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New Prelude

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408 York Rd, New Hope, PA


New Prelude was located at York Road and Route 202 in Bucks County, PA. Ground level bar and you stepped down a few steps to the dance floor. Fantastic Halloween parties.

James Urban
James Whitman

Photos below of Halloween 1981 submitted by Bruce H.
Description: These were taken by me on October 28, 1981 at the New Prelude club in New Hope, Pennsylvania.
New Prelude New Prelude New Prelude New Prelude New Prelude New Prelude New Prelude New Prelude

Photo of New Prelude matchbook and T-shirt submitted by Jimmy V.
New Prelude New Prelude

Photos below submitted by Prelude DJ, James Whitman in the DJ Booth 1985.
Prelude DJ, James Whitman Prelude DJ, James Whitman

Photos below submitted by James Urban:
Description: Top Left- Original DJ Booth, I'm inside. Top right- Lynn (Door-person), Mary (Bartender), and Eddie (one of three owners). Bottom Left- Me (James Urban) with my People's Choice Award (DJ of the year). Bottom right- Just outside the DJ Booth.
New Prelude discotheque

Please note that in the interest of fairness, the names of DJs and staff are listed in alphabetical order.

Click to Add Your Photos to this Page!

Added by Bruce H


Your Comments

David V |

OMG! What memories. I "came out" at The Prelude (before it was "New") in 1970. What fun..remember how packed the parking lot was on Friday nites- walking back and forth to "The Cartwheel" (remember the cheap steak sandwiches?). Yeah, I was underage but was always let in and had a blast. One specific memory was meeting the hot chauffeur for the (then) Governor of PA who arrived in his 1968 Lincoln Continental Limo. He and I partied for quite some time in the back of that limo...up the hill from the Prelude...in a private spot. Zowwie! Forever fond of the memories there. I recall Tom Reddy, Cal, the Singapore Slings and the drag shows....aiy yi yi! Fabulous Halloween parties and always trying to figure out how I would explain my late night hours to my parents upon arriving home south of Trenton each Friday and Saturday night. Gosh, it was all the BEST!

Richard Polk Dudley |

I would ride my motorcycle,drive my pickup truck, or my Datsun 240 Z from Morristown,NJ to New Hope and go to the Prelude every Saturday night from 1974-1984. Drank lots of stingers made by bartender Cal. I always met someone very cute, and always had the best time dancing. Great music. Mattress in the back of pickup always came in handy. I am still trading silver and gold every day (since 1974),but from a computer, not on the floor of the exchange. I went Disco dancing atSplash a few weeks ago, and all I could think of was the PRELUDE.

jim |

does anyone know who will be spinning the music that night.

Jimmy Urban |

Hi Bill, Just to let you know January's is on Facebook. The name on the site is Revisiting January's. Was just started recently, April 25, I hope you can find out more information. I also worked there in 1975! Jim Urban

Bill Kirby |

I moved to Maine..what's the word on a reunion at the old Januarys !!??!! Please fill me in ! Thanks !

jim |

i was just thinking how DJ's are now becoming famous for spinning records.
Jimmy Whitman and Jimmy Urban could have been famous.........they were that great.

ray |

First went there 9/76, continued going fairly often til early '88 when the Cartwheel reopened and seemed to take its business away; it survived for a few years with some transformations and name changes but finally closed. Have some very specific memories: a Sat. night in June '77, the guy ahead of me in line, 70's classic dark-hair-and-mustache-handsome, in white Lacoste polo shirt, dancing in place as he paid the cover charge, song was "Uptown Festival" by Shalamar (the "Tears of a Clown" instrumental part - see, I DO mean specific!). Same night, 2 girls in stylish dresses dancing (straight? who knows) saw them later at the Warminster West diner about 10 miles away. Usually called the place just the "Prelude," really fun mix of people who were local, or from Philadelphia, NJ, and (fairly often) N Y C. Summer of '78, talked to 3 guys who worked at GQ magazine, one (dark hair and mustache again!) was named Harry (the art director at the time was named Harry, recently discovered that; must have been him), For someone my age it was a fantasy of totally energizing music, hot looking people, just a total blast - often ran into people I knew from Phila., DCA Club, etc. I do remember the parking lot outside, completely packed, couple times had to wait for someone to leave to get a space! Like the DCA, it could on a good night (not all the time, but VERY frequent) give you a feeling of being in the absolute coolest place in the world - the people there were the decor, such a mix of fashion statements (and many non-fashion statements!) (actually mostly jeans) you could think of, not everyone (including me) was drop dead gorgeous but when they were, they really were - and often many of them! My friends and I often commented about the disconnect between this place and our ordinary weekday lives of work/school in between - was this place for real, where did these people come from? Who cares, as long as they did. People could claim we exaggerate our memories of these places and the late 70's/early 80's but I still think it was a special moment in time, there was just something in the air that everyone felt - maybe that's why I instinctively chronicled these memories for the future - I would guess many of us who were a part of it have done the same.....

