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30 West 23rd Street

Now a luxury condominium slated to open shortly, this Chelsea landmark was once a 1980s institution that helped launched the careers and nurtured the social lives of Madonna, The Beastie Boys and The Butthole Surfers called Danceteria. Danceteria has a history disarmingly complex and business-like for a club that also represents the rise of unpretentious fun. Sometimes thought of as the more inclusive son of the disco granddaddy, Studio 54, Danceteria, which was open from 1981-86 had much in common...

Now a luxury condominium slated to open shortly, this Chelsea landmark was once a 1980s institution that helped launched the careers and nurtured the social lives of Madonna, The Beastie Boys and The Butthole Surfers called Danceteria. Danceteria has a history disarmingly complex and business-like for a club that also represents the rise of unpretentious fun. Sometimes thought of as the more inclusive son of the disco granddaddy, Studio 54, Danceteria, which was open from 1981-86 had much in common with its 1970s counterpart. To begin, both were owned by a set of men, one aloof business mastermind in the mold of Studio 54’s Ian Schrager was named Rudolf. The charming face of the club, the Steve Rubell figure, was in the case of Danceteria, a man named Jim Fourratt. Rudolf and Jim Fourratt had teamed up on an ill-fated earlier club that was described as a “Bauhaus masterpiece” that only lasted through opening weekend due to neighbor complaints that shut down their already slim chances of procuring a liquor lisence in the aftermath of Steve Rubbel and Ian Schrager’s stint in jail. Both represented an uptown glitter vibe that contrasted with the punk counterforces of the likes of the Mudd Club and CBGB. Both celebrated a dance scene that catered to the socializing customer as opposed to the downtown clubs that seemed more about the live music they featured and the careers they launched. But one difference that set Danceteria apart from Studio 54 and the culture that club represented was its door policy. Unlike Studio 54, whose elitist door policy spawned countless jokes, ad campaigns, and in a few cases, attempted murders and actual deaths in the name of “getting in,” Danceteria was available to any paying customer. Its inclusivity reflects a shift in the general attitude in New York as it entered the 1980s. The 1970s had been a grim time, economically speaking, and Studio 54s policy seemed to reenforce the notion that in 1970s New York, fun was for the few. In the 1980s, an economic recovery allowed the opening of doors.

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30 West 23rd Street
New York, NY 10011
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