9. Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis Jr. often performed at The Riviera
The Riviera was Fort Lee’s most iconic nightclub from 1931 to 1953. It first opened on Hudson Terrace by the George Washington Bridge, though on Thanksgiving night 1936, the building burned to the ground. About a year later, a new building, which was considered one of the area’s most architecturally advanced buildings at the time, opened closer to the George Washington Bridge. The nightclub had a retractable roof, glass floor-to-ceiling windows, and a rotating stage. The Riviera quickly got the nickname “The Show Place of America.”
Figures like Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., Dean Martin, and Jerry Lewis made visits to The Riviera. There was a casino at the site, and many considered The Riviera a forerunner to the hotels and clubs of Las Vegas. After closing for a few years amid World War II rationing, it was bought by Bill Miller, who directed several casino hotels in Las Vegas and was the father of reporter Judith Miller and music producer Jimmy Miller. It had a seating capacity of slightly under 1,000, and despite its financial success, it had to close due to eminent domain for the Palisades Interstate Parkway. It closed in 1953 after a final concert by Eddie Fisher and Henry Youngman; the building was torn down just a year later.