If you live in West Harlem/Washington Heights and have any spanish-speaking friends or family members 40 years or older, you are sure to have heard about the night club where the new “El Morocco” resides. However, back then (and by back then I mean the late 80s) it used to be called Studio 84 (not Studio 54).
Studio 84 was one of a handful of premiere spots in the city where the Latin vibe was guaranteed to be jumping well into the wee hours of the night. If you were looking for Salsa or Merengue, Studio 84 was up there with Copacabana, Palladium, and Casa Borinquen all of whom skyrocketed into stardom with the salsa craze that dominated NYC through the late 70s and well into the 80s. These were the places where you were not hard pressed to see big latin jazz orchestras playing their hearts out! On a personal note, my dad and uncles were regular patrons of Studio 84 which during my childhood existed only as this mystical place where adults went to play and dance. It was pretty popular well into the 90s.
The place closed some time in the late 90s. Not quite sure why. There is nothing online even showing it closed. All I was told was anecdotal stories of mismanagement by people who used to go there.
Anyway, all that is old news actually. Studio 84 has been reincarnated in the new El Morocco Theatre and Nightclub. Now, don’t get your histories confused. El Morocco club did exist in midtown as a premier “supper club” and the “it-spot” for who’s who and celebrities from the 20s through the 40s. It eventually fizzled out, became topless bar, then a club, and then was killed by a highrise. But it’s not all bad news. The new El Morocco has come to fill the void left behind by Studio 84 and at the same time create a new legacy of a vibrant nightspot. Since the closing of the Copacabana there is a shrinking number of places one could go to get their Salsa, Merengue, Bachata, and Reggaeton on! Other than my livingroom of course.
According to the Daily News article El Morroco is in preview until its official open next month. The place also promises to expand its reach by offering concerts, independent theatre, and even comedy.
Photo Credit: Daily News via El Morocco
El Morocco Nightclub
at 145th Street
New York, NY 10031