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Long live punk.
February 18, 2005 2:23 PM   Subscribe

Punk rock is dead. So now, along with Luna Lounge, Fez Under Time Cafe, and Tonic (previously discussed here), it looks like CBGB may get priced out of existence. What NYC landmark will be next? (Oh, and don't forget the Plaza.)
posted by fungible (51 comments total)

 
Several beautiful old off-Broadway theatres on 42nd Street between 9th and 10th Ave, including the Douglas Fairbanks, and the John Houseman (my favorite theatre in all of New York) are being torn down in May. Why? To make room for luxury condos. I hate fucking rich people.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 2:44 PM on February 18, 2005 [1 favorite]


I hate fucking rich people.

Yeah, poor people try harder.
posted by COBRA! at 2:52 PM on February 18, 2005


me too. that's why I could never live in New York City (just Manhattan, I guess). I know that rich people tend to ruin everything everywhere (with some obviously major exceptions), but the amount of wealth in New York City is mind-boggling. combine that with a powerful police state, and it starts to really suck. just my2c. it's still an amazing place to visit, and I have family and friends who love it, but ...

the neighborhoods will have to pick up the slack. let's hope they do. in another 10 years it will be a completely different city anyways.
posted by mrgrimm at 2:57 PM on February 18, 2005


Punk rock is dead.

Welcome to 1983. Or are you a record company marketing executive?
posted by Mayor Curley at 2:59 PM on February 18, 2005


From the first link: I know some people want me to put CBGB in New Jersey.

What?? CBGB is legendary, but could the brand really survive a move out of the bowery and into, where, Newark? (though I had no idea rent was $20k/mo.)
posted by nobody at 3:00 PM on February 18, 2005


I personally can't wait to have a Ramones burger at a CBGBs restaurant/toursit trap ala Planet Hollywood. Good times as they say.
posted by rathikd at 3:03 PM on February 18, 2005


Well Bowery could use another Starbucks and Duane Reade. Uber Alles Capitalism.
posted by MiltonRandKalman at 3:20 PM on February 18, 2005


CBGB is definitely a landmark and a much-loved institution, but it hasn't really been relevant as a rock venue in nearly two decades.

That does sucks about, though. I'd only been there a couple of times for shows, but it was one of my favorite places to grab a drink in the last few years. Same with Luna, that's a good club as well.
posted by psmealey at 3:25 PM on February 18, 2005


From the first link: I know some people want me to put CBGB in New Jersey.

I'd sooner see show in Connecticut then go to Jersey. Jersey sucks and I can prove it. To enter: Free. You wanna come back: $4
posted by MiltonRandKalman at 3:29 PM on February 18, 2005


The clubs should pool their money and make a bid for the Hudson Yards.
posted by eatitlive at 3:30 PM on February 18, 2005


I'd sooner see show in Connecticut then go to Jersey.

Well, I'm working on drumming up interest in a decent rock club up here, but it's still pretty desolate (other than crappy Irish bar blues bands). I'll let you know how it goes.
posted by psmealey at 3:31 PM on February 18, 2005


Parents have sent in photos of their kids wearing CBGB t-shirts and we're very happy to receive them. We are wondering if you would like to have your kid's photo on our website. If so, please email us for more info.

i think punk was already dead there...
posted by es_de_bah at 3:38 PM on February 18, 2005


CBGB is definitely a landmark and a much-loved institution, but it hasn't really been relevant as a rock venue in nearly two decades.

It's relevant to me! my husband played there.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 3:39 PM on February 18, 2005


I played there too (in 2001), and had a blast doing it (despite the sound guy being a total stuck up prick) but as far as major area venues go, Maxwell's and the Knitting Factory eclipsed CB's long ago.
posted by psmealey at 3:41 PM on February 18, 2005


To enter: Free. You wanna come back: $4

it's $6.

a lot of jersey bands play CBGB's. think it would be a good call.
posted by oliver_crunk at 4:06 PM on February 18, 2005


Every punk band that I want to see usually plays at Irving Plaza.

I'm not sure why that is.
posted by smackfu at 4:19 PM on February 18, 2005


Pardon my lack of reading comprehension, but what's happening to Fez? And the Time Cafe above it? I had lots of fun first dates at Time Cafe in the 1990's (before Brooklyn became the center of the universe); still love the TC's lighting; please tell me what's going on there....
posted by ParisParamus at 4:27 PM on February 18, 2005


Don't forget Brownies
posted by destro at 5:09 PM on February 18, 2005


combine that with a powerful police state, and it starts to really suck.

good thing we don't have one of those yet, then.
posted by angry modem at 5:27 PM on February 18, 2005


CBGBs is a little shit-hole of a place. However, I think that it is the absolute finest shit-hole that ever hosted music. Crappy space, crappy sound (pretty much) and definitely the crappiest bathroom ever. Still, a music shrine that shines above all other crappy music venues. A sad loss.

