A crowd of about a hundred turned out for what they believe could be the last dance at a Jersey Shore nightclub that was the personification of a legendary Philadelphia radio disc jockey.
The doors at Memories in Margate opened at 3 p.m. Monday as a line of dozens sang “Happy Birthday” to the club’s former owner Jerry Blavat, who died in January.
Ro Gallow didn’t want to miss a chance to return to the club, which has been shuttered since Blavat’s death.
“I’m here for Jerry, to celebrate his birthday and say goodbye to Memories, which really gave us a lot of pleasure for a lot of years,” Gallow said.
Cass Russo was also in line to enter the club. She said Blavat was more than just a guy playing the oldies.
“Because he knew the music, he knew what music to play and to keep the dancers on the dance floor, he knew the labels, background singers, everything,” she said
Pete DeIuliis is a doorman at the club and worked with Blavat for more than 60 years. That work goes all the way back to answering request calls when Blavat was a DJ on WCAM, which was located in Camden’s City Hall. He said he misses the man who kept the records spinning.
Like many gathered at Memories on Monday, Deluliis believes the club itself will be a memory soon, especially on a night dubbed the “last dance.”
“I know everybody is hoping this isn’t the last day here, but it sure seems like it’s going to be. I don’t see any alternative. A lot of people were hoping we would do at least one more summer and it doesn’t look like it’s going to be that way,” he said.
The nightclub that catered to an older crowd known by Blavat’s term “Yon Teens” (meaning beyond their teenage years) faces the bay. With rising real estate prices, and a house down the street that is up for sale for $1.5 million, many believe the 50-year-old Margate institution will be torn down to make way for residential real estate.