Photos from Area: 1983–1987, by Eric Goode and Jennifer Goode, to be published on November 12, 2013, by Abrams Books.
Influenced equally by sixties-era happenings and the gonzo childhoods of its proprietors, Area opened its doors in 1983. The club, unlike any that came before it, underwent a painstaking transformation roughly every six weeks, with themes like Confinement, Suburbia, and Science Fiction that incorporated elaborate art installations with taxidermied bears, live monitor lizards, and enemas. The dramatics spilled out onto Hudson Street, where desperate crowds surged behind a velvet rope. Inside, bonked-out celebrities mingled, Bianca Jagger watched Ed Koch work out, and Sting partied with Donny Osmond. Grace Jones refused to use the coatroom—someone followed her, coat in hand, instead. Eventually times changed, and competition from other venues thinned Area’s dance floor. “People always measure the success of a thing by its longevity,” says Eric Goode, Area’s co-owner, “but the entire point of Area was its impermanence.” Just four years after it opened, Area closed. To celebrate that brief moment in the city’s nightlife, Eric and his sister, Jennifer Goode, compiled photos, letters, and other memorabilia into a new book, Area: 1983–1987, excerpted here.