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Monday, December 25, 2023

"Studio 54" - The beginning of a new world club culture

  Rajesh Kumar Rana       Monday, December 25, 2023

Studio 54 on Broadway

In 1977, a new nightclub was founded, which not only beautified New York, but also changed the club culture of the world.

Moreover, at that time its creators (Steve Rubell and lan Schrager) could not even imagine that they had created an entire era, which lasted for 10 years and turned the foundations of the morality of American society.

"Studio 54" - the beginning of a new world club culture

A bit about history

The opening day of the institution was April 26, 1977. Studio 54 is located in a building erected in 1927, located at the intersection of 54th Street in Manhattan and Broadway. Until 1943, it belonged to the theater (New Yorker Theatre), and subsequently Columbia Broadcasting Co (television and radio broadcasting company) became its owner. The building underwent renovation and was converted into a television studio called "Studio 52" (according to the number of company studios).

Studio 54
 source: Wikimedia

The founders of the establishment, who were previously in the restaurant business (and had little experience in the club business), had an idea to transform the studio into a nightclub. The financial sponsor was Jack Dushi, the condition of which was to receive 50% of the profit for the assistance provided. The renovation of the building lasted almost a year and cost the new owners $700,000. The club got its name in honor of the street and the name of the television studio.

Night club "Studio 54"

From the very beginning of the existence of the club, it was clear that he was simply doomed to success. The first party, attended by 5,000 guests, was a resounding success. The number of people who wanted to get into the club was huge, many could not enter the interior of the institution. Initially, a strict face control system functioned here, limiting the number of people who wanted to get here.

Often, even celebrities did not have the opportunity to get into the institution. Visitor selection was handled by Steve Rubell. Those who did not have the opportunity to legally enter the institution resorted to various tricks (for example, there were cases when they tried to enter the club through the ventilation system, many offered bribes, etc.).

There were cases when the hall of the institution was empty, while outside it was “attacked” by a crowd of people who wanted to get inside by any means.

Already a few months after the opening, stars (actors, musicians, artists, etc.) began to hang out here, attracting hundreds of other popular visitors. The guests of the club were such celebrities as Michael Jackson, Calvin Klein, Elton John, Sylvester Stallone, Andy Warhol, John Travolta and many other famous representatives of bohemian life. A frequent guest of the club was Donald Trump (still a successful businessman at that time).


It was the first free establishment in which no one condemned people for the way they looked, guests with any views and tastes were welcome here, and any love was also welcomed. In an interview, one of the founders of the club said that it was originally planned to bring together a diverse audience, among which there would be wealthy people and ordinary people, gays and lesbians, people of different ages and preferences. The main principle that guided the first owners was: "Forbidden fruit is always sweet."

The club's most famous guest was Sally Lippman, who was nicknamed "Disco Sally". This woman abruptly changed her life after the death of her husband, with whom she had been married for 50 years. By her example, she tried to prove not only to New York, but to the whole world that parties are an event not only for the younger generation.

The main place of carnal pleasures and comforts was the "rubber room", which is a large room located on the third floor of the institution. Its name is not associated with the size, but with the name of the material present in its interior. Rubber was easily laundered after hot meetings ... According to many, Sodom and Gomorrah cannot be compared with what was happening in this room.


I must say that the use of alcohol and drugs was common here. The institution was especially popular among the public, which adhered to free morals, turning their lives into one big party.

Change of club owners

In December 1978, representatives of the US Internal Revenue Service visited the establishment. Cocaine and a huge amount of money were found here, which represented undeclared income. Every day, the profit of the institution was about 70 thousand dollars, that is, tax evasion was expressed in a large amount (2.5 million dollars annually). Given this fact, the owners were arrested and subsequently received 3.5 years in prison.

I must say that in reality they spent only 13 months in prison. In February 1980, a farewell party took place, among the guests were such celebrities as Gia Kaknji, Richard Gere, and Sylvester Stallone, who, according to legend, bought the last liquor. Liza Minnelli performed the famous hit "New York, New York".


Mike Flachmann, Carmen Alessio and Michael Overington became the new owners of the club, and the former owners, released from prison, acted as consultants. Disco, insanely popular earlier, has lost its relevance, but the possibility of contracting AIDS, as a result of promiscuity, has increased significantly. The institution lost its old status and was completely closed in 1986.

Interesting Facts

In 1998, Studio 54 was released (directed by Mark Christopher), starring Ryan Phillippe.

In the television series Warehouse 13 (season 1), an artifact (discoball) of the Studio 54 club is mentioned, which was a witness to human depravity and irrepressible sexual fantasies.


The series "Sex and the City" talks about "Studio 54". The film stars Mikhail Baryshnikov.


Club "Studio 54" received the status of a cult place, although its existence did not last long. One of its founders (Steve Rubell) died of AIDS in 1989.

Many celebrities gathered to say goodbye to him, who were among the regular visitors to the club. Ian Schrager successfully runs the hotel business, and during the reign of Barack Obama, all earlier charges were dropped from him. At one time, the opening of the legendary club was the beginning of a new club culture, in which there were no established rules, and moral standards corresponded only to the fantasies of the guests.


Thanks for reading "Studio 54" - The beginning of a new world club culture

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