I hope, if they go, that jonmc gives us a proper eulogy.
posted by caddis at 5:43 PM on February 18, 2005


It may not mean much, but the PDX feels for y'all.
posted by underer at 6:03 PM on February 18, 2005


Look. There's really nothing to lament here. Almost no one reading this was old enough, or alive enough to frequent these places when they were "happening." The Scene will move elsewhere, perhaps to Brooklyn, and then your children will lament the closing of those places. Or something like that.
posted by ParisParamus at 6:11 PM on February 18, 2005


Not to be a shit, clubs come, clubs go. If the club isn't doing well, poor management. If the club's rent is skyrocketing then the Bowery is getting too tony. Gentrification: Don't go away poor, just go away. Time to move to Williamsburg, were lattes and Cool flow like wine.

In SF there are 30+ year-olds that lament the Cocadrie and I-Beam, the 50+ folks speak of the Winterland with great fondness and remember when Bill personally handed out apples at The Fillmore. There are rumors that Bottom of the Hill is going to shut it's doors. I'd hate to see it go, but clubs like the Independent are starting to snag those artists. Capitalism weeds out the sick and weak. Someone else will come along with money, heart, and better business skills and create a place where we can do the Time Warp again.

on Preview: What Paris is saying with less fluff
posted by MiltonRandKalman at 6:15 PM on February 18, 2005


Time to move to Williamsburg, were lattes and Cool flow like wine.

Williamsburg is OVER, dude. It's onto DUMBO and then Long Island City, baby!
posted by psmealey at 6:36 PM on February 18, 2005


clubs come, clubs go

Not like this one.
posted by caddis at 6:38 PM on February 18, 2005


I'm with Paris re: CB's -- by the time I moved to NYC in '95, it was far past its heyday, selling T-shirts to kids younger than some of Joey Ramone's leather pants (though I do remember some great shows there with the Boredoms & Jon Spencer Blues Explosion). But Tonic, Fez, and to a lesser extent Luna Lounge still had life in them, and it's a shame that slick new development is making the East Village/LES less affordable for smaller, independent clubs.

I know, it's the ongoing march of gentrification -- but i spent six fun years living in the EV, and it's sad to see signs that it's getting more genericized. And of course, even being there in the mid-'90s, I was well aware that I'd missed the whole gritty early-'80s Lower East Side scene of no wave and Keith Haring and all that. Though when I visit NYC these days, I'm not surprised to spend a lot of time in Brooklyn.
posted by lisa g at 6:40 PM on February 18, 2005


Long Island City! I love the 7 Train. I love the post-industrial vide. Gotta check out that place.
posted by ParisParamus at 6:41 PM on February 18, 2005


I agree with Paris. Let me pause for a minute to reflect on that... because that's the first time that's ever happened. :-) You know what? Max's Kansas City was that kind of place, too. And most people don't even remember that it even existed. That sucks, but it's "progress" I suppose. A true "scene" or organic creative community can happen pretty much anywhere. At Lounge Ax in Chicago (which is also now defunct), or Cafe Moe in Seattle (same), it kind of doesn't matter where, it's just building, or rattraps, if you prefer.

On the bright side, maybe things have changed since then, but when I left NYC in 2002, there was a decent scene (meaning bands from the neighborhood) going on at Arlene Grocery and the Lux. Maybe it's not the Dead Boys, the Ramones, Blondie, Patti Smith and Candy Darling, but it's something.
posted by psmealey at 6:49 PM on February 18, 2005


ParisParamus: I work at Fez. Our rent doubled a few months ago when the owner signed a second 15-year lease. We're closing for major renovations in a few weeks. It's still not known if the new reconfiguration will include Time Cafe, Fez, or the downstairs performance space as we currently know them. We're supposed to see plans soon. We currently occupy a pretty gigantic area in the building with three bars over three floors plus offices on another floor so it could go many different ways...

I'm pretty proud of the shows I've booked over the last 9 years so I'm hoping we'll get a nicer, shinier, bigger space to work in. But if not... I guess it's off to Red Hook or someplace.

