Paradise Garage
"The Garage"
Address84 King Street
New York, New York
United States
Coordinates40°43′41″N 74°00′23″W / 40.72794°N 74.00645°W / 40.72794; -74.00645
OperatorMichael Brody
Field size10,000 square feet (930 m2)
Built1924 (as auto garage)
OpenedJanuary 28, 1978 (1978-01-28)
ClosedOctober 1, 1987 (1987-10-01)
ArchitectVictor Mayper

Paradise Garage, also known as "the Garage"[1][2] or the "Gay-rage",[3][4][5] was a New York City discotheque notable in the history of dance and pop music, as well as LGBT and nightclub cultures.[6][7][1] The 10,000 square feet (930 m2) club was founded by sole proprietor Michael Brody, and occupied a building formerly located at 84 King Street[8] in the SoHo neighborhood. It operated from 1977 to 1987 and featured resident DJ Larry Levan.[9]

The Garage is credited with influencing the development of modern nightclubs, and is cited as a direct inspiration for London's Ministry of Sound.[10][11] Unlike other venues of its time, Paradise Garage promoted dancing rather than verbal interaction, and it was the first to place the DJ at the center of attention.[12] It was known for its enthusiastic-yet-unforgiving nature toward performers.[citation needed] It hosted many notable musicians including Diana Ross[13] and a young Madonna.[12] In 1979, Tim Curry released the album Fearless, containing the single "Paradise Garage", whose lyrics narrate visiting the discotheque.[14][15]


Physical space

Paradise Garage derived its name from the building's origin as an early automobile parking structure. Its initial certificate of occupancy, dated March 26, 1925, identifies the architect of the two-story commercial building at 80-86 King Street as Victor Mayper.[16]

Michael Brody's imprint on the space began in 1977 with the club opening as 84 King Street Garage. After a year-long renovation, it officially became Paradise Garage on January 28, 1978.[17] Among the improvements were a sprung dancefloor and custom sound system, developed by Richard Long of Richard Long & Associates (RLA).[18] The club's main room layout and dancefloor were reportedly purpose-designed around the sound system, which is said to have been the best in New York City at that time and described by François Kevorkian as a "temple of music."[8][12]

The venue initially accommodated 750 patrons for the original dance floor, which was later turned into the front lounge/gray room/glass lounge,[19] but a 1978 expansion when the main dance floor opened raised its legal capacity to 1,400 people and then Brody added a rooftop lounge in 1984 [20] styled after the coastal scrubland and beachside villas of nearby Fire Island Pines, where Brody owned a summer home.[8]

After 11 years of operation, The Garage's lease ended on October 1, 1987. The building later[when?] reverted to use as truck depot by Verizon Communications.[21] In April 2018, it was demolished[17] and replaced by high-rise luxury condominiums.


The Garage was largely modeled on David Mancuso's private invitation-only DJ parties at The Loft.[12] Admission to the club was only available to members and their guests, with an interview process used to select members.[8] In order to avoid New York City restrictions on bar and restaurant hours-of-operation, snacks and beverages were freely available to patrons and no liquor was served. These measures allowed the club to stay open afterhours, often until 10:00 AM or even later the following day.

In contrast to its well-known contemporary Studio 54, The Garage fostered a distinctly no-frills, egalitarian atmosphere, as reminisced by one of its former dancers:

You went there to dance, and we didn't dance like the regular people who were dancing in discos. I used to get dressed up to go to a disco, I'd do the Hustle for a couple hours till 4 o'clock in the morning, then I'd say, "Oh shit, lemme go to the Garage." I had my bag with me and go to the Garage and change into my sweatpants and my sneakers.

