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Remembering the Opening of Studio 54 on Its 40th Anniversary

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Manhattan's reknowned disco and nightclub Studio 54 is located at 254 West 54th Street. (Photo by michael norcia/Sygma via Getty Images)
Manhattan’s disco and nightclub Studio 54 at 254 West 54th Street opened on April 26, 1977. (Michael Norcia/Sygma via Getty Images)

 

Two college pals from Syracuse University, Steve Rubell and Ian Schrager, set out to capture the New York nightlife and for a moment did just that.

Studio 54 opened on April 26, 1977 and immediately became a sensation, welcoming a bizarre mix of luminaries including Andy Warhol, Truman Capote, and the First Lady of the Philippines, Imelda Marcos.

Housed in an old opera theater on Manhattan’s West 54th Street, which once hosted filming of the kid’s program, Captain Kangaroo, the club became well known for very adult-oriented debauchery—with some patrons reportedly doing lines of cocaine or having sex openly inside.

And then there was the time Mick Jagger’s then-wife, Bianca, rode a white horse across the dance floor….

An unidentified party-goer dances in a bikini and transparent skirt at the nightclub Studio 54, New York, New York, late 1970s or early 1980s. (Photo by Rose Hartman/Getty Images)
An unidentified party-goer dances in a bikini and transparent skirt at the nightclub Studio 54, New York, New York, late 1970s or early 1980s. (Photo by Rose Hartman/Getty Images)

But the party didn’t last: Studio 54 closed on February 4, 1980 with its owners sentenced to prison for tax evasion. Before that abrupt end, the legendary New York disco club started a party people are still talking about today.

Learn more about Studio 54’s history at History.com. Take a quick look inside with this video from 1978.

 

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