Studio 54 and New York in the 70s—Dustin Pop Takes us There
“It was an amazing night. All the nights during that time were because of the freedom of expression and creativity and self-identity. You could really push the boundaries, push the whole artistic needle.”
From Paradise Garage to Studio 54 to Max’s Kansas City to you name it, Dustin Pittman aka Dustin Pop was there capturing New York’s extraordinary after-hours scene. “For me, that’s really what I wanted to record, the historical moment that people can remember.”
We recently sat down with the renowned photographer and host of this year’s annual New Year’s Eve bash at the Roxy Hotel to talk about the disco era when legends like Bianca Jagger, Truman Capote, and Andy Warhol ruled the night. Here, Dustin shares anecdotes and stories behind some of his most iconic photographs of that time.
“It was easy then, you could literally sit down and have a drink with Liz Taylor. Someone who was a nobody could walk up and sit down and chat with Andy Warhol and hang out. That was the freedom of the time. That’s what made a lot of the images unique because you could really be one with somebody.”
“I really honor and appreciate people dressing up. It was just amazing to see that person walking in—he just stood out! There was such flare to him and such an exuberant, over-the-top personality. I photographed him at the beginning of the night and I remember running into him around 4.30 in the morning and every balloon on his body was still totally full. There were no burst balloons on him at all.”
“That photograph was taken at the stroke of midnight. Within a split second, I shot a few images. I wanted to capture the ecstasy and excitement when people just forget where they are, who they are, what they’re thinking about, and just transcend to another dimension. That’s what a really good party is, to transcend to another dimension.”
“She was an icon of Studio 54….She was one of the first to come out, let’s say, skate out on the dance floor in her outfit and her wand and her glasses. I got to know her personally and she told me about how she was in the army. It’s so funny to see her in that picture in the ’70s enjoying herself and to just imagine, Rollerina in the army! We’re still friends today.”
“I photographed Diana a lot before that night too. We kinda knew each other….Ninety-nine percent of the people I photographed in the clubs I either knew or got to know first. It’s about developing trust and respect for each other.”
“There were very little boundaries in the ’70s in New York. There was a huge window of freedom to be able to create.”
Alongside Dustin Pittman, special guest hosts at Roxy Hotel Presents New York New York 2024 include David Johansen, Mara Hennessey, Richard Boch and Patrick Yeboah.
Resident Roxy DJ Nina Tarr will set the stage, leading the way for headliners including New York radio legend Delphine Blue and the downtown duo sensation The Muses. As we bid farewell to 2023, prepare to groove til’ dawn with the luxe underground DJ Kristine Barilli.
Tickets are available to purchase—here.
WORDS & PHOTOGRAPHY Courtesy of Dustin Pittman