Showing posts with label CBGB. Show all posts
Showing posts with label CBGB. Show all posts

Thursday, March 14, 2024

This day on the Bowery in 2007

A new EVG reader, Ernst (of Oasis D'Neon Video Magazine), shared these photos that he took on March 14, 2007, outside the former CBGB at 315 Bowery. 

On this day, the country blues-turned-punk club had been closed for almost five months (Oct. 15, 2006). John Varvatos would open a store in the space some 13 months later. 

So here's a look at some more recent ghosts of the Bowery.
... at this time, 313 Bowery, the former CBGB Record Canteen and CB's 313 Gallery space, was still for rent ... before the Morrison Hotel Gallery arrived in 2008... (the first of several businesses here; it's now the gallery Amanita)...
And this all seems longer than 17 years ago...

Sunday, December 10, 2023

CBGB at 50

CBGB has been in the news this past week... Hilly Kristal opened the venue on the Bowery 50 years ago today — Dec. 10, 1973. (Some sources also list Dec. 3 as the opening.) This was a rebrand after four years as Hilly's on the Bowery. 

Among the anniversary pieces: NPR ... NY1 ... the Post ... and the Daily News

The club closed in October 2006... John Varvatos took over 315 Bowery in April 2008.

Saturday, February 11, 2023

A tribute to Tom Verlaine on the Bowery

Someone left a thank-you note for Tom Verlaine outside the former CBGB space at 315 Bowery (now John Varvatos) ... quoting from "Marquee Moon." 

Not sure how long the note has been here. 

Verlaine, guitarist, frontman and co-founder of Television, one of the most influential acts of the CBGB scene in the late 1970s, died on Jan. 28 at age 73.
Life in the hive puckered up my night 
A kiss of death, the embrace of life 
Ooh, there I stand neath the Marquee Moon 
But I ain't waiting...

Sunday, January 29, 2023

Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Brooke Smith revisits the neighborhood's 1980s hardcore scene with 'Sunday Matinee'

All photos by Brooke Smith/reposted with permission 

As an unhappy teen growing up in Rockland County in the 1980s, Brooke Smith found solace riding the 9A bus into the city. 

Once here, she'd take the A train to West Fourth Street. One day decided to keep walking on Eighth Street into the East Village and onto St. Mark's Place. 

Here, she found her home, a place where she felt as if she belonged. 
Today, Smith, now based in Los Angeles, has made a name for herself in films (Buffalo Bill's plucky would-be victim in the Oscar-winning "The Silence of the Lambs") and television ("Grey's Anatomy," "Ray Donovan"). 

While preparing to move about 12 years ago, Smith found a cardboard box full of the photos she took in the 1980s while part of the punk/hardcore scene on the Lower East Side. This discovery eventually led to a solo show at Primary Gallery

These photos are the subject of a new photo book, "Sunday Matinee," which features hundreds of photographs of the East Village in the mid-1980s and bands such as Bad Brains, Agnostic Front, Cro-Mags, Murphy's Law, Warzone and others. There are also recollections by band members and others involved in the scene.
Smith answered some questions in a recent email exchange with EVG... 

What initially compelled you to venture down to the city as a teen? 

I was very much an outsider in my hometown and high school. I was overweight and listened to WFMU radio a lot — punk and alternative music, which no one in my school was into. My mom worked in the city, and I started going in with her as a child. 

By the time I was 13 or 14, I felt comfortable enough to take the bus alone to the GW Bridge and then the subway downtown. Initially, I got off at West 4th street and walked around, but I soon felt compelled to go further and further east. I loved St Mark's Place and I met people in the East Village and eventually wound up at CBGB. Later, I got a job as the bag check girl at Trash & Vaudeville and then did the same thing at The Ritz.
Describe your mood change as you were leaving Rockland County and entering NYC on the bus, eventually making your way down to the East Village/LES.

I started meeting people and making friends... and you know how you just know who ‘your' people are when you meet them? I mean, like you recognize them? That’s how it felt, like coming home, genuinely.

The East Village felt like it belonged to us. It was a bit like the Wild West back then, and it felt like there was always a possibility in the air. We didn’t have cell phones then, so you had to get out and find people. 

You carried a Minolta with you. When did the interest in photography come about? 

Photography was one of the only classes I liked in high school, so I always had my camera with me. Plus, I wasn’t comfortable in my own skin, so even if I wanted to be a lead singer or a musician, I was too insecure. Having my camera meant I could hide behind it but still be right up in the center of the action. 

