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Date posted Thu, 30 Nov 2000
From: Benjamin Disraeli - Sensual66@aol.com
I am beyond myself, as I haphazardly stumbled upon this website!!!!!!Oh, it's definitely my lucky night. Timing couldn't be perfect, as the majority of my day has been spent recollecting and "goin back" to the "good ole days". (And I'm only a mere 30 something, mind you!!!!!) I sit here trembling with sweaty palms and sheer joy, dreaming about the infinite joy Larry inflicted on my soul, and I am near tears.
Never have I gone through such a transformation of freedom, of travelling somewhere else in time, of losing myself, as when I stepped my first (yeah, i was real green) steps into the Paradise. And I remember it like yesterday. The major parts anyway, like my heart jumping out of my chest and my soul reachin far above the clouds and shaking the very core of my existence. Yesssss, it was quite deep!!!! A socialogy assignment while in college in the hicks of PA. brought me and a group of friends to Manhattan during the winter of 84, or was it 85? for a week-end Well it was one of em.
Our "assignment" was to visit several venues of social significance, and report on them upon our return. Puleeze, I couldn't take it, all the while praying for night to come. Ya see, I'm a Jersey sistah and I ached for that "Bass in my face, cant stop, give it to me till the sun come up" club scene I was accustomed to before college. Whether it be Zanibar and before that Docks, Sensations, or jumping on the path every Wed, Fri and Sat to Mars, etc, etc,
Well my college crew consisted of a brotha from Brooklyn, also homesick, my "Bong Buddy", 2 sistahs from Philly into the rap music thang, 2 more from DC, used to the go-go scene and me......ultimate clubhead. No one had heard of Paradise, except me and I had never been, so I had SOME idea. Looking back and remembering how I felt leaving that morning, I really had no CLUE.
I was a changed person, a new woman, i had been re-born, resurrected, given new life, new breath.......that's what really happened.
I remember buying a red Sweatshirt after we got in. Damn, i treasured that thing. Wish I still had it. I remember hitting that floor and feeling things I never felt. I remember dancing most of the night away with a tall guy in a sailor suit. Did he mean to wear that, or was I dreamin? I remember doing some other things, behind a speaker, but we'll skip that for now. I remember seeing my friends a coupla times having the time of their life, heads back and all......
I remember tripping on the way to the bathroom, cause i thought i was going up steps. latah on, i realized there were no damn steps. Oh, and there was a group there that night. In white jumpsuits, or something. I do remember white. The group name I can't recall. Was anybody there?
What a night..........
What a time...........
What an experiene.......
Thank ya, Thank ya, Jesus.
"Nurture your mind with great thoughts,
for you will never go any higher than
Date posted Nov. 13th, 2000
From: Hyacinth ColeHsc3039@aol.com
The music and pictures brought back a time in my life when I experienced pure happiness. As I listened to the rhythimic beats I had to shout his name "LARRY" just I like use to do back in the day. Thank you and please - more music!!
Date posted Nov. 13th, 2000
Hello Garage Fans: As a footnote to my previous recollection of my past experiences at the Paradise Garage, Shades of Love was the group that Melissa Morgan was formerly performing with, not Young Shades of Black as previously mentioned. Please accept my apologies for the error.
Does anyone remember the Halloween Ball held at Hollow Oak Cemetery on Halloween in 1982 with the "Dead In Concert" appearance by Yazoo? What about Thanksgiving eve in 1982 at Camp Paradise with Debbie Trusty singing "Searching for some Loving" and Carol Williams singing "Can't Get Away from your Love" with Francois as the Guest DJ? Lace performed "You Can't Play Around when it Comes to Love, Cause That's the Time When I Get Serious" on both Friday and Saturday nights on the weekend after Thanksgiving in 1982.
Please visit www.brownebrothers.com (The Browne Brothers) website and stop over to Delmar's Shop for an opportunity to feel the heat of the lost passion from the music that the Paradise Garage provided.
Lounge! A De'-Mix Thang!
