March 16, 2015

Studio 54

The Guardian has this gallery of photos by Swedish photographer Hasse Persson, from the infamous nightclub Studio 54 in New York. The nightclub was sold in 1980 or 1981 and lost some of its glamour, but continued to operate to 1988 or 1991 (the facts depend on what source you go to).

I actually went there in 1983. Kind of. I was one of a plane load of Swedish foreign exchange students, about to be transported to small towns all across the US, having a few days of assembly and preparation in New York. One of the girls was determined to go to Studio 54 and I, and two others, joined her late one night in a taxi that let us off on the other side of the street. It was, in my memory, a rather grey, dull street, and there was a quiet queue in front of a rather unassuming entrance. We stood there, meekly, our shoulder bags cluched in front of us, for ten minutes or so - I guess the three of us hangers-on were waiting for the girl in charge to take an initiative; remember, we were only 16 at the time.

In the end, we walked back to the hotell without even crossing the street. Just as well, I think. I don´t suppose Bianca Jagger, Brooke Shields, and Andy Warhol still went there anyway. Or that they would have let us in. On the way, we saw the steam rise from under the street (massive ambience!), bought an unexpectedly salty pretzel (still don´t like them), and just gawked.

And that´s all there was to that.

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