Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Rock of ages: Commemorating the Fillmore East on 2nd Avenue

Via the EVG inbox...

Please join the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, Two Boots and Apple Bank to unveil a historic plaque marking the site of the Fillmore East, the beloved concert hall that filled the corner of Second Avenue and East Sixth Street with music from 1968-1971. The event will include appearances by guitarist Lenny Kaye and Joshua White, founder of the Joshua Light Show, which splashed the concert hall with psychedelic color.

Despite its brief life, the Fillmore East is remembered with tremendous affection by both the artists who played there and the concertgoers who enjoyed it, as a place of warmth, spirit, innovation and the finest popular music. The great impresario Bill Graham opened the hall as a sibling to his Fillmore West in San Francisco, and brought in performers including The Doors, B.B. King, Roberta Flack, The Byrds, Richie Havens, Taj Mahal, Jefferson Airplane, Pink Floyd, Joan Baez, Jeff Beck, the Staple Singers, and many more.

The building was a destination for entertainment both before and after the Fillmore East. It opened in 1926 as a Yiddish theater, soon becoming the Loew’s Commodore movie house, followed by the Village Theater. In the 1980s it was the trendsetting gay nightclub The Saint, becoming Emigrant Bank in 1995, and Apple Bank in 2013. While the façade retains much of its original Medieval Revival style, the rear of the building, which housed the auditorium, was demolished and replaced by the Fillmore apartment building in 1997.

The plaque unveiling is tonight at 5. Find more details here.

All photos courtesy of Amalie R. Rothschild

Previously on EV Grieve:
Bank branch becomes bank branch at former site of the Fillmore East

The Loew's Commodore Theatre


DrBOP said...

I remember being super-disappointed that the Village Theater ("the VILLAGE fer gawdsakes") was gone.

But at least it happened in an age that when something closed, something cool, funky, or at least different, would open in its place.

Many folks saw the ultimate fate of the Fillmore in the mid-to-late 90s as a HUGE harbinger of things to come. Unfortunately, they were more right than they could have EVER imagined.

(And it's also a bit of a mind-warp that everyone in those pics is at least over 60 years-old now......DAMN YOU aging process :+)

Unknown said...

This is going to be great !

Unknown said...

No mention of Grateful Dead in your list of Fillmore East acts. A gross oversight which is in no way diminishes the impact and importance of their legendary Fillmore East performances.

Anonymous said...

Jimi Hendrix too, who immortalized the place with the "Band of Gypsys" album, recorded live on the exact day the Sixties ended. Rock power!

Anonymous said...

The Grateful Dead and Jimi are both named on the plaque, though! 2nd Ave @ 6th St.