I agree completely that scenes move continuously; when I started as a student at NYU, there were still maps around telling students that Lafayette Street and the Bowery were dangerous to walk around at night. Now they're loaded with bottle-service clubs. Uncle Joe's in Jersey City unseated Maxwell's as Best Jersey Club in some poll last year (Village Voice? I forget). It's just the way it goes.
posted by bcwinters at 6:50 PM on February 18, 2005


This is just part of NYC re-inventing itself periodically. Old neighborhoods become trendy hot-spots, then tourist traps, then luxury condos move in. Meanwhile even more exciting things happen somewhere else. CBGB might be dying, but there are outer-borough venues that are playing the real stuff right now, and in 20 years people will be complaining that Queens is dying from luxury condos while the real music will be happening in Staten Island...
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 6:52 PM on February 18, 2005


Uncle Joe's in Jersey City unseated Maxwell's as Best Jersey Club in some poll last year

That's actually really nice to hear. My band played there a couple years ago, and the whole experience was awesome: the management, the staff and the clientele was all super-friendly and very coo.
posted by psmealey at 6:55 PM on February 18, 2005


BCWinters: That's very cool that you're reading this; what a cool job. I really wish you well.

(I also want to get to Tonic ASAP!)
posted by ParisParamus at 6:57 PM on February 18, 2005


(Also, the PSlope/Carol Gardens area of Brooklyn could really use a music venue. I know it's not cool 'round here; too many babies and strollers, but there's very little music performed)
posted by ParisParamus at 6:59 PM on February 18, 2005


Here here for Brownies. It didn't die, but it's really just a vegetable now.

When I first arrived in NYC, I was intent on seeing some music at CBs. Then I started reading the Voice, and ended up patronizing Tramps, The Cooler, Knitting Factory, but not CBs. I think they have a nice space, but their booking SUCKS. I could theorize about other revinue sources that might allow them to survive, but I'm almost happy to see them go. I'm usually looking over at the goons who hang out there from across the street, at the Bowery Poetry Club. So it goes..
posted by Jack Karaoke at 7:52 PM on February 18, 2005


Williamsburg is OVER, dude. It's onto DUMBO and then Long Island City, baby!

Sorry to tell you, I work in DUMBO, it's all over already. They have gutted most of the artist studios and are converting them into condos.
posted by Lex Tangible at 9:59 PM on February 18, 2005


I loathe the Knitting Factory and the supercilious, arrogant twits who work there. I say we sacrifice it so Tonic, CBGB's, and Fez can live.
posted by Vidiot at 10:07 PM on February 18, 2005


I loathe the Knitting Factory and the supercilious, arrogant twits who work there.

Fucking FINALLY, some authenic fucking anger on this thread... Props to you, bro', I fully endorse this! Let's go KILL some people...

In other news, Luna is actually playing their farewell show (+2) at the Bowery this next weekend. I think it could be pretty great, but let's see who shows up.
posted by psmealey at 10:25 PM on February 18, 2005


I loathe the Knitting Factory and the supercilious, arrogant twits who work there. I say we sacrifice it so Tonic, CBGB's, and Fez can live.

vidiot and psmealey - let's do it. That place is the worst. I always forget how horrible it is, and end up back there 6 months later. But i think I finally learned my lesson when I spent the entire M.I.A. show stuck between that horrible little transition area below the balcony just outside the bar. Couldn't hear a thing. Fucking ridiculous. And you're always in the way and someone's always telling you to move and...oh christ, I have to stop.
posted by hellbient at 10:58 PM on February 18, 2005


Uncle Joe's in Jersey City unseated Maxwell's as Best Jersey Club in some poll last year

Really? Uncle Joe's?
Wait, does this mean Jersey City's been discovered?
posted by willpie at 6:46 AM on February 19, 2005


Really? Uncle Joe's?
Wait, does this mean Jersey City's been discovered?


shhh! Nothing to see here in JC, move along, quickly, quickly..
posted by lilboo at 6:59 AM on February 19, 2005


Here here for Brownies. It didn't die, but it's really just a vegetable now.

whoa, I really didn't realize brownies was still around...

CB's gallery has had some good shows over the years. CBs proper has been a museum since sometime in the 80s.

mercury lounge, the warsaw, sometimes arlene's, piano, living room et al, that place in red hook... there are plenty of places that continue to book good stuff. Neighborhoods change, landmarks fall away. It's weird and sad, but it is also amazingly consistent, so that after 10 or 15 years of getting upset by change, it starts to just seem normal. My sister was in NY for the holidays and remarked how much seemed the same, even though lots of little things had changed (we grew up here but she's been out west for the last few years). And some of the things that had changed, changed years ago - she remembered the Store 24 that used to be on 6th ave around the corner from the Waverly diner, which hasn't been there since we were teenagers!