Date posted Nov. 13th, 2000
From: Kerry KerryBoy6@aol.com
HI. I was a member at the paradise garage in the days, I use to go on saturday nights. I though everyone has forgotten about that famous place. Those was the best days of my life because you go in as one person and beagn to party as another person only when you had a tap of acid with you (smile)......
I use to stay until the place close down. There was one girl there you can not miss here she was lite skinned and always dance with her hands up she had dreads... I wish that those days was here just one good time..........
Thank for the memory!!! ...
Date posted Nov. 13th, 2000
From: FG in NHfwgj@hotmail.com
The Garage. Just the thought of the energy and vibe of the place that awked may soul to the power of house sends chills through my spine. Outside of my long journey of my education, one single place or event has had more of an impact in the type of person that I am today.
The Garage for me was all about the sound and the music; in my final year of HS in '83 through the closing of the Garage in '87, I was blessed enough to be able to attend the Garage with friends who had memberships (Steve Marshall, Waldo Best.....where are you now?). I was part of the Friday night crowd when I could get in. Biker shorts and hats in the summer.....baggies and tanks in the winter....giving polite "No, thank you's" to the gay men who were interested (that was an awakening to a shy kid from Brooklyn).
All through HS I has dabbled with DJing and rapping, but my first trip to the Garage made me realize what an art form the music could become. Larry did things with 12" remixes and EQ's that I had never heard before; let alone the cuts he played that shook me to the core ("You Don't Know", 7 Ways to Make you Jack, every Liz Torres track he got his hands on...and the list goes on..) I remember one night not dancing with a soul for 3 hours....just listening....studying the mixes, the phase shifts and the accapella cuts. The Garage and Larry taught my everything about what drove a crowd crazy and what it meant to own a crowd throught the music.
Leaving the City for Boston for college, I wanted to take what Larry shared in NY and bring it to Boston to enlighten others. I was one of the many who left the Garage at 8 or 9am, hit McD's for breakfast, then waited outside of Vinylmania for a new cut I just heard during the night to be the first to play it in Boston. Boston became a three front battleground to move people's feet; hip hop on one side converging against NY Garage House and Chicago House. Our crew (Dynasty Sounds) was all East Coast; NY House and NYC Hip Hop. We preached to all that would listen that it was Larry and the Garage that owned it all.
The Garage and Larry Levan influenced my love of house to this day; I still enjoy the sounds of Junior Vasquez, Frankie Knuckles, David Morales and Danny Tenaglia when ever I can get my hands on a new CD of theirs. Then there are my other fraternity brothers who as former DJ's still have their setups in the back rooms in there houses. Now we share MP3's of classic mixes and try to recapture our youth with a rift from "Love Can't Turn Around" or get a belly of laughs from "Suck My D#$k, B!@#$h ! (another late night Larry shocker). Even as we slide past our mid-thirties and edge closer to our 40's (gag), we still like to "Ride the Rhythm".
The power of the Garage is still present today....the "Life" parties at the Lava Bar in Boston and the Revive Your Soul Gigs are the closest I have ever come to the driving power and emotion I'd felt at the Garage. There is a new generation behinds us for who OUR HOUSE is a fresh canvas to enjoy. Reading Mel's book last night (yes I sped read it in a single day) brought back tons of memories and opened my eyes to things I had never known about the Garage, about house music and DJing and about the horror that still haunts us all with the onslaught of AIDS. Mel's book is extremely powerful for those who lived though those times in NY and I'm very sorry I missed him when he was here for a book signing.
Ok....while I haven't emptied every memory and detail.....and I always wondered what was in that punch....I'll cherish my times at the Paradise Garage till the end of my days.
Date posted Nov. 13th, 2000
From: Daniel Asiedu email@example.com
The music 'garage' itself is magic....the feeling is one of love. i myself have been listening to garage music for 7 years and i have heard some classics records that bring tears to my eyes. I have read lots on the Paradise garage and i would have liked to have been there!
