In 1983 New York’s art scene was at its height, and Studio 54 was over. Four young men from California-Darius Azari, Shawn Hausman, and brothers Christopher and Eric Goode-moved to New York on a random quest for art and fun, went out looking for it, and figured they could do better. And for three glorious years, at Area, the club they created in a nondescript building on Hudson Street in lower Manhattan, they did. At Studio 54 the jet set had ruled the floor. At Area the artists had the star power. Every night throngs of hopefuls gathered outside the club, waving hundred-dollar bills to get in. Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat sailed past the ropes. Donald Trump didn’t.
Wild at heart and wired, the club’s patrons craved constant stimulation. Area gave it to them.
The club reinvented itself every five or six weeks, coming up with outrageous, imaginative themes.
The Carnival theme featured games and rides; Natural History, live animals. For Religion, a flaming cross burned in a pool. Models, hookers, and socialites snorted and cavorted in the coed bathrooms and on the dance floor, as the city’s top politicos ambled by. Donnie Osmond partied with Sting. Robert Downey Jr. slept in a display case. Warhol posed behind an invisible sculpture.
For three years Area was the high temple of New York nightlife. By 1986 the party had moved on.
In 1987 Area closed its doors. Art gave way to commerce. New York became a city for the rich. The four friends went on to other things.
Eric Goode stayed in the business as a successful restaurateur and hotelier. Azari and Hausman took their experience in rapid, radical aesthetic reconstruction and applied it to residential and interior design. And Christopher Goode is a movie producer. Area’s electric mixture of high, low, young, old, straight, gay, black, and white disappeared from Manhattan club scene forever.