In the late 1970s, at the peak of the disco dancing and music trend, the building was renamed after its location and became a world-famous nightclub. The nightclub founders spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on professional lighting design and kept many of the former TV and theatrical sets, and in the process created a unique dance club that became famous for its celebrity guest lists, restrictive (and subjective) entry policies (based on one’s appearance and style), and open club drug use.
For 33 months, Studio 54 made headlines for its outrageous stunts, becoming the stuff of legend until it all came crashing down when Schrager and Rubell were arrested for tax evasion and ended up serving 13 months in prison. In 1989, Rubell died from complications due to AIDS.
It was a fairytale on the dancefloor. But it also had areas where you could talk with an artist, a fashion designer, or a movie star.