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In 1977, at the height of the disco craze, the Studio 54 nightclub opened its doors in the seedy underbelly of midtown Manhattan. The club soon gained a reputation with both celebrities and clubgoers as an "anything goes" venue, where its sparkling dance floor and labyrinth of lounges offered refuge to any number of illicit activities. The club soon caught the attention of federal authorities, and within three years, owners Steve Rubell and Ian Schrager were apprehended and charged with tax evasion following a dramatic raid on the venue.
In 1980, the original Studio 54 had finally shuttered its doors, but not before hosting some of the most outrageous Halloween parties in history. In 1981, the club reopened under new leadership but failed to capture the spirit of its former self. While these pictures only capture a glimpse into this chaotic world, it's what occurred between frames and off-camera that solidified Studio 54's reputation as the king of hedonistic nightclubs.