Magic Carpet Ride

Clubland Potentate David Marvisi Gets the Rug Pulled Out From Under Him

On Feb. 7, a Friday night, Exit was once again shut down under the nuisance abatement law because of what the police claimed was extensive drug activity. Undercover narcotics cops posing as clubgoers witnessed numerous illegal transactions and bought drugs there themselves. The police cited the club's record of 170 drug arrests in a three-year period, and Commissioner Ray Kelly told the press, "We are sending a clear message to nightclub owners: If you allow illegal drugs to saturate your business and endanger your patrons, we'll shut you down." But even some of Marvisi's harshest critics admit that he is vehemently anti-drug. "Exit has the tightest security of any disco in town," said one. "He may be an asshole, but he takes every precaution to keep drugs out of Exit. Marvisi has fired top employees for even the inkling that they might be allowing drug dealers into his clubs."

Nevertheless, a disco denizen who has worked with both Marvisi and the troubled clubland czar who preceded him, said Marvisi is "another Peter Gatien waiting to happen. Like Peter, he thinks he's above the law. And that's what will bring him down in the end."

illustration: Allen Douglas

Frank Owen, a longtime contributor to the Village Voice, has a new book coming out in May 2003 entitled Clubland: The Fabulous Rise and Murderous Fall of Club Culture (St. Martin's Press)

Related Story:
"Disco Inferno: New York Nightclubs Fend Off Conflagration" by Tricia Romano with Daniel King

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