Who was Michael Alig? NYC ‘Club Kids’ leader who hammered roomie to death before partying for 9 days found dead
Michael Alig, one of the most infamous figures of New York nightlife in the early 90s is dead. Alig who was immortalized on screen by Macaulay Culkin in the 2003 film 'Party Monster' apparently died of a heroin overdose. The notorious club promoter, who served 17 years in prison for murdering and dismembering his friend, was 54 years old.
According to reports, Alig was doing heroin and other drugs shortly before he lost consciousness around 3 am, his boyfriend told police. Medics found him dead at the scene. Alig was a famous face in New York's clubbing culture in the late 1980s and early 1990s, running a number of exclusive Manhattan clubs. These included a renovated Chelsea church that became the legendary Limelight, the concert hall turned nightclub Palladium, and the Tunnel, which was formerly a railroad freight terminal.
Referred to as the “Pied Piper" to the young club-hopping crowd, he was also the ringleader of the “Club Kids”, who epitomized New York City club culture at the time. Alig's notorious 'Outlaw Parties', were thrown in various unconventional places like a Burger King, a Dunkin' Donuts, abandoned houses, and a subway. His parties helped to revitalize the downtown New York City club scene. But his behavior grew increasingly reckless as his drug use soared and he indulged in behaviors like urinating on clubgoers or urinating in their drinks. He would also engage in staged falls wherein he knocked others to the ground or throw $100 bills on crowded dance floors just to watch people scramble for them.
In 1996, he murdered his roommate and dealer, Angel Melendez, over a drug-money dispute. After killing Melendez with a hammer, Alig poured Drano into Melendez’s mouth and taped it shut as the body lay in the bathtub on ice. He and his friend Robert “Freeze” Riggs then kept partying for the next eight or nine days before returning to mutilate Melendez’s body and dumping it in the Hudson River. In the weeks following Melendez's disappearance, Alig allegedly told "anyone who would listen" that he and Riggs had killed him but no one took him seriously until the legless torso of Melendez was found.
Alig was paroled from prison in 2014 but was arrested briefly again in February 2017, this time for trespassing and smoking crystal meth in a park outside Bronx Supreme Court. In 2017, after finishing his time on parole, Alig tried to again launch his career as a clubber and socialite but received death threats. Though he never kicked the drugs or his addiction issues, he had expressed remorse for his actions. “Eighteen years on, looking back at the person I was at that time, I feel nothing but shame and disgust,” Alig wrote in an article after his release in 2014. “I was a selfish junkie who killed another human being.”
While in prison, Alig, in an interview, had said: "I know why I blabbed. I must have wanted to stop me. I was spinning out of control. It's like the old saying 'What do you have to do to get attention around here — kill somebody?'"