One night when I was 15 years old, I stood in the center of Studio 54 and watched Grace Jones descend from the ceiling on a swing. I was slightly stoned, from a joint my friends and I had passed between ourselves on the subway into Manhattan. And I was in love — not with Grace Jones, and not with the fact that I was a young person standing inside one of the most famous clubs in the country. I was in love with New York City, and it felt, in that moment, as though the city belonged to me.
My friends and I had become regulars at the club, the crew of us a bevy of young black and Latino girls serving up eye candy and authenticity. We thought nothing of it — yes, it was a hot club, but we had been to many hot clubs. We knew people at the door and never paid for entry. We didn’t drink, although more than once we had been caught smoking weed, too naïve to know that we needed to be on the down low about it. But we learned quickly that there was a way to be inside the club, low-key and cool, a been-there-done-that hooded-eyed sense of the world.
That night, as Miss Jones moved toward us from what felt like Heaven, it was hard to maintain that knowing cool. I sensed that I was in a very special place at a very special time. Even as a teenager, I understood I was coming of age in a time that would be looked back on with awe, in a city that would become the love of my life. I was in a moment that, even at 15, I knew would not last forever.
My friends and I all danced hard and dressed well, and thanks to jobs that sometimes had us working until past midnight on the weekends, coupled with our ability to lie to our parents, we had all kinds of reasons why we needed to stay out late alibis. So as Miss Jones dropped onto the stage that night, I stared in terror and awe.
Source: The New York Times