The way it was spoke about then and now shows it was truly a one- off just as the DJ's that played there! May the music live on forever and the spirit of the DJ's...
Date posted Oct. 10th, 2000
I must truly say the Paradise Garage experience started for me in 1981, when my best friend Dalana Brandford (give me a shout man...) invited me out.
My gear that I rocked before I started wearing the corporate Garage attire at the next party (baggy pants, beret hat, clip, cutoff tee shirt, studded belt and split-cut Chinese shoes or wrestling shoes/NIKE) was a tee shirt, jeans and sneakers. The Varick Street initial stop between Houston and King was a must to get your tab on.
The meeting spot at the corner of King Street and Varick Street was the place to meet upon entry of the club. The walk up the ramp in the Garage was an adventure as the bass throbbed hard from the music playing.
The dance floor, stage, sound system, movie room, roof, fruit, punch, coffee and cake were the immediate appetizers from the Garage experience. Frankie "Double Dutch Bus" Smith was the artist who performed on this night. It wasn't a memorable one for not only me but for himself because Frankie was booed out of his boots and cowboy hat on this night.
The six years that I was a Garage member were viewed with many changes and interesting experiences. Grace Jones performing with her red, ruffled hat while beating a bass drum as she sang "Feel up." Melissa Morgan (Young Shades of Black) performing "Keep in touch, body to body" twice after crying on stage from the thunderous ovation from the crowd. Francois K playing his version of "Keep On" by D' Train (my alma mater mate from Erasmus Hall High School) and "Love Sensation" by Loleatta Holloway with the fog machine going on. Larry Levan playing his special versions of "Peek a boo" and "Seventh heaven" by Gwen Guthrie (R.I.P.) and "Life is something special" (instrumental) and "Don't make me wait" by the Peech Boys.
One Saturday afternoon, I went to Vinyl Mania Records store to pick up some records (Gwen Guthrie's album) and Larry Levan walked in and I asked him "Can you please sign this album" and he did. I still have the copy of Gwen Guthrie's album (Seventh heaven, Hopscotch) in my collection.
Larry used to have a habit of playing records three times or more (Heartbeat) and it skipped and the crowd didn't appreciate it. The themes that Larry used to configure were entertaining. Popping the confetti on a break of the song. The accapellas placed in the mixes were precise.
My final night at the Garage was something to remember for myself personally. On that Friday night as I excited the club, I remember walking down the ramp and leaving the club and walked down King Street and said to myself "That's it, it's over"! There's more to tell, but not enough to place in an e-mail.
Check my website www.brownebrothers.com to which I share with my brother. I have the Garage Series of CD's to which I produced and mixed with the experiences that all Garage fans can enjoy.
The Paradise Garage will serve as an important phase of my life to which I met many people and wish to acquire friendship with past members.
PS - Drum, Bobby, Homer, Stan, Denise, and anyone to whom I didn't mention, you're not forgotten.
Date posted: Sept 16, 2000
I read all of your e-mails and I can say that they are for the most part all are true except for one or two that never happened but that doesn't matter we were all on drugs. Even if you did know it! the atmosphere was intoxicating. It's funny how people from different places with different outlooks on life could all move together in harmony on the dancefloor, the lounge, the roof, the grey room(which became the crystal roomand even the movie room.
There were two things that I really loved about the GARAGE. When I would stand on the stage and see 3000 people jumpin at the same time on beat, even the white kids. Everyone with a smile on their face. If there was ever a miracle, this was it. I watched you people come in some had problems, some were lonely, but all want to forget their troubles and have some fun. People had groups of friends that they only saw there. A few people I thought would die when the club had to pause.
Brothers and sisters the building may be gone [ed note: well, actually the building is still there <smile>. Could we all chip in and .... <grin>] but the spirit lives on in all of you. A great deal of you have gone to hell and high water to keep the feelin' alive even through bad samples of great music and missed attempts of remakes of classics. Through it all you still carry the feeling and that feeling will grow as your life changes.
