By Amy Phillips Penn

“Look, there’s a debutante doing cocaine,” said the quasi-awestruck woman who had made it past the ropes and into the inner sanctions of Studio 54 somehow. Definitely a first this one.

The famous half-moon sculpture descended from the ceiling and the spoon seduced its way into the moon’s mouth.

Gloria Gaynor’s I will survive survived, thrived and high-fived as it busted well past “keep the neighbors happy,” volume.

The crowd cheered the spoon on. Confetti came out of nowhere.

The paparazzi clicked into carpe-diem-meets-deadline mode: Halston, Liza, Andy, Calvin, Bianca, all first-name-famous. Who wasn’t there?

A thin woman in a turquoise dress from Bendel’s with a straw dangling from her nostril was the center of attention. This was Wendy.

Wendy loved it. She was used to it. This was “her” New York, one where she was photographed on a more than socially acceptable basis for WWD, the big W and Town & Country. Then there were the society columns.

Summers were “Southampton only,” winters were jeweled up behind the Elsa Peretti counter at Tiffany’s, laughing with friends and selling diamonds by the yard.

Wendy’s father was president of the ever-so-Southamptony Bathing Corporation, a.k.a the Beach Club. Southsiders to sip; Lillys, Puccis and Guccis to belong.

Her mother babied exotic orchids on her Park Avenue terrace while her father flew back and forth to Mexico. Wendy’s father could fish and tan while her mother avoided “that awful boat.” Life was good.

As a couple, Wendy’s parents were beautiful, polished and “Noel Coward amusing,” amusante, if you’re so inclined.

Earlier that evening, the girl with the straw went out for dinner with a few friends to their favorite Chinese restaurant. Occasionally, a red pepper would spice its way into someone’s palette. Instantly, a chain of waiters would appear with pitchers of water, in case of emergency. Then a thought struck: a mischievous adolescent, irresistible coup de foudre. Wouldn’t it be fun to bring a few Sweet and Low packets along to Studio 54. Magically a straw appeared.

How far could they take it until someone said “I don’t think so.” Legality, society and privilege spoke out in Locust Valley lockjaw. How far, indeed?

Along for the escapade was Harvey, a public relations liaison for Studio 54.

A few weeks back, I had joined Harvey at a more socially elite eatery, Elaine’s. There were four of us, including his mother. Elaine came over to the table.

“John Lennon is at the other table,” Elaine said. She shot straight. “He wants to know if he can get into Studio 54 later. “

Harvey took it in like any other Studio 54 request.

“I’ll take care of it, Elaine,” Harvey said, getting back to his linguine and the lineup for next week’s Page Six, Suzy and Eugenia.

Here we were again, at the world phenomenon that was Studio 54.

Wendy, the New York’ society darling, was snorting her Sweet and Low. Cocaine was no stranger to Studio, 54; inhaling it in public, double-daring a response was just that.

Wendy and her straw eventually slipped into the night, defying anyone to challenge the legality or morality of the ingredients within.  The debutante played on, as only a New Yorker who knew she had the apple by the core dared to venture.

And the moon ran away with the spoon.

Image courtesy of weareprivate

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