The Paradise Garage was a discotheque notable in the history of modern gay and nightclub cultures and in dance and pop music. It was founded by Michael Brody, its sole proprietor, and was located at 84 King Street, in the Hudson Square neighborhood of New York City. It operated from 1977 to 1987 and was the base for DJ Larry Levan. Its name derives from its origins as a parking garage. The Paradise Garage’s business model was largely inspired by David Mancuso’s Loft parties: no liquor was served, there were no sales of food or beverages, and the club was not open to the general public.
The sound system was developed, designed and installed by Richard Long & Associates, Kenny Powers (RLA) and was said by those that attended to be the best in New York City at that time. The club has been credited for its influence on the development of the modern dance club as it is today: unlike other clubs of its time, the Paradise Garage was focused on dancing rather than social interaction, and it was the first to put the DJ at the center of attention.
Among those to benefit from what became known as “The Garage Sound” or “Garage Music” was West End Records, run by Mel Cheren. Among its successes were “Sessomatto” by Sessa Matto, Karen Young’s “Hot Shot,” “Heartbeat” by Taana Gardner (remixed by Levan) and “Don’t Make Me Wait” by the Peech Boys (produced by Levan). West End Records folded for a number of years, re-opening in the late 90s and releasing one of Levan’s DJ sets recorded live at the Garage. In the video game Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories, a post-disco radio station, Paradise FM plays music representative of the club’s playlists at the height of its popularity. Tim Curry had a minor hit with a song about the club, also named “Paradise Garage.” From 1992 UK music production and remix team called West End produced many UK #1 Club Hits in the style of “The Garage Sound” then 1994 grew into a company called West End Radio Productions, whose founder, Eddie Gordon, created the Essential Mix Show for BBC Radio 1 in the UK. A weekly 2 hour dance music mix show that was inspired by the legend of the Paradise Garage music and the originator of the art of two deck mixing DJ Larry Levan. After 16 years the Essential Mix is now the world’s longest running dance mix show on Radio.
The building which housed the Paradise Garage is now a facility for Verizon Communications.
Larry Levan “The Final Nights Of Paradise Garage” ( Sep 1987 ) PT.1
more on our mixes page