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3.1.3. Paradise Garage

17 June 2021
Dresden
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Paradise Garage was a two-storey parking garage on 84 King Street in downtown Manhattan. It officially opened its door in January 1978. It ran a strict entrance policy where each person was interviewed by the owner Micheal Brody. The reason for this was Brody wanted to keep the standard of the club; he did not want it to become like the club Studio 54, which was about the limelight, fame and being known worldwide. Paradise Garage was the total opposite; it was a private playground that provided a feeling of belonging and community, stronger than anything a ghettoised New York society could provide. The sense of liberation that The LGBT community fought for at the Stonewall riots. Lived in the bricks, played in each record, and felt in every movement danced by the club's patrons like the many years regular Luis Santiago witnessed. He commented, “I bet you in that whole crowd there had to be lawyers, doctors, postmen, charity workers, a cook or a waiter” […] “ all types of people were there, you know, and that’s what made the club” (Bidder, 2001. p.8). Acceptance was a priority in creating the right environment inside Paradise Garage. In the tight management of who got into the club, Brody could facilitate a space where people from all different social and cultural backgrounds, different professions, with different sexual preferences that Santiago points to, could be together and share in a feeling of liberation. Firstly, through the type of person Brody let into Paradise Garage, post-subculture studies clarify how a subculture arose in Paradise Garage. The subculturists of Paradise Garage were searching for similar visceral sensations and feelings of liberation in connection with each other on the dance floor. And as this was a nightclub whose patrons were selected and paid to enter, which implies it was for entertainment and pleasure, the patrons could come and go as they felt. Paradise Garage was a closed private space that housed people. Paradise Garage can be, therefore, secondly, looked at through the theoretical lenses of the Chicago and Birmingham school. The environment: who could enter, how the club looked, the shape of the club and the music played was all chosen to encourage a certain type of behaviour which created its shared language and fashion that became the environment that identity of Paradise Garage evolved. Therefore, selecting the people who were searching for similar experiences of liberation became the major factor of Paradise Garage and shaped the subculture. Brody did not do that single-handedly. The music played at Paradise Garage acted like an intimate glue that kept the community together sensationally and emotionally, and DJ Larry Levan played that.