Q: Reflecting on the recent passing of Playboy publisher Hugh Hefner, a friend showed me some Internet photos of him at a Westchester party awhile back. Is there any way that could be true?
—Eric Dempsey, Cross River
A: New Rochelle event-planning company X-Quisite Events threw a Playboy-themed 50th-birthday party for a client and posted photos on their website. I’m guessing that’s where you saw the pics. And you’re right: The real Hugh Hefner doesn’t rent himself out for parties.
The man you saw in the red smoking jacket is George Kane from Fort Meyers, FL, and his job is making appearances as Hugh Hefner. He goes by the name LA Hef (Look-Alike Hef), and he is very careful to never misstate who he is.
Kane says that when he first started, he sent some photos to the real Hef, who got back to him with a thumbs up. However, a couple of years later, a photo of Kane with a young lady at dinner got back to the folks at the infamous Playboy mansion. “Hefner’s secretary sent me an email making it very clear that I need to identify myself and state that I am not the real Hefner whenever I work,” Kane says.
As to what you really want to know: Kane reports that women often greet him, shall we say, enthusiastically, both verbally and physically.
Q: I am fascinated with the disco era and Studio 54. Did Westchester have its own Studio 54? What was the top disco in the county back in the day?
—Danny Frontero, Tarrytown
A: So, you got a thing for flashing lights, platform shoes, rayon shirts, chest hair, casual sex, drugs, and electronically produced syncopated beats? Well, you shoulda been in the WC in the late ’70s!
We didn’t have Studio 54, but the county had more than a couple top-notch dance clubs. Stating which was “number one” would surely ignite a disco inferno of debate, so I turned to a man who really knows about such things: Tony Amato. Tony was a DJ in the Manhattan disco scene and was hired away to Peachtree’s in New Rochelle, to bring the Studio 54 feel “upstate.”
“New Rochelle had four discos pretty much on the same corner. There was Peachtree’s, Marty & Lenny’s, The Lollipop, and The Second Floor; Port Chester had 21 North,” Tony says.
“I think Peachtree’s was number one,” he adds. “On a Friday night, we had up to 2,000 people come through the door. We had celebrities like the Dillon brothers, Chuck Zito, Cathy Moriarty, Cyndi Lauper, and Lyle Alzado hanging out there. It was a scene.”
But Peachtree’s also had a dark side: Serial killer David Berkowitz was a regular. “He dreamed of being a DJ because he thought we got the girls. He was in a lot and used to bring me drinks,” Amato says.
Today, Amato is stayin’ alive running Peachtree’s Classic Discotheque DJ service, which spins music from the era so that folks can relive the glory of the past.
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