Published On: Thu, Mar 6th, 2014

Ian Schrager To Finally Open The Books On Studio 54

Schrager, who operated the legendary New York hotspot in partnership with the late Steve Rubell, has decided that the time is right to put his memories  down on paper.

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Close to 25 years since he turned his back on the famous, but infamous Studio 54 nightclub, Ian Schrager, who with his latest business partner Steve Rubell lived the dream of opening the coolest disco in Manhattan, and later went on to serve a prison sentence for tax evasion because of it, has finally decided to end his the silence.

Schrager has begun to work on a semi-biography  which will be due for release in the  autumn of 2015.

This is not the first time that books and even movies have been made regarding  the almost unbelievable story of Studio 54, which the late Steve Rubel imaginatively described as the “nightclub to end all nightclubs”.

However, was the inside story coming from  Ian Schrager, who was there close to the action from day one, the public will be be given previously unseen and unknown insights into the lives and times times of the most exclusive yet often debauched nightspots in New York’s often chequered history.

According to early reports  Schrager intends to hold nothing back about his relationship with the superstars of the year and frequented the club, and will even be publishing exclusive photographs in his coffee table book sized biography, due to be released by Rizzoli publishers in the autumn of 2015.

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Studio 54 was an instant hit from the day it first opened its doors in early 1977 on the site of the former Gallo Opera House on 254 West 54th Street. It rapidly became the favorite place to be seen by  the rich and famous of that special era, attracting a wide cross-section of celebrities ranging from Mick Jagger to Liza Minnelli, Andy Warhol to Grace Jones, Drew Barrymore to Rod Stewart and Diana Ross  to Woody Allen among literally thousands of others.

However Rubell, who was the most iconic figure behind the club did did not necessarily enjoy playing according to the rules, especially when it came to paying income tax, and was known to brag in public about it.  His careless talk was to prove both uncomfortable and expensive for him as well as Schrager  when in  late 1978 with the club at the peak of its popularity it was raided by government officials who discovered and confiscated a number of voluminous plastic garbage bags filled with cash hidden away in a secret compartment in the building.

That was the end of Studio 54,  at least for the era where Rubell and Schrager were running the show, with the club closing its doors  in late 1980, after the pair had each been handed a prison sentence of 13 months for tax evasion.

Studio 54  continued to operate under the ownership of Mark Fleischman, but after the events involving Rubell and Schrager it has lost a lot of its debauched exclusivity and was never the same force.

After serving their  sentences Ian Schrager and Steve Rubell remained close friends as well as business partners. Schrager, who was more of the design and concept man in the partnership, opened  a number  of boutique hotels in Manhattan,  originally in partnership with Steve Rubell which are regarded as the forerunners of the Boutique hotel. Unfortunately, Steve his business partner and close friend passed away at the age of 45 in 1989, while Schrager has continued to build up his hotel empire on his own.

Ian Schrager has recently entered into a partnership agreement with global hotel chain Marriott International to create a new brand of boutique hotel with a wide range in plans to open  another hundred units in major cities throughout North America and South America as well as in Europe and Asia.

The golden era of Studio 54 was recreated in a film “ 54”  starring Canadian actor Mike Myers, playing the part of Steve Rubell. Fortunately or unfortunately the storyline  deviated very far away from reality, with Ian Schrager’s part in the true story of the nightclub barely being mentioned. Now Schrager’s recollections of those exceptional times will finally be revealed.

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Ian Schrager graduated from Syracuse University with a Bachelor of Arts and then earned a Juris Doctorate from St. John’s University School of Law in 1971.

After completing his university education, Schrager went on to practice law, before going into partnership with Steve Rubell in the entertainment business, opening the Enchanted Garden, a new concept disco situated in the slightly less fashionable area of Douglaston in the borough of  Queens.

Despite the location, Schrager and Rubell made a great success of the Enchanted Garden, and decided that it would open what would be the best a nightclub in Manhattan, which opened its doors in March of 1977 in the former  Gallo Opera House.

After their release from prison Schrager and Rubell opened another nightclub, the Palladium, situated in the former Academy of Music building on  East 14th Street, in New York City. The building which had  a capacity for 3000 people, and had been an ideal venue for live music concerts thanks to its excellent acoustics was converted  by Schrager and Rubell at considerable expense to become to become one of the greatest nightclubs in the city, which continued to function until the late 1990s when it was The club was a mainstay on the Big Apple club scene until it was acquired by New York University (NYU) and promptly demolished to make way for a campus housing project.

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