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Missile-Shaped Time Capsule from Legendary 80s Nightclub Causes False Alarm in NYC

Thursday Jul 6, 2017

In the 1980s, multi-level nightclub Danceteria witnessed the launch of countless careers. So it seemed only fitting that in an act of campy homage, a disarmed missile ended up housing of the party palace's time capsule.

But how do you explain that to a construction crew who unearths it three decades later? Rolling Stone reports.

Such was the dilemma Wednesday when a "suspicious package" prompted the NYPD to briefly evacuate the Flatiron neighborhood. The package, which looked like a World War II-era bomb, was discovered by construction workers breaking ground for a new building on the site of the old Danceteria.

"They weren't supposed to open it for 10,000 years!" said John Argento, who owned Danceteria until it shuttered in 1986.

"We bought it at the Army-Navy store on 14th Street and 6th Avenue" sometime around 1984 or 1985, he told Gothamist. "It was hanging from the ceiling," he recalled. "We set it up on the third floor, by the big curved wall" that was immortalized by a then fresh-faced Madonna in the film "Desperately Seeking Susan."

The missile casing was actually a "practice bomb," according to Argento. "It had thinner metal... We kept it up for people to make contributions, write letters, and then three weeks later we buried it. The bomb had a little trap door on it. People could send messages to the future."

The NYPD confirmed that the object found was in a shape that resembled a bomb. Inside the object were "documents and papers," a police spokesman said.

Equal parts cutting-edge art gallery, new wave dance palace and rock and roll club, Danceteria's walls, which were muralled by a bus boy named Keith Haring, rocked to new live music by Madonna, Cyndi Lauper, Wham! and Run-DMC. At the time, the place was so fabulous, it inspired a young RuPaul to not only shantay, but stay.

Check out a yet-to-be-discovered Madonna performing "Everybody" to a less than enthusiastic crowd.

Here's a young RuPaul before the backlighting.


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