— Willie Dancer, in Paradise Garage: The oral history of NYC’s greatest club[8]

The club hosted a number of charity events, benefitting organizations like Gay Men's Health Crisis (GMHC)[17] and U.S. Fund for UNICEF.[22] As of 2008, the Paradise Garage trademark is owned by GMHC.[citation needed]


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Paradise Garage was an epicenter for early pioneers of dance music under the curation of resident DJ Larry Levan. The unique and eclectic styles of disco and dance music featured at the Garage gave rise to descriptive encompassing terms like New York house, "garage", "garage style", and "garage classic" (to describe a record that was made famous at, or associated with, the club).

Although the term "garage music" (not to be confused with UK garage) does not exclusively mean house music, the latter saw extensive development and promotion among Levan and his contemporaries, Frankie Knuckles and Nicky Siano. Nonetheless, these DJs played all kinds of music at Paradise Garage so long as it was danceable; for example, The Clash and The Police, as well as traditional "disco" artists like Gwen Guthrie and Sylvester.

Among those who benefitted from what became known as "The Garage Sound" or "Garage Music" was Mel Cheren, a partial-backer of the club and owner of New York label West End Records. West End's successes included such hits as "Sessomatto" by Sessa Matto, "Hot Shot" by Karen Young, "Heartbeat" by Taana Gardner (remixed by Levan), "Do It to the Music" by Raw Silk, and "Don't Make Me Wait" by the Peech Boys (produced by Levan). West End Records folded for a number of years, then re-opened in the late 1990s and released one of Levan's DJ sets recorded live at the Garage.[23]

Paradise Garage Top 100

In the 2000 book Last Night A DJ Saved My Life by Bill Brewster and Frank Broughton, a chart was detailed that listed the "Top 100" of the Paradise Garage, selected by "The Committee".[24] It is unclear whether this list represents the hundred most played songs at the club or the hundred fan-favorite/DJ favorite tracks.