You see, you have been exposed to the many different levels of the universe. That is why we of the inner circle of friends called him "LEVELS" because he expanded on several planes of thought at once. I often heard many of you say he played for me tonight or that you could feel him inside your mind FUCKING WITH YOU! How blesed by this experience we all have but the reallity of a blessing is not how long you feel it but it is what you do with the rest of your life from having been blessed at all. You're all a part of me as I am a part of you. A true member will always feel the presence of another wheather they spoke in the GARAGE or not, because THE SPIRIT IS IN YOU AND IN IT!!!!!!!!!!!!! LOVE AND LIFE IS VERY SPECIAL, PEACE!
Date posted: Sept 14, 2000
from Tony Gant, Washington DC. --- email: firstname.lastname@example.org
What a great web site! Those nights in the Garage are not forgotten by me and obviously by countless others. If history would only repeat itself.
Date posted: Sept 11th, 2000
from: Roy Bryant ---- Email: Jesusbryant@cs.com
My name is Roy Bryant I'm an ex member of J.M.Silk which consisted of Steve "Silk" Hurley, Keith Nunnally, Sampson "Butch" Moore & Roy B.We did about 6 or 7 live shows at the Garage in the 80's. Larry Levan was one of the baddest Motherfuckers to ever touch a turntable.
One night we were in the booth talking to Larry and he was giving us instructions on what to look out for when the light racks came down on stage. In the mean time he was beating the shit out of "Nobody's Business" by Billie. When he hit that fuckin bass, it sounded like someone had dropped a fuckin bomb on the building. All of us looked at each other and went "Damnnnnnnnn" did you feel that . Everyone in the booth did not say shit, they just shook their heads in silence yes.
Now the reason we were so amazed was that, we thought we had already heard the baddest sound system in the country, Which is where the other 'half' of Larry Levan was residing in Chicago (Frankie Knuckles). We were all born and raised @ 206 So Jefferson which everyone else called The Warehouse. Real members called it 206.The Richard Long sound system that was @ the Garage was the ultimate in high quality sound.The wall in the booth @ The Garage located right behind Larry, had all the amps. and crossovers and was air-conditioned all the time.
On another occasion J.M. Silk was there to do a show Mike Tyson & Eddie Murphy were in the booth with us talking to Larry. Oh yeah that other dude was there as well. The guy who played in The Last Dragon (Bruce Leroy) Timark. Anyway the experience @ The Paradise Garage was very great.The only other two clubs that came close were The Muzic Box & The Warehouse in Chicago.
Ron Hardy was another DJ that beat the box like he was out of his mind. Every Friday night @ The Muzic Box. Frankie Knuckles was a distant third. I would hope that Larry & Ronny are in Heaven doing a Paradise Garage vs. The Muzic Box battle. All we can do is thank God 4 Larry Levan, Ron Hardy & Frankie Knuckles.
Roy B. I'm out!
Date:Aug 14, 2000
From: Larry Kostmayer ---- Email: email@example.com
My name is Larry (Kostmayer), and I became a member of the Garage in early 1977. I had already been attending The Loft every Saturday for several months, so my life had already been dramatically changed by the dance/party atmosphere that I only felt at these 2 places. The emotional and physical release that these meccas gave me.... there are no words to possibly communicate it.
The Garage I first saw was the Garage of before even the famous construction parties of fall 1977. The main room was the square room that ultimately became the crystal room. The DJ was in the alcove along one of the walls, and GODDAMN did that motherfucker ROCK!!! And when I heard people in the crowd yelling "LARRY!!!", it took me a moment to realize that it wasn't my friends calling me. Oh, so the DJ's name is Larry too. :-) (Yeah, acid'll do that to you). RIP, LL.
