If there was ever a cultural moment that forever Socially Sparked® our lives it was when the infamous NYC nightclub Studio 54 opened its doors. To commemorate the iconic club’s anniversary today, we take a look back and flash forward to present day with our feature of a then 5-year-old nightclub on Manhattan’s Upper East Side that glorifies that time in NYC – and is bringing back the decadence of those days in 2020s fashion.
FORWARD TO 2023 AND ANOTHER ANNIVERSARY TO DANCE THE NIGHT AWAY
In honor of Studio 54’s 46th anniversary we share this feature from the 45th Celebration to remind you to be decadent and dance the night away. The anniversary Studio 54 Alumni Party at Ethyl’s Alcohol with Sirius XM’s Marc and Myra is only held every 5 years. So Happy Anniversary!
A Look Back at Studio 54
The story goes that in a rather seedy part of town — West 54th Street between 8th Avenue and Broadway – two college friends from Syracuse University opened up a discotheque on April 26, 1977. Little did they know that their club “Studio 54” would become the hottest, most decadent and most notorious nightclub of all time. That part of town in the ’80s was the “original” Hell’s Kitchen area. The two college friends — Steve Rubell and Ian Schrager.
Frequent celebrity guests included Any Warhol, Liza Minelli, Bianca Jagger and Halston, to name just a few. The red rope outside the club armed with “the bouncers” only added to the mystique of the club. People waited for hours on line hoping upon hoping to be selected to enter. Often to no avail.
Sex, Drugs & Disco Dancing
Inside the club was another story. Actually several stories — one more decadent and unbelievable than the other. From Quaalude-infused guests, to wild cocaine-flowing parties, to extravagant over the top decor and guests having random sex with strangers on the rubber-covered balcony, the stories about the goings on inside the Club were unbelievable. Another story floating around was that of the mysterious death of a man donning black-tie attire found in the air vent. Rumor has it that he snuck into the Club through that air vent. Later, Steve Rubel verified the story. You name it, you heard it, it was probably true.
Although Studio 54 only remained open for 33 months, it lives on to this day as the discotheque that invented the “modern nightclub and dance culture and threw away the rule book to do it. Even the closing party at the club on February 4, 1980 was over the top decadent, aptly called “The End of Modern-day Gomorrah.”
Two movies were made about Studio 54. One drama in 1998 called “54” written and directed by Mark Christopher and starring Ryan Phillippe, Salma Hayek, Neve Campbell, and Mike Myers. The other, a 2018 documentary titled “Studio 54” directed by Matt Tyrnauer and told through the eyes of the club’s employees.
Flash Forward: If They Build It, They Will Still Come
Flash forward from the late seventies and The Studio 54 of yore to the decade of 2020 and a much smaller nightclub on Manhattan’s Upper East side that purposely emits an aura of Studio 54 down and dirty decadence. We’re talking about the club called “Ethyl’s Alcohol and Food on 2nd Avenue.
Ethyl’s was built for those “cool” New Yorkers who know this city and want to be surrounded by the spirits of their heroes and the memories of a scene that should never be forgotten!!!
Straight from the dance club’s website, we adapt the story of the making of Ethyl’s to share here.
Ethyl’s began as a love letter to the New York City of the 1970s. A time and place where native New Yorkers Charlie Sub and Gerard Renny came of age. Charlie’s father owned the legendary NYC club “Coventry” which helped launch the careers of music icons Kiss, NY Dolls, The Ramones and more. Gerard’s nightlife journey began at 18 when he was thrust into the world of Studio 54.
The Plan was to build a bar that could bring those classic memories of Studio 54 back to life. This would require a crew of like-minded New Yorkers that could help recapture the flavor of old New York and a great chef, designer and consultant named Paul Gerard to seal the deal.
Together the crew curated the soundtrack that could swing the scene back to the 1970’s… and from there Ethyl’s was born!
The Studio 54 45th Anniversary Reunion Party
Party with a Purpose to celebrate the 45th Anniversary Reunion of the class of Studio 54 complete with former employees and attendees who survived the seventies and the nightlife there.
Getting the party started up right was original Studio 54 DJ Robbie Leslie with DJ Greko.
Party with a Purpose
An auction hosted by Sirius XM Studio 54 Radio Hosts Marc and Myra of The Marc and Myra Show to benefit foster children via The Felix Organization at www.walkthiswayforkids.org . Listen to their show interviewing 20 former employees of Steve Rubell and Ian Schrager on Wednesday night, April 27 on Sirius XM Channel 54 at 10PM ET.
Yes there are go go dancers regularly at Ethyl’s Alcohol and Food Club. This 45th Anniversary Party night was not the exception. And, what would a reunion party be without all kinds of crazy get ups.
If you build it on the Upper East Side of NYC, the cool people will come. Ethyl’s owners knew that. Ethyl’s host Adam James knew that. So much so that there is now a second location in Brooklyn’s Wiliamsburg. Happy 45th Anniversary to Studio 54. The nightclub may be gone, but the party and the aura live on at Ethyl’s, on Sirius XM’s Studio 54 Radio Station and in all of us who are cool. — Abbe is forever Socially Sparked. Tweet us @sosparkednews & @asparks01.
**This story has been updated. It originally ran in Socially Sparked News one year ago, April 26, 2022. **