Art D'Lugoff

Club owner Art D'Lugoff, founder of the 'Village Gate' jazz and folk club in New York City circa 1960.

This episode is from the WNYC archives. It may contain language which is no longer politically or socially appropriate.

Interivew with renowned cabaret owner. His complaints about police harassment and local rackets.

Frank Titus moderates.

Panelists: Michael B. Wall, Stan Siegel, Tim Cardinal, and Charles Rosema


The NYPD has been unfairly harassing D'Lugoff's cabaret, the Village Gate. Complaints about specific fines and regulations he is punished with, specifically not being allowed to dim his lights during performances is, as is common with other cabarets. He mentions having to buy officials Christmas gifts. Patrolmen giving him summonses are "either stupid or corrupt." He was told to look out for corrupt PD before starting his club. Accuses NYPD of making racially offensive comments in his club. Over 15 violations have been issued to him since he opened. High class clientele, the type of cabaret that appeals to intellectuals, not to beatniks. Highest ration of college clientele in NYC, due to programming. Avoids answering a question about homosexual clientele; talks instead about the lack of a standing bar and the use of a cover charge. No complaints about the PD in his precinct. Some complaints by other cabaret owners who were approached by gangsters; he has not had a similar experience. Re-confirms that all racially charged comments made by PD did not include any actions. Has not made a complaint to the New York State Law Against Discrimination or the NAACP. Avoids questions about the "gangster element". You can't work in a cabaret in NYC if you have been convicted of a felony. Some police officers also patronize the cabaret.

Audio courtesy of the NYC Municipal Archives WNYC Collection

WNYC archives id: 8478