Meet The Founders Of Studio 54
This “Last Blast Of Summer” weekend we are playing the best party/dance songs ever made. Big thanks to First Source for sponsoring this weekend. Find first perks and many other benefits of being a member at fsource.org. Now it wouldn’t have been a party in the 1970’s without disco and a trip to Studio 54. Have you ever wondered how this club was founded?
Back on April 26th, 1977 the legendary Studio 54 opened in New York. Studio 54 was originally a New York City Broadway theatre, then a CBS radio and television studio. In the 1970s it became a busy discothèque located at 254 West 54th Street in Manhattan. The club opened on April 26, 1977 and closed in March 1986.
Meet Steve Rubell and Ian Shrager. Both men met in college in the late 1960’s. They could not have been more different: Rubell was hyper, loud, and always up for a party; Shrager was cool, retiring, and businessminded. Despite their differences, they would own and operate the most famous nightspot on the face of the earth.
Rubell and Shrager started small in the early 70’s, opening a chain of steakhouses in the less fashionable parts of the city. Soon they were both itching for the respectability that a Manhattan address would confer, and Rubell realized that their profits would be bigger if they cut out the food and concentrated on alcohol sales. They bought a building at 254 W. 54th St. that had once been used as a television studio by CBS. An expensive renovation, pushed by Rubell and fretted over by Shrager, included hanging a huge man-in-the-moon over the dance floor. When a large hanging spoon came to rest under its nose, the man-in-the-moon lit up. They christened the club Studio 54, and the doors opened on April 16, 1977.”
Almost overnight, Studio 54 became the hottest disco club in New York. To people in every corner of the globe it symbolized the “Me Decade”. In its first year, Studio 54 made an estimated $7 million.
The high times didn’t last long. Shrager’s mismanagement and Rubell’s drug problem caught up to them in December 1979, when fifty agents from the Internal Revenue Service Burst into Studio 54 with a warrant. Garbage bags full of cash were found stuffed into the insulation, or just lying around. On their release, they went back into the nightclub business, opening the highly successful Palladium, and began buying and renovating hotels.”