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Legendary New York City club the Roxy had its final hurrah Saturday night after 16 long years as the mecca of Manhattan's gay club land.
Saturday night's 14-hour farewell party, which lasted until noon Sunday, saw a reported 4,000 people and ended with a set by resident DJ Peter Rauhofer, who closed the party with Donna Summer's "Last Dance."
The club, which began as a roller-skating rink in the early 1980s, turned to a predominantly gay clientele in 1990 when it opened Lee Chappell and David Leigh's Locomotion party.
Since then, the Roxy has featured DJs Dmitri from Deee-Lite, Sister Dimension, Tennessee, Larry Tee, and Dynell. It has also featured international DJs including Junior Vasquez, Manny Lehman, Victor Calderone, and Peter Rauhofer.
The 6,000-square-foot venue hosted performances from Madonna, Cher, Bette Midler, and Beyonce and celebrity guests Marc Jacobs, Elton John, Jean Paul Gaultier, Kate Pierson, Boy George, and Grace Jones.
When it reopened in 1990, the Roxy was described as a "gay lovefest" by drag superstar Lady Bunny, who recalls that New York's gay nightlife at the time had been devastated by AIDS.
"It became a beacon of celebration amid despair. People were ready to party again," she reminisced to The New York Times.
Clubgoer Terrence Cairy said of the Roxy, "Oh, my God, I had my coming-out party here 11 years ago. It's a safe place to come out, and it has the best DJs in the city."
Despite the glowing reviews, club promoter John Blair said he felt content about the passing of the club. "It was a phenomenon," Blair told Next Magazine. "It was the right people, the right place, and the right time. We can't just pluck it up and move it elsewhere. It's an exciting time for something new."
Amid wavering attendance in 2006, the Roxy closed for several weeks in the autumn and resumed December 2. It will eventually be demolished to pave way for a new apartment block. (Hassan Mirza, Gay.com/U.K.)