The people in the portraits on the streets and sidewalk look at ease in front of your camera. Were you known in the hardcore community as someone always taking photos? Did it take a while for you to build up the confidence to approach people? 

It did take a little time. I only took portraits of my friends. Back then, when people used to drive by CBGB or Tompkins Square Park and try to take photos of us punks, we would always make them pay us! I think I was known as someone who was always taking pics, along with Amy Keim and BJ Papas, and a few other women in the scene.
Looking back at the book and all the images, what is an enduring memory of this period in your life? 

I loved it all. And all those people in the photos, so many of whom are gone. I remember late nights when we would all hang out with the homeless in Tompkins Square and have bonfires in those mesh garbage cans and share our stories with each other. It was a real neighborhood, and I can remember so many of the characters… everyone from Ray — who’s still there at 90, serving the best shakes and egg creams in NYC — to that guy who would always cover his face with a newspaper if you tried to make eye contact. 

I remember exactly when I felt it was time to move on from the scene. I was at the pizza place on St Mark's and Avenue A with these new kids I'd just met. I explained to them that my little brother had died in a surfing accident a week before, and I just remember feeling, at that very moment, that my time there was done. It was time for me to grow up.
What were some ways this scene helped you forge your identity? 

There was no separation between audience and performer. It was our scene, and we were doing it for ourselves, not to get rich or famous. So I think that helped me. I learned to trust my instincts as an artist, and to stay true to myself and to always be authentic. 

What do you hope that people take away from "Sunday Matinee"? 

It’s a love letter to that time and place and especially those people. I hope people get the message to be themselves. Don’t try to fit in. If you can find a group of people, or even just one other person who shares your interests, you can create whatever you want.
This Saturday, Smith will be signing copies of the book from 5-7 p.m. at Generation Records, 210 Thompson St. in Greenwich Village. There's an after-party at 9 p.m. at 96 Tears, 110 Avenue A at Seventh Street (the former Tompkins Square Bar). Find out more about the book here.

Sunday, March 27, 2022

Remembering Taylor Hawkins as Iggy Pop in the 'CBGB' movie

Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins died on Friday at age 50. 

As Vulture noted, "Hawkins impressed fans and peers alike with his full-throttle style and rambunctious energy." 

Perhaps that's why, as an EVG reader reminded us, Hawkins was signed to play Iggy Pop in the 2013 "CBGB" bio-pic

We're introduced to Iggy in the clip below ... who then interrupts a Blondie performance and later duets with Debbie Harry on a rendition of "I Wanna Be Your Dog."


That never actually happened — outside the film, anyway.

As the "CBGB" end credits pointed out: "And we know Iggy Pop never performed at CBGB. Deal with it!"

Monday, August 24, 2020

Speculating about the future of John Varvatos in the former home of CBGB on the Bowery

The gate remains down at the John Varvatos outpost at 315 Bowery. The shop between First Street and Second Street has been locked up for the past few weeks.

Bowery watchers are speculating about what might be happening with the address, considered hallowed ground by some for being the home of CBGB from 1973 to 2006.

First, some background on what has been happening with JV, the menswear designer. According to the retailer's website, all of the brand's locations are currently closed. (The Bowery shop returned on July 2, and stayed opened for several weeks.)

As The Wall Street Journal reported on July 24, John Varvatos was in financial trouble long before the COVID-19 pandemic. The business filed for bankruptcy protection on May 6, with a buyout offer from an affiliate of Lion Capital of London and Los Angeles.

(The Journal article also outlines an Equal Pay Act class-action lawsuit that began in 2017 by female sales associates at the retailer. Earlier this year, the sales associates won a jury verdict in an Equal Pay Act class-action lawsuit. "Varvatos denied discrimination. The jury ruled against the retailer, awarding $1.7 million in legal fees, as well as the $3.5 million in damages.")

In late July, WWD reported that a Lion Capital subsidiary was expected to acquire the bankrupt brand and merge it into the AllSaints portfolio. (AllSaints the British fashion retailer, sells menswear, womenswear apparel, footwear and accessories in more than 230 stores.) Varvatos was also rumored to be leaving the company.

John Varvatos opened here in April 2008... the first tenant since the storied music club shut down on Oct. 15, 2006, after a losing a deal to renew the lease with their landlord, the Bowery Residents' Committee.

JV preserved part of the former CBGB space, keeping parts of the wall with sticker and flyers intact and preserved behind glass inside the shop.


