“O.K., everybody, remember what I told you. Smile a lot. Hug people a lot. Tell them how important the gay community has been to this place. O.K.?” – Roxy manager Jason McCarthy, giving his employees their final instructions Saturday night, as the legendary nightclub opened its doors for the last time. Over 4000 clubbers paid their last respects until noon on Sunday, when DJ Peter Rauhofer dropped the needle on Donna Summer’s Last Dance, prompting not a few tears.
And the last gay megaclub in NYC is gone, as is an era of gay nightlife that we may not see again. The internet, crystal meth, high real estate prices, and the furious gentrification of formerly derelict urban warehouse districts have pretty much ended both the supply and demand for large gay dance clubs around the country. I feel sorry for the young gay men just entering their nightclub years, who may never know the spectacle and wonder of thousands and thousands of their peers moving in joy under the disco ball.