I am a breeder (het) guy, and I generally only went on Friday nights (Saturday was for the Loft). But the crowd was such a great mix of gay, straight, black, white, latino, male, female, etc. I danced with guys, girls, sometimes I didn't know which. It didn't matter - the vibe was so damn positive, and the energy so damn GOOD, and the music so damn AWESOME.... who cared about anything else! When the Garage closed for several weeks over the winter of 1977-1978 to complete construction and open the big main room, I was fucking LOST on Friday nights. I'll never forget how happy I was when it reopened. More room, the sound system/lights, HOLY SHIT!!! There was nothing that could come close.
And from what I hear, nothing still comes close. I started drifting away in the early '80s. After having let my membership expire without renewing it for the first time since 1977, I decided I had to get my membership back in 1984 or so. I got the mail informing me of the signup days, with a warning about how non-members would have a hard time getting a membership (especially for Friday nights). I went down to the office with my ORIGINAL membership card - the generic looking white one with the line drawing of buildings on it (that was before there was a Paradise Garage logo). I was on line, and when I got to the front, I showed my original card to the guy there, asking him if he remembered it. He looked at me, then looked over at Mike (Brody) at another table. Mike recognized me (face only, never knew my name) and asked how I was doing. I showed him the old card, and he smiled REAL wide, nodding knowingly. I got my new membership, no questions asked.
I only went sporadically from then on, my last time sometime in 1986. I regret not having been able to participate in the last party. But I feel so incredibly blessed to have been a part of the experience that was the Garage. It changed my life in such positive ways, and I could never possibly forget it. My wife tells me I live in the 1970's, and to a large extent that is true. That was my time, my music, my Loft and my Garage. I cherish it all.
I'm so happy to have found my fellow brothers and sisters here on this web site. Keep it alive!!!!
Peace and Love,
posted Aug 5th
from Email: OYELATINO@aol.com
Does any one remember Keith's party in 84? That was me dancing with Diana Ross in the news letter photo. My name is Franco Silva I host A radio show in Tampa. I think of my nights in Paradise every time I do my show. I miss all of you, my true brothers & sisters.
posted July 6th, 2000
from Ray Mayers - Email: Indigopub@aol.com
Reading about what everyone had to say about the most poignant part of my life was unbelievable and brought tears to my eyes. I remember the Garage and how it impacted my life considerably. Back then my life was effortless and all I lived for was the weekend. Yes, I too remember the Garage on Fridays and The Loft on Saturdays. But, nothing could compare to how Larry would transform that place on a Saturday night - which became my haven or better yet, my heaven. And, let's not forget Sunday's at Vinyl Mania trying to buy every record we heard the night before..."...and it went something like this..." as we tried our hardest to duplicate what we heard. I'm not a DJ but I probably have every Garage classic. Addicted? Sure I was and it felt so good! "I don't want no cure for this!" Because it was definitely a Love Hangover!
Okay, let's go back - I was invited to the Garage in 83 by someone that lived in my complex in Queens and unfortunately I can't even remember his name - but praises to him anyway because that night brought me into the awareness of how free and grand life could be. Every weekend all my troubles and worries of the week were left on the E train heading for the World Trade Center as I emerged on West 4th Street to begin my Mecca to 84 King Street with my knap-sac in hand. The excitement that would build inside my heart with each step I took became unbearable until I saw "The Club" and I knew it was on.
The memories that stand out for me the most are:
The first night I heard Chaka Khan's "Clouds" and the burst of rainbow confetti that pour down upon us when Chaka sung out "...it's gonna rain". The neon oranges, pinks, yellows and greens dots covering and sticking to my moist body. I knew right then that I was in paradise! And, I knew without a shadow of doubt, if it had ever rain in the Garden of Eden it had to have been just like this!
Another time, I remember was when Larry was jammin' and all of a sudden the music stopped and the screens that graced the dance floor started showing a portion from "Alien." This was the bomb and everyone was captivated!
But the event that stands out the most and has meant the most to me and one that I'll never, ever forget was when Larry played "City Country City" behind the backdrop of "The Dragon Slayer" showing on the screen. Back then, I thought I would lose my mind. Since, then I have told everyone close to me that I want "City Country City" to be played at my funeral. Ironically, this event was prophetic in nature because since I am now older this song and the depiction of that movie expresses exactly what my life has been like over the year towards maturity. It represents for me the slaying of my own inner demons (negativity and baggage) toward inner peace. Enough said...