Artist[25] Song[25] Year of Release[25]
Affinity[26] "Don't Go Away" 1983
Carl Bean "I Was Born This Way" 1977
Hamilton Bohannon "Let's Start The Dance" 1978
Dee Dee Bridgewater "Bad for Me" 1979
James Brown "Give It Up Or Turnit A Loose" 1969
Peter Brown "Do Ya Wanna Get Funky with Me" 1977
Central Line "Walking Into Sunshine" 1981
Chicago "Street Player" 1979
The Chi-Lites "My First Mistake" 1977
Chocolette "It's That East Street Beat" 1985
The Clash "The Magnificent Dance" 1981
Company B "Fascinated" 1987
Dinosaur L "Go Bang! #5" 1982
D Train "You're the One for Me" 1981
Ian Dury "Spasticus Autisticus" 1981
Brian Eno and David Byrne "The Jezebel Spirit" 1981
ESG "Moody" 1981
ESG "Standing In Line" 1984
Marianne Faithfull "Why D'Ya Do It" 1979
Family Tree "Family Tree" 1975
Fingers Inc. "Mystery of Love" 1986
First Choice "Let No Man Put Asunder" 1983
First Choice "Double Cross" 1979
Frontline Orchestra "Don't Turn Your Back On Me" 1982
Taana Gardner "Heartbeat" 1981
Manuel Göttsching E2-E4 1984
Eddy Grant "Living on the Front Line" 1979
Eddy Grant "Nobody's Got Time/Time Warp" 1980
Gwen Guthrie "Seventh Heaven" 1985
Gwen Guthrie "Padlock" 1985
Loleatta Holloway "Love Sensation" 1980
Loleatta Holloway "Hit And Run" 1977
Ednah Holt "Serious, Sirius Space Party" 1981
Thelma Houston "I'm Here Again" 1978
Imagination "Just an Illusion" 1982
Inner Life "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" 1981
Instant Funk "I Got My Mind Made Up (You Can Get It Girl)" 1978
The Jackson 5 "I Am Love" 1974
Mick Jagger "Lucky in Love" 1985
Marshall Jefferson "Move Your Body" 1985
Grace Jones "Slave to the Rhythm" 1985
Grace Jones "Pull Up to the Bumper" 1981
Tamiko Jones "Can't Live Without Your Love" 1979
Kebekelektrik "War Dance" 1978
Eddie Kendricks "Girl You Need a Change of Mind" 1972
Chaka Khan "Clouds" 1980
Chaka Khan "I Know You, I Live You" 1981
Klein + M.B.O. "Dirty Talk" 1982
Kraftwerk "The Robots" 1978
Labelle "What Can I Do for You?" 1974
Patti LaBelle "The Spirit's in It" 1981
Lace "Can't Play Around" 1982
Loose Joints "Is It All Over My Face" 1980
M "Pop Muzik" 1979
Man Friday "Love Honey, Love Heartache" 1986
Martin Circus "Disco Circus" 1979
MFSB "Love Is the Message" 1977
Steve Miller Band "Macho City" 1981
Modern Romance "Salsa Rapsody" 1981
Melba Moore "You Stepped into My Life" 1978
Alicia Myers "I Want To Thank You" 1981
New York Citi Peech Boys "Life Is Something Special" 1982
Stevie Nicks "Stand Back" 1983
Nitro Deluxe "Let's Get Brutal" 1987
North End featuring Michelle Wallace "Tee's Happy" 1981
Nu Shooz "I Can't Wait" 1986
Yoko Ono "Walking on Thin Ice" 1981
Peech Boys "Don't Make Me Wait" 1982
Phreek "Weekend" 1978
Pleasure "Take A Chance" 1979
The Police "Voices Inside My Head" 1980
Sharon Ridley "Changin'" 1976
Alexander Robotnick "Problemes d'Amour" 1983
Rockers Revenge featuring Donnie Calvin "Walking On Sunshine" 1982
Diana Ross "Love Hangover" 1976
Diana Ross "No One Gets the Prize" 1979
The Salsoul Orchestra "Ooh, I Love It (Love Break)" 1983
Sister Sledge "Lost in Music" 1978
Sister Sledge "We Are Family" 1978
Sparque "Let's Go Dancin'" 1981
Cat Stevens "Was Dog A Doughnut?" 1977
Nick Straker Band "A Little Bit of Jazz" 1981
The Strikers "Body Music" 1981
The Sugarhill Gang "Rapper's Delight" 1979
Donna Summer "I Feel Love" 1977
Sylvester "I Need Someone To Love Tonight" 1979
Sylvester "Over And Over" 1977
Syreeta "Can't Shake Your Love" 1981
Talking Heads "I Zimbra" 1979
Talking Heads "Once in a Lifetime" 1980
Tom Tom Club "Genius of Love" 1981
Touch "Without You" 1987
T.W. Funkmasters "Love Money" 1980
Two Tons O' Fun "I Got The Feeling" 1980
Two Tons O' Fun "Just Us" 1980
Visual "The Music Got Me" 1983
Will Powers "Adventures In Success" 1983
Womack & Womack "Baby I'm Scared Of You" 1984
Yazoo "Situation" 1982
Yello "Bostich" 1981


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Notable performers who have played at Paradise Garage include:

In popular culture

Tribute events

Tribute sites

Multiple tribute sites are dedicated to the Paradise Garage, such as[30] and[31]

Tribute movies

In 2019, the DJ Corrado Rizza directed and produced a documentary movie called Larry's Garage.[32][33][34][35]