Jim Urban |

Hi Matt W, These are the Days my Friend. I live in Trenton and I'm headed down to Asbury Park for the 39th annual Santa Saturday, at Paradise, I worked the first 15 when it was in New Hope, and I'm 63 and still tickin'!

Matt W |

Like Jim Urban (who was a wonderful mixmaster), I also DJ'd for a while.
1977 to 1984, nothing fancy, just small joints like The Lamplighter over in Camden, and the MSA Club at 63rd & Market, among a few other venues...
I knew the value of sliding one song song into another without missing a "beat".
It was FUN!
A hit of Poppers "for the mix" and I was flyin!

Ah but indeed, "those were the days my friends..."

Jim Urban |

Thanks Jim, that's the nicest thing I've hear in years! I tried, remember that was the early times of Dance Music. When I first started in was 45's! Thanks again, Jim.

jim |

Those days were the best. No one in my opinion has ever come close to the mixing of music by Jimmy U. Jimmy would take request and I always loved when he would play the Village Peoples "San Francisco" and let it play into "In Hollywood". I love it. I would love it when he would mix two songs together and people would think it was one song. Jimmy U. your were the best. Jimmy W. was also one of the best. After they left the dj's were not even close.
I now live in Los Angeles and there is a club that plays that music every Saturday night but it's just not the same vibe. But it is still fun to hear that music. The Saturday after Donna Summer summer died, from midnight till 2 it was just her music the crowd went crazy.
I know that I will write agin sometime.
Till then-keep dancing.

Matt W |

I fondly remember all those Corona's or Slo Gin Fizz's that Mary served me... She was a great bartender with a great personality.
My attendance at the Prelude was from 1974/5 up to almost to its closing.
I fondly remember January's (the barn) too, where I first heard "The Best Disco In Town" by the Ritchie Family.
Good times back then for sure!

Bruce H |

The Halloween parties at the Prelude were the best. I remember one in 87 where the last song to close out the night was "Let's Do the Time Warp Again" from Rocky Horror Picture Show soundtrack. We all flew over to the dance floor and I asked someone at random to dance with me and everyone went through the motions/steps in the song.

Gwen J |

I went to the New Prelude almost every Friday and Sat night from 1978 to 1984 with my brother Jimmy Urban, the DJ. Jimmy mixed the best songs and had everyone dancing all nite long. In the summer it got so hot and crowded on the dance floor, shirts came off and you never saw such hot men. The best part of the night came after last call when Jimmy played his infamous medleys, one after the other, and everyone on the dance floor was exhausted and sweating, but you just wished the music would never end.

Paul NE Philly |

I recall Bill Soriero but honestly cannot recall any exact date from that era. You have a remarkable memory. You blew me away recalling the VP show. I was waaay in the back keeping the rear wall from falling onto the crowd. Someone had to do it. We always arrived early and for the most part skipped paying any cover. More money for drinks.

In the early 70's I had to look for my orange VW in the morning not knowing how I ever got home, where I parked if I drove home. Thankfully I wised up before anything drastic happened.

We had a group that danced on the lower dance floor at the bottom of the steps furthest away from Mary's bar. Every Saturday and Sunday we danced the nights away.

