January 27, 1997 12:00 PM

THERE WAS “DANCING IN THE Streets”—or a faux version of New York City’s streets—as backbeat-loving celebs turned out to celebrate the Jan. 12 opening of the Motown Cafe in Las Vegas’s brand-new New York New York Hotel & Casino. Queen Latifah, Paula Abdul and 1,000 other attendees shimmied the evening away to live sets by the Temptations and the Four Tops. “Motown is a great moment in black musical history,” said emcee Sinbad, who spent the night coaxing guests onstage for sing-alongs. “Heck, Motown’s a big part of our whole history.” For the party crowd, many sporting outfits from Motown’s ’60s heyday, the bash was a chance to reminisce about the grooves they grew up to. “They gave me a lot of good times,” said NYPD Blue’s James McDaniel, who called the Temptations’ “The Way You Do the Things You Do” his favorite tune. “You’re gonna see Lieutenant Fancy shake a tail feather tonight.”

Inside the two-story restaurant (an offshoot of the Motown Cafe in Manhattan), purple neon glinted off gold memorabilia—including Michael Jackson’s early hit records and the Supremes’ sparkling pumps—as guests fueled up from the LP-shaped menu. Some opted for sushi or quiche, but Tyra Banks downed a deep-fried chicken finger before leaping up to meet Martha Reeves, lead singer of Martha and the Vandellas. Said a smiling Reeves, resplendent in a white beaded dress: “I have met so many movie stars tonight!” Meanwhile, producer-singer Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds, whose dozen Grammy nominations this year tied Michael Jackson’s 1984 record, was no less thrilled to meet his musical forebears. “They are my inspiration,” he declared. “All you can do is learn from Motown.”

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