And not to forget, this landmark event - And, I'm not sure which Gay Pride Weekend it was, probably the first the Garage partook in. But, on the on set of the march Larry played "Love is the Message" by Cuko. And that was all she wrote, because Larry became the Pipe Piper of 5th Avenue that day. I had never seen so many straight people come from under the barriers (as we danced down the street) desiring to join a gay pride parade with no shame of being televised.
And, before I end, I have to mention "Weekend" by Phreek...that was the jam!
I could go on and on about the best experience in my life...but I won't. The Garage will always have a special and unique place in my heart. I will always have fond memories of Larry, Michael and the staff there. I will never forget the transformation of the black room into the crystal room or having to step into the parking garage through a small door before walking up the awesome ramp. These memories will always stand firm in my memory. And, although the Garage is closed, it will live on forever in the hearts of of many....And so it is, Amen!
posted July 1st, 2000
from Ray Mayers - Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
A friend (Special K), called and told me about this site. Kevin was one of many friends that I introduced to the Garage. I was introduced to the Garage from a dear friend named Delita, she liked to party with me as I did with her. We met in the early days before the Garage at a club called The Constellation which Special K worked at and got me in for free every weekend back in 1979 thru 1980. By the time Delita got me to come to the Garage, she was dating Joe who worked the door and the Garage. Delita would always scream my name aloud when she would see me as if we had not seen each other for years, which did not sit well with Joe. But we were friends, I felt Delita was my surrogate sister - I looked out for her & she did for me too.
The night that really hooked me to the Garage and the Friday scene was when Grace Jones performed she came out and did Warm Leatherette and her hit of that time Pull up to the Bumper - she literally jumped off stage on this guys shoulders with his head in her crouch and screamed pull up to the bumper while grinding his head into her crouch. The crowd and I went wild even though it was part of the act! From that night on, I was hooked as if I took my first hit of you know what. I would be at work on Monday, day dreaming of what I would wear and who I would hang with at the Garage on Friday.
I soon was introduced to the Loft on Price Street to get my dose on Saturdays! I always studied martial arts, so the limber free style dancing (or break dancing which the movies later called it), I picked up quickly & soon I was considered one of the better dancers. It was an unsaid competition of sorts, us guys would do our best moves and we would try to top one another. From Willie Dancer of the loft to Dieon & his crew at the Garage on Fridays - we would look to top one another.
I seemed to be at my best on the dance floor when I was dancing with someone I truly had feelings for - the music would take me and I would make every attempt to make love to her on the dance floor through my dance moves, coming close to her but never touching her or grinding my body against her - it was a very passionate and sexual experience. I would do things and make moves up on the fly, that if someone asked me to do again, I'm not sure the move would have either looked or came off the same way? It was something where I even surprised myself at times.
I met Jackie at the Garage and through the years of our friendship, at times I thought she would be my wife - we had such chemistry on the dance floor together. But we were a bit too much alike for it to really work, we stayed friends for a long time through thick & thin. Betty was also a good friend that I met through my friendship with Jackie although the Garage was a distant memory by then.
I am living in Charlotte North Carolina now, happily married 9 almost 10 years with two great kids. I still have my old black baggies in my closet that I will never let my wife throw out even though she wants to badly. The Garage and (original) Loft was a special time for me in New York, one which made my twenties in the eighties very special time for me!
Thanks for your site and the opportunity to let me share my memories with you and everyone else!
A query: The last days of the Garage went continuously from Friday night on Sept. 18, 1987, all the way until Monday morning, Sept 21, 'til about 2 AM. A reader asks, "What was the last tune played at the Garage?? Was it "Where do we go from here?" and did Larry get a bit carried away and play it 10 times? Or, was it "Where were you when the lights went out" or "Ozo?"
Send your own recollections of experiences at the Garage