See also


  1. ^ a b Pareles, Jon (June 18, 2000). "Paradise Garage, a Gay Club That Forever Changed Night Life". The New York Times. Retrieved July 20, 2016.
  2. ^ Baines, Josh (July 14, 2016). "François K Reflects on the Everlasting Legacy of Larry Levan and Paradise Garage". Thump Presents. Retrieved July 20, 2016.
  3. ^ Brown, Brian (March 25, 2011). "PARADISE GARAGE 84 KING STREET NYC THE GAY-RAGE". YouTube.
  4. ^ "Remembrances from Garage Patrons - the Paradise Garage". Retrieved July 20, 2016.
  5. ^ "Disco". the Data Lounge. Retrieved July 20, 2016.
  6. ^ Violette, Richard (2000). "Review of My Life and The Paradise Garage". Library Journal. ISBN 0967899400.
  7. ^ Cheren, Mel; et al. (2000). My Life and The Paradise Garage: Keep On Dancin'. 24 Hours for Life. ISBN 0-9678994-0-0.
  8. ^ a b c d e Raymer, Miles (August 21, 2018). "Paradise Garage: The oral history of NYC's greatest club". Timeout New York.
  9. ^ "Larry Levan". Retrieved February 1, 2018.
  10. ^ "DJ Harvey on Balearic, Acid house and the birth of Dance". YouTube. Red Bull Music Academy. 2005. Archived from the original on December 21, 2021. Retrieved October 12, 2021.
  11. ^ "How we made: Ministry of Sound". the Guardian. November 13, 2018. Retrieved October 12, 2021.
  12. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Broughton, Frank; Brewster, Bill (2000). "Larry Levan's Paradise Garage". DJ History. Archived from the original on October 6, 2014.
  13. ^ a b c d Martin, Douglas (December 21, 2007). "Mel Cheren, 74, an Entrepreneur of Disco, Dies". New York Times.
  14. ^ "Tim Curry's "Paradise Garage" Reviewed - rock nyc".
  15. ^ "Tim Curry Official Music Video - Paradise Garage - Superb Quality!". YouTube. Archived from the original on December 21, 2021.
  16. ^ Certificate of Occupancy 9391. New York City Bureau of Buildings. 1925.
  17. ^ a b c "DEMOLISHED: Paradise Garage". NYC LGBT Historic Sites Project. Retrieved October 12, 2021.
  18. ^ "Paradise Garage @". Retrieved October 12, 2021.
  19. ^ Certificate of Occupancy 76327. New York City Department of Buildings. January 7, 1976.
  20. ^ Certificate of Occupancy 85964. New York City Department of Buildings. July 13, 1984.
  21. ^ "Paradise Garage Reunion At LPR". NBC Universal Media, Channel 4 New York, January 28, 2011. Retrieved February 4, 2021.
  22. ^ Tomasson, Robert (January 27, 1985). "Future Events". The New York Times. Retrieved October 12, 2021.
  23. ^ "Larry Levan - Larry Levan's Paradise Garage". Discogs. August 8, 1999. Retrieved March 28, 2018.
  24. ^ Brewster, Bill (2014). Last night a DJ saved my life : the history of the disc jockey. Frank Broughton (Updated and revised ed.). New York. ISBN 978-0-8021-4610-6. OCLC 779455068.((cite book)): CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)
  25. ^ a b c "hotdiscomix :: Club Charts :: Paradise Garage Top 100". Retrieved August 26, 2022.
  26. ^ "Affinity (2)". Discogs.
  27. ^ Geernick, Jan. "A History Of Garage Music". Retrieved March 9, 2017.
  28. ^ "The It Discography". Discogs. Retrieved March 9, 2017.
  29. ^ Beta, Andy (May 12, 2014). "DJ Larry Levan Remembered at Paradise Garage Reunion Block Party: Garage regulars and young fans mingle and dance in Lower Manhattan". Rolling Stone. Retrieved July 20, 2016.
  30. ^ "Paradise Garage NYC". Paradise Garage NYC. Retrieved December 8, 2022.
  31. ^ "Patrons' Recollections".
  32. ^ "Parkett Channel" (in Italian). Retrieved December 7, 2019.
  33. ^ "5 magazine". June 24, 2020. Retrieved June 27, 2020.
  34. ^ "Electric Mode (UK)". November 29, 2019. Retrieved December 17, 2019.
  35. ^ "New documentary tells story of Larry Levan and Paradise Garage". October 22, 2020. Retrieved November 11, 2020.