Bill Kirby |

OMG ... how did I miss the Village People !? I don't remember them being in the area ... probably too drunk back then ... and yes I DO remember the videos at Zadars . There was another great club that never really took off and I can't remember the name. I think it's an Antique place now, headed towards Buckingham on the right ... you walked in and it was painted like a blue sky with white clouds, above the urinal upstairs a hole was cut out that looked down on the dance floor. I LOVED the place, most of my friends did'nt and I'm not sure why. If I think of the name, I'll post it. Bill and I lived in New Hope most of those years, he worked in Ambler and I worked in Ft. Washington, but back then living in New Hope was kind of like living in Paris. Most of the magic has left New Hope now, I'm so grateful Motel in the Woods is still there, thanks to the Raven ! That will be my "home away from home" when I come down to visit the area. The bank that replace the Prelude does nothing for me, nor the empty lot where the wonderful Cartwheel was ... sigh ...

Bruce H |

Bill - Craig and I did go to Zadar's in the early to mid-80s. Remember the videos they showed to the dance music? Craig and I were absolutely enthralled one night when they showed the clip from "Star Trek: The Motion Picture" where Cmdr Decker and Ilia move in a slow motion circle as they glow and turn into energy. They played "Safety Dance" from Men Without Hats to this clip and the effect was stunning. Do you remember Bill Soriero (?) as the manager of Zadar's. After that, he managed the Cartwheel and introduced the original Village People when they performed there on March 23, 1989. I missed the VP in 1977 when they performed at the DCA, so this was a treat. What a crowd of hunks lining the dance floor while the VP did all their hits. I remember when the VP came on stage, the cowboy waved to friends in the crowd.

Bill Kirby |

Hey Bruce, Ah ... you bring back even MORE wonderful memories ! I DO remember walking outside with a drink, shirt open, dripping wet from dancing and in the winter the roof of the Prelude steamed into the sky as if it were on fire inside ! ... and in a way it WAS ! And YES, we would OFTEN walk to the Cartwheel if things were'nt hot enough at the Prelude ... well, maybe not often because things were usually pretty hot at the 'Lude ! Hahaha ... I had a love affair with the Cartwheel, Januarys , even Zadars at one time, but my real love was the Prelude. I vividly remember as a young man of 22 or 23 and first started going there, being a bit hesitant of even using the restrooms, short lived and within a few visits was frequenting the ladies room as often as the mens if either were that lined up ! What a joy knowing after a couple "rusty nails" I'd be dancing with anyone and everyone at that place ! Why it did'nt even bother me to just go out and dance from one guy to the next ... it was all so good ! As Bill and I gave up the liquor in the late 80s we also gave up the Prelude, focused on sobriety. But I've always looked back with real love and wonder of those best days of my life ! Probably even danced with you Bruce ! I'll bet ! Thanks for keeping the posts going my friend !!!

Bruce |

Bill - Congratulations on your 40th. I met my partner, Craig, at the Prelude and we just had our 30th anniversary, so the place holds especially fond memories. Unfortunately, I don't recognize any of the names probably because I had just a small circle of friends. I can remember Ron C., Edwin, Michael C., Jamie, and Don S. Had a few "frenemies", George L., Kevin V., Jim S., and Jack N., that I tried to avoid. Anyone remember those awful lines to get into the bathrooms and where people went as an alternative, such as the woods that separated the Prelude from the motel? Remember the parking as it became almost impossible on Saturday night when it was at its peak? Remember walking down the main highway to the Raven and back up to the Cartwheel, if the Prelude was dull that night and sometimes jerks in passing cars yelling stupid things? Living in Delaware County at the time, I took the unfinished I-95, which took forever and cost me a few hubcaps with the potholes.

