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When Rent Was Cheap and Dance Music Reigned

Halfway through Tim Lawrence’s “Life and Death on the New York Dance Floor: 1980-1983,” a six-hundred-page book about four years in the life of a dozen New York City clubs, there’s a short chapter called “Shrouded Abatements and Mysterious Deaths.” It describes two forces that began warping New York City in the early eighties, neither of them musical, and it elegantly explains how a period of artistic flourishing was squashed.
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