground Raleigh.”
From the 1970s into the 1980s, Underground Raleigh – officially known as the Village Subway – was one of Raleigh's hottest hotspots. It was a subterranean set of nightclubs, restaurants and an arcade under Cameron Village.
“It was just a really fun place to go,” said Nan Boynes, Jack’s wife. “I don't remember any other place in Raleigh where you could hear good, live, local music.”
By 1984, worries about the fire code and customer safety meant the Subway's days were numbered. The Cameron Village Merchants Association said back then that it was negotiating with a major retailer interested in the space, but that retailer never came.
The abandoned spot has been a hot topic on the Internet. It started first with a 2008 post on the Goodnight Raleigh blog, where hundreds of people still leave their memories. More recently, the old Village Subway has been mentioned on Heather Leah's Candid Slice blog.
“Usually, we get 1,500 to 2,000 readers,” Leah said. “It’s at 200,000 people, and it's still growing.”
A lot of people want to see the Subway today, even though the only sign of its previous life is peeling paint in the old tunnel. The rest of the space is a dank, dark basement for Cameron Village tenants.
Cameron Village managers said they are in talks with The Fresh Market grocery to use the basement as a prep and delivery area. But that won’t be open to the public.
For now, the Internet is helping the Boyneses and others unearth the memories they made underground.