Bill Kirby |

Just got an idea ... I'll list names of some of the folks that meant (and still do ) so much to me back in the 70s and 80s ! If any sound familiar leave a note ! Would love to be in touch again ! I'm Bill of Bill and Billy, usually arrived at the 'Lude in an MGB ... Bill and Billy are still together up on the coast of Maine ... 40 years next month ! How about Paul and Bob ? Harry and Harold Stever ? Rose and Bud, Cy and Shirley, Gorgeous George !!!!???!!! George and Judy ? Goodness, so many faces and memories I can't put names to ! Jimmy, bartender, of course ... I'll add on as they come to me ... I remember how shocked I was to find out it was Abba doing "Lay All Your Love On Me " ! Wonderful Bob and Paul have saved so much of the Prelude music and have been kind enough to share it with me. How I wish I'd taken photos back then !

Bill Kirby |

A BIG part of my life was spent in the Prelude . Such fond memories ... best music, best DJs and best drinks ... and REALLY the best dancing in the world ! Back in 73, first gay bar my partner and I ever went too and never left until we had to "kick the booze". With the same partner today and amazed and grateful we lived through those magical Prelude years. For me, the Prelude really was "as good as it got !!!! I'll keep a close eye on this wonderful site, thank you Paul in Philly for letting me know it's here !!!

Bruce |

Paul - Sounds like we went to the Prelude around the same time. I was a regular there from 1978 to around 1990. I remember Lynn and Sharon very well (with Lynn solo by the late 80s) and how supportive of their patrons they were and also how they didn't tolerate rough-housing. I last saw Lynn in 1997 when I went to the Halloween bash at the Raven. In fact, that was my last time at any of the surviving clubs in New Hope. I was a Cell Block regular from 1977 to 1981. The props they added after it burnt down, then reopened in 1980 were hysterical: a mock jail cell, locker room benches, and the actual cab from a tractor-trailer that they brought in by crane through a large window opening.

Paul NE Philly |

The Prelude was home 3 days a week, sometimes 4 on holidays. Jim Urban was super inside his box spinning super singles. I still own those 8Track tapes. Bartender Bobby Snyder in the back bar, Lynn and Sharon and then just Lynn as manager and security at the front on the door, Mary pouring our on-the-house Gimlets at the front bar. We loved Ms. Rose and her many stories.The New Prelude Nancy's bar was the IN place. The sunken dance floor and mega watt speakers blasting disco and doing the Hustle and Bump having dinner in the lush greenhouse was a real treat Back-in-the-Day. I recall drunken nights we spent next door at Motel in the Woods, thankfully now owned by the Raven and renamed New Hope Lodge. Those drives we took after closing in my orange VW beetle weaving our way to Atlantic City to welcome dawn at the Cell Block. The 70's driving my two tone blue van may bring back memories of me. Yes, those were the nights at the Prelude. Santa Saturdays almost forgotten.

Matt |

I have fond memories of the Prelude from the 70's into the 80's.
Loved that art-deco mosaic mirror bar!
Gettin' sloshed and sweated up dancing there, then stumbling up the street to do last call at The Raven.
Later on......fun down at the towpath :)

Themz were the days!
And I lived to tell about it!

Jim Urban |

Hi Everyone, I'm the orginial DJ, before it was the New Prelude. I started in 1973 with Tom Reddy and the Drag Shows. I left in early 1975 to work at January's in New Hope. Came back to the New Prelude in late 1975 and stayed until 1985, worked with Joe Perry. Best time of my life!!!

Mahlon H. Jacobson |

Sorry no pics but yes it was the place to be.I drove all the way from morris county nj,in my 1966 Electra,think of the gas imust have used.Someone please try and get some more pics of those happy times ,but look we still have the MUSIC.


jim |

Wow I do remember the prelude....best club around.
You were a great DJ.
I have some tapes you made for me. I worked there for about 6 years as a door man.
Would love to see more pictures.

Jim Whitman |

I was the D.J. at the prelude From 1982 to 1989. What Great memories I have.
Still have all the Records!!

funbud |

I have some pictures of the exterior of the Prelude after it was closed (before it was demolished). I will try to dig them up. I, too, have fond memories of this place! I live within walking distance of it now but the sight is now a very attractive bank (still, it's not a dance club!)

JimmyVinFLA |

Does anyone have pictures of the exterior of "The Purple Palace"? Been searching for years!
Loved this place - spent every Saturday night there and many a New Years Eve.


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