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Watch: The Saint, Remembered


Legendary NYC nightclub The Saint opened thirty years ago this week, on September 20, 1980. To mark that anniversary, The Saint at Large is releasing a series of oral histories on the club. Its first features DJs Robbie Leslie and Michael Fierman.


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  1. Call me jaded, but I never realized nightclubs that didn't have significant, societal, groundbreaking worth were deserving of oral histories.

    Being a good party spot doesn't merit you significance.

    Posted by: TommyOC | Sep 21, 2010 11:52:18 AM

  2. Sydney Opera House is legendary. Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech is legendary. A club is not.

    Posted by: Raybob | Sep 21, 2010 12:27:12 PM

  3. For me, it's legendary. Right up there with Paradise Garage and Studio 54. And, why? In my personal history, it was the first gay club that I went to and witnessed men in acts of romance and other things. Yes, drugs were a part of it. (I was too young to know that or understand what they were on.) But, I have fond memories or it. Certainly, it was the beginning of the circuit party and good, bad or indifferent changed gay history as we know it.

    Posted by: George | Sep 21, 2010 12:46:37 PM

  4. Different things are legendary to different people. In Atlanta it was the club Backstreet. Anyone who "came of age" in gay Atlanta went there regardless of whether you went once for a drink with your friends or every weekend to party. Backstreet closed 6 years ago and you still can't go out for the evening without hearing someone say "Man, I wish that place was still open" (or some 20-something twink say "I wish I had the chance to go there"). Does it equate to MLK's I Have a Dream speech? No, of course not. But it's one of the few things I, as a mid-30's gay man in Atlanta, have in common with a mid-50's gay man in Atlanta. Every gay boy in Atlanta since 1979 went there at least once. I wish they'd do an oral history like this one.

    Posted by: ATLJason | Sep 21, 2010 1:01:41 PM

  5. It was the mot incredible gay club I have ever experienced before or since. As a 24 year-old gay man living in Manhattan, I thought I had died and gone to heaven. Beautiful men, amazing music, and a spectacular domed dance floor like no other. I am truly thankful to have experienced it first-hand. Oh, and one more thing, I met my first partner there and we shared a life together for 13 years until his transition. Thank you, Universe!!!

    Posted by: Rick | Sep 21, 2010 1:21:40 PM

  6. I am to young to have experienced the Saint. I wish I had been able to, though if I had been around at that time there's a reasonable chance I wouldn't be here today. That said I still wish I could have been there. Bars, clubs, bathhouses and other social places are central to the story of gay history (Stonewall being the prime example). The reason for their importance should be self-evident. The Saint was the biggest, best and most revered of all the gay nightclubs. I made a pilgrimage to the site when I was living in NYC these last months. The entry hall was an Emigrant Savings Bank branch and the building behind that used to house the dome and infamous balcony were condos. Cities must evolve or die, but I was still sad to see that the optimism, freedom and life from those days had been extinguished a little bit. Splash and Boxers just don't have the same energy or feeling.

    Posted by: gypsy78 | Sep 21, 2010 5:46:12 PM

  7. Tragic! Nobody cares.

    Posted by: BjG | Sep 21, 2010 5:52:19 PM

  8. I was a child in 1980, but I can imagine that place being filled with coked up 'beautiful' people aholes. People should be sentimental about relationships and people, not clubs and bars operated by mostly very sleazy people.

    Posted by: ratbastard | Sep 22, 2010 4:22:34 AM

  9. It was good drugs that made that place seem so awesome dude. If ya'll went back, you'd want them to replace the strobe lights with something modern, take out the two big loudspeakers and replace with a THX surround sound system. Seriously, it sounds like a big ol' diorama.

    Posted by: LA Kev | Sep 22, 2010 1:05:18 PM

  10. Very sleazy people, indeed. Fuckin' mafiosi scum. I can't imagine giving this much thought to a gay club...highlights the generational divide, I think. Never went, nor would I go...because there'd be no surprise.

    Posted by: TANK | Sep 22, 2010 1:21:33 PM

  11. Are you guys for real? True cultural pivotal points do, in fact, happen and in gay culture during that time, where do you think anything significant would occur? I am of that age but lived in Iowa and had no clue as to what was happening in NYC at that time, but why would you just defiantly dismiss what this catalyst meant in our cultures evolution? Ignorance, most likely, jealousy or perhaps defiant stupidity. Look at what you are living through now and consider all of the countless factors in the world that give our society and culture it's emotional drive. 30 years from now when someone's sole well thought out intelligent response is "Tragic. Nobody cares." I'll bet you look at that person with incredulous awe and think, " Are you for real?"

    Posted by: NF | Aug 12, 2011 1:48:51 AM

  12. Imagine a time, only a few years before it was illegal for two guys to dance together in public. Think about a time where disco was emerging and the straight population of NY, NJ & CT flocked to Studio 54. Imagine a club, the most massive and technologically advanced of its time, with architectural significance, built exclusivly for gays. A cathedral of gay independence, a statement for that time that let NY know that we meant business. Imagine a place, safe from discrimination………THE SAINT.

    Posted by: JOEY DOUBLE G | Nov 14, 2013 11:37:37 PM

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