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Inside the NYC nightclubs of the '60s and '70s, from rock to disco

Three decades before the Club Kids ruled New York City's wild underground parties, there was disco and its blinged-out, flare-pant inhabitants.

Clubs like Studio 54, Hurrah and Ice Palace 57 dominated the scene of the late '60s and through the '70s, when self-exploration was welcome under the fragmented light of a disco ball.

Bell-bottomed New Yorkers wearing platformed shoes, fur vests and feathered scarves and the dance moves they so freely hustled into has most recently been recreated on HBO's "The Deuce." Set in Times Square in the late '70s, the James Franco/Maggie Gyllenhaal-fronted series puts its characters inside city clubs around the same time John Travolta was stayin' alive in Bay Ridge's "Saturday Night Fever." On the show, a bar owned by Vincent (played by Franco) gives viewers a fictional peek inside the past.

Below, we look back at the scene by way of rare photos of late artists, bands, drag queens and more.

Partiers try out the
Photo Credit: Newsday / Dick Morseman

Partiers try out the "frug," a cross between the shimmy and the twist, at the former Shepheard's nightclub at the Drake Hotel on 56th Street in Manhattan on March 24, 1964. Shepheard's became one of the most popular clubs of its time, until it closed down in the '80s.

When Maxwell's Plum closed in 1996, it was
Photo Credit: Hulton Archive / Express

When Maxwell's Plum closed in 1996, it was called a '60s symbol, a "flamboyant restaurant and singles bar" that "symbolized social revolutions" of the decade, according to The New York Times. Above, New Yorkers gather outside the First Avenue bar at 64th Street in 1966.

Frank Roccio, owner of The World, inside his
Photo Credit: Newsday / John Paraskevas

Frank Roccio, owner of The World, inside his club on Jan. 5, 1969. The club was located at 254 E. Second St. in the East Village and shut its doors in 1991.

Though not quite a disco club, the rock
Photo Credit: Getty Images / Hulton Archive / Keystone

Though not quite a disco club, the rock venue formerly known as Trax on 72nd Street once welcomed the Rolling Stones. On Sept. 23, 1977, the band kicks back with beers at the bar. Pictured from left, Charlie Watts, Mick Jagger, Ron Wood and Keith Richards.

Robert Kennedy Jr. drops by the famous Studio
Photo Credit: Getty Images / Central Press

Robert Kennedy Jr. drops by the famous Studio 54 with his fiancee, model Jules Dreyfus on Feb. 22, 1979. The former nightclub was located on 54th Street and gained a reputation for being one of the most infamous clubs in New York City to date.

Margaret Trudeau, former first-lady of Canada, enjoys a
Photo Credit: Getty Images / Central Press

Margaret Trudeau, former first-lady of Canada, enjoys a dance at the famous Studio 54 discotheque, with her then-boyfriend, millionaire Bruce Nevins on Nov. 1, 1978.

Two dancers get down at Club New York
Photo Credit: Newsday / David Pokress

Two dancers get down at Club New York on April 27, 1978. The venue, at 33 West 52 St., once housed the famous Leon & Eddie's club, which shuttered in the late 1940s.

Chunky leather platform boots? Check. Flared pants? Check.
Photo Credit: Getty Images / Central Press

Chunky leather platform boots? Check. Flared pants? Check. Disco attire is optional on the dance floor at Studio 54 in February 1979.

Clothing may have been optional at Studio 54,
Photo Credit: Getty Images / Central Press

Clothing may have been optional at Studio 54, but being an A-lister was not. Pop artist Andy Warhol, right, chats up patrons at the bar on Feb. 1, 1979. He died at New York Hospital in February 1987.

A drag queen lines up outside the club
Photo Credit: Getty Images / Central Press

A drag queen lines up outside the club room at Studio 54 in 1979.

A woman strips down to the waist on
Photo Credit: Getty Images / Central Press

A woman strips down to the waist on the dance floor at Studio 54 in February 1979.

Fully embracing the decade's vibe, a man drops
Photo Credit: Getty Images / Central Press

Fully embracing the decade's vibe, a man drops by Studio 54 in February 1979 wearing a disco-ball face mask.

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