There were few obvious reasons to celebrate in the New York City of the 1970s, an era more defined by dirt and crime than glitter or glamor in the busy hub. Every day seemed to bring new challenges, while the anxious inhabitants of the city were seeping away; the Bronx burned, the violence escalated and everyone, from agents and firefighters to garbage collectors, was disgusted by the circumstances and the life in the midst of the graffiti scars, litter-covered streets.
Nevertheless, the weekends – or maybe because of that – brought another New York forward. Manhattan and its clubs turned into a hedonistic mecca, the promise of drugs, disco and dancing that lure trailing workers who want to spit their hard-earned money on a nightlife characterized by escape and fantasy. By the mid-1970s the US had left Vietnam and the devastating specter of HIV and AIDS had not yet shaken public awareness.
Saturday night was & frog & # 39; fever & # 39; – destined to become a cult-classic film of the same name – a reality in the 1970s, a beacon that shone in the midst of the stinking despair of a struggling and claustrophobic city. Clubs like Studio 54 flourished, celebrities and average Joe patrons lowered their hair and dressed up their outfits.
And to document the decadence, photographer Meryl Meisler, whose sculptures capture a unique time in American history – along with the wild, free-running antics of the people who are lucky enough to see it firsthand.
Three's company: Two men and a woman shake their stuff on the dance floor in Studio 54 in July 1977, the year it was opened
Go down: Studio 54 (pictured in July 1977) became world famous for its celebrities and its very restrictive access policy. Wannabe patrons who did not look like that had no chance to get past the bouncers of the nightclub
Turn those steel wheels: Meisler noted that many of the parties had a theme during the period and people dressed accordingly for the night, which led to many women and men wearing some very daring outfits. Above is a woman standing behind the DJ booth at 04.00 in Studio 54 in August 1977
Saturday night fever: The 1970s was an era more defined by dirt and crime than glitter or glamor – but the weekends brought another New York to mind when workers hit the club scene and danced their worries away
& # 39; I was a young woman who went out and liked to & # 39; stay out late at night, & # 39; tells Meisler DailyMail.com – adding that her presence on the spot even gave her a glimpse of pop culture icons.
& # 39; The village people were in the neighborhood and performed a lot, & # 39; she says. They opened a lot of clubs in the city and one of the nights I saw them, they opened this club called Xenon. & # 39;
They were just getting ready to go inside, and I just walked right up to them in the hallway and asked if I could take your picture – and they sure said no problem. & # 39;
Meisler notes that many seventies parties had a theme, which encouraged people to dress madly, which further fueled the hedonistic atmosphere.
Studio 54 was perhaps the most iconic location, with strict rules and a ruthless admission policy – but Meisler was a regular customer, along with more famous names and faces such as Andy Warhol and Grace Jones.
Meisler, who is a New York resident, told DailyMail.com: "I was a young woman who went out and liked it very much. to stay out late at night, "she laughed jokingly. Meisler captured the photo above in October 1978 and showed that people were turned down from Studio 54 thanks to their notorious entry policy
Turn on a pose: everyone dressed to impress in August 1977 at the Infinity New York nightclub, the first to have neon lighting. It is said that the dance floor has been a block long. The club burned down in 1979
Work it out: a group of revelers poses in front of Meryl Meisler's camera in Hurray in April 1978. Hurray was a nightclub in Midtown Manhattan that ran from 1976 to 1980 and was known for its punk vibe rather than the traditional disco. Sid Vicious was imprisoned for two months on Rikers Island after he had been in combat with Patti Smith's brother Todd in Hurray at the end of 1978.
& # 39; They were like ordinary people & # 39 ;, she says. & # 39; You know, once you were in Studio 54 and other clubs, celebrities were normal. Many nights it was a mix; normal people happened to be in the club and everyone started mixing up.
"Andy Warhol was just there, he was out and about. He was really on the move. & # 39;
While Meisler skillfully focused her lens on her lens and made fantastic pictures, she never knew about the better-known club visitors and would never run "and run" celebrities, she says.
I would get a kick if I saw someone famous, but they were not my focus & # 39 ;, Meisler told DailyMail.com.
& # 39; I am not someone who would just run out and attack them. It was more interesting for me to see ordinary people who are just as fantastic. & # 39;
It's nice to stay in the Y.M.C.A: the iconic group, The Village People, was one of the most popular acts that came out of the disco period in the 70s. The acclaimed photographer Meryl Meisler recorded the above image of Leatherman Glenn Hughes during the performance at club Xenon in June 1978
During one of her notorious evenings in the Big Apple, Meisler came across the legendary group The Village People. "The Village People were in the neighborhood and performed a lot. They opened a lot of clubs in the city and one of the nights I saw them, they opened this club called Xenon, & Meisler remembered the above picture with Felipe Rose known as Red Indian or the Village People
Party animal: Meisler was a fixture in the iconic Studio 54 club, which had strict rules when it came to allowing people to party, and partied with A-listers like Andy Warhol and Grace Jones. Meisler made the image above with a picture of the Warhol Center with one of her friends named Judith (left) in Studio 54 in July 1979
And let her photo 's that & # 39; fantastic & # 39; factor expertly see and capture the hectic atmosphere, flamboyant fashion and social diversity. She has preserved all those elements for history and has published books that reveal the different sides and stages of New York. A story about two cities: Disco Era Bushwick contains disco images and stories from historians, educators and disco diva's; in the same way, her book Purgatory & Paradise contains Sassy 70s Suburbia & the City photos from Fire Island, Studio 54 and the Lower East Side.
The books – along with her other images – paint a vivid portrait of a daring, wild time in a city that both struggles and evolves, but never sleeps, in keeping with its reputation. The photo's jump off the pages – and four decades later they still stir the & frog & # 39; s & # 39; s & # 39; s & # 39; as it was in its heyday.