So. just accept heraclitus on this, I guess :)
posted by mdn at 7:27 AM on February 19, 2005


To enter: Free. You wanna come back: $4
Yes, the cheap way to become drunk while at a club. You get your fill at your car than their bar. Plus if you’re under is age this is one around having a drink while you are there.
posted by thomcatspike at 8:20 AM on February 19, 2005


one way around
posted by thomcatspike at 8:32 AM on February 19, 2005


So much material:
Every punk band that I want to see usually plays at Irving Plaza. I'm not sure why that is.

the bands' blossomed. I suppose it was that or death, so enjoy the fact you can still see them.

Someone elucidate on Brownies' fate. I was under the impression it was gone. It's moved, at least. I played there a couple of times, and it was always awesome.
Empty, but awesome.

and don't forget Coney Island High (not a great link about CIH, but relevant to this thread, especially now that they're also condos...)

Williamsburg has been replaced by the Lower East Side for the hotspot, NOT DUMBO, which preceded Williamsburg by what, 20 years? So these clubs are getting squeezed by being in a neighborhood on the rise(?). Advising them to relocate to another neighborhood with rents rising out of control is helpful?

I live in Williamsburg, and have been watching a single-story storage shack get converted to a 5 story condo-fest nextdoor. I'd like to think that there are amenities that will follow the influx of people and skyrocketing rent, but no evidence of it yet.

Count me in to that group of Cassandras that expect a spectacular crash, where the realism of hardened bankruptcy laws, and questionable growth expectations from the economy...

then again, I thought the internet bubble would burst sooner, and with worse results. hmm.
posted by Busithoth at 10:09 AM on February 19, 2005


The knitting factory hasn't been cool in at least 7-10 years--where have you been, young man?
posted by ParisParamus at 10:16 AM on February 19, 2005


in another 10 years it will be a completely different city anyways.

This is true. It goes in cycles, and the current Manhattan real estate situation is unsustainable, simply because there's a very limited number of people who can afford to pay the rents. Hopefully, the city won't have become as insane as it was from the late 70's.


I hope, if they go, that jonmc gives us a proper eulogy.


I actually haven't been in CBGB in almost 9 years, although I did see some great shows there circa '89-90 like Crossfire Choir, Nuclear Valdez, Das Damen and The Poster Children. But when it goes I will be in mourning. But I'll be able to talk about the way my uncles get misty reminiscing about the Fillmore East.

I also remember the Alcatraz, probably the last non-kitschy Heavy Metal bar in Manhattan, on the corner of Ave A and St.Marks. Had some wild times around there. It's a sushi restaurant now. But like they say, the more things change the more they stay the same.
posted by jonmc at 10:41 AM on February 19, 2005


The knitting factory hasn't been cool in at least 7-10 years

That pretty much coincides with when they moved out of the space on Houston (where Botanica is now) and into the new place doesn't it? The sound wasn't the best in there, but I saw some great bands in 89-92 at that place from Sonic Youth, to My Bloody Valentine, to Yo La Tengo, and even Nirvana. I haven't been to the Knitting Factory since it relocated, and based on what I've heard, I probably won't ever go there.
posted by psmealey at 3:26 PM on February 19, 2005


Cool is a wave. There's no point continuing to look at the point in the water where the wave was once the energy has passed that point and moved on.

Actually, I saw John Zorn at the Knitting Factory after it had moved, but John Zorn, however talented he is, isn't new any more. Did Zorn ever play at Tonic? And does anyone know the disc Spilane?
posted by ParisParamus at 4:04 PM on February 19, 2005


CBGB is definitely a landmark and a much-loved institution, but it hasn't really been relevant as a rock venue in nearly two decades.

It's relevant to me! my husband played there.

More than 20 years ago? I played there in the late `70s.

That make me teh coolest! Woot!

Or some such shit.

Anyway, if CBGB bites the dust, can they take Green fucking Day and all the other time-warp bands with them? It might take the sting out of it.
posted by Ayn Marx at 5:50 PM on February 19, 2005


Did Zorn ever play at Tonic?
he probably plays there every week or so. I think he's part owner.
FWIW, i think Zorn is seriously overrated. When he put his cell phone up to the mic and played his ringtones for everyone was the kicker for me.

And I've been to great shows at the new Knit - their booking is second to none, it's just that place...uhh.
posted by hellbient at 8:15 AM on February 20, 2005


I've never been as worried about institutions as individuals, never so concerned about clubs as bands. The more pertinent question regarding the music scene in NYC is whether good music is still being made there. I think the answer is an overwhelming yes. And can new bands find places to play? Also yes. And are there plenty of good places to go see these bands? A third yes.
posted by jasonsmall at 5:34 AM on February 21, 2005


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