At the time, there was debate about all this. Some were in the "it's-better-than-a-bank-or-a Fuddruckers camp." Others preferred that the old space was gutted rather than turned into a museum alongside $300 Cheap Trick t-shirts. (In 2008, Arturo Vega, creative director for the Ramones, told the Post: "I like it. I'm relieved. We were expecting a drug store in the space. So when I found out it was Varvatos moving in, it was a relief.")

For now, the speculation is on whether JV will ever reopen, and if not, will a AllSaints outpost open in the space, perhaps keeping the CBGB memory alive on the walls?

Thursday, January 30, 2020


This has been making the rounds ... first spotted by Brooklyn Vegan: Dr. Martens have paid tribute to CBGB, the iconic Bowery club (not restaurant at the Newark Liberty International Airport) with a line of boots "to relive the mayhem from its heyday."

You can find the two styles at the Dr. Martens website.

And as BV noted, Dr. Martens previously paid tribute to Joy Division, New Order and Sex Pistols with a line of boots.

Saturday, December 29, 2018

This week in East Village music history

Hilly Kristal debuted the short-lived CBGB's Theater at 66 Second Ave. at this time in late 1977 ...

Here's one description of the CBGB Theater via: "The place was disgusting. It made the CBGB club look like the Rainbow Room. We were talking about eighty years' worth of dirt. I mean there was popcorn left over from the last performance of the Yiddish theater in 1925...They did manage to clean up the entryway, and made it look like a subway station."

Read more about the Anderson Theatre, 66 Second Ave. between Third Street and Fourth Street, at Cinema Treasures and It's All the Streets You Crossed Not So Long Ago.

Previously on EV Grieve:
When you could see the Grateful Dead on Second Avenue for $2

Monday, December 24, 2018

Engineering the return of CBGB in this model train set at Grand Central Terminal

[Image via New York Transit Museum]

The New York Transit Museum is hosting its 17th Annual Holiday Train Show at the Museum's Grand Central Gallery Annex & Store (it started on Nov. 15 and runs through Feb. 24).

An EVG reader shared this photo below ... showing a replica CBGB outpost — next to a Santa's Corner Workshop — in this “O” gauge model train layout... not sure if this is an annual part of the show, or if the CBGB is new to this train town...

No sign, however, of a TRGT outpost.

H/T Mary!

Saturday, September 22, 2018

'Punk' talk tomorrow night at Cooper Union with Legs McNeil and Gillian McCain

Legs McNeil and Gillian McCain will read from and talk about their book "Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk" tomorrow (Sunday!) night at Cooper Union.

It starts at 6 p.m. in Cooper Union’s Rose Auditorium, 41 Cooper Square at Seventh Street. It's a free event, though the organizers are asking you to RSVP via email —

Saturday, July 21, 2018


Workers are setting up for a sidewalk extravaganza outside the just-opened Target store on 14th Street and Avenue A... which includes a replica CBGB storefront — called TRGT...

A few readers have already chimed in about this via email (one with a subject line LOL) ... early, unscientific consensus is that this storefront homage is wholly unnecessary.

Updated noon:

Pinch shared this photo of the sidewalk event — complete with wrapping reminiscent of tenement buildings — on 14th Street here at EVGB — the "East Village's Greatest Building" ...

Updated 2:30 p.m.

Brooklyn Vegan paid a visit to the faux storefronts ... erected just for today as part of the Target's official grand opening.

Most notably, this includes an homage to CBGB, with “TRGT” in the old Bowery punk venue’s classic font (with “BANDS” in smaller font right below it), and display windows sporting TRGT t-shirts, “rock on” foam hands, and poster that said “The Resistance.” You couldn’t actually buy that stuff from the stand but, wink wink, they did have “bands” in the form of free boxes Band-Aids and exercise bands with the Target logo on them. Right next to the TRGT was a little stage with a “Battle of the Bands” banner and an oversized novelty Target bass guitar for selfie-ing. I did not enquire about the bathrooms.

Updated 8 p.m.

EVG reder Lola Sáenz shared these photos from the afternoon grand-opening event...

Updated 9 p.m.

Jeremiah Moss has a post on this at Vanishing New York... describing it as "the most deplorable commodification of local neighborhood culture I’ve ever witnessed."

Updated 7/25:

Target issues an apology.

Previously on EV Grieve:
New 7-floor buildings for East 14th Street include 150 residential units

Target offers details about its flexible-format store opening summer 2018 on 14th and A

The disappearing storefronts of East 14th Street

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Catching up with the hardcore matinee crowd

NPR has a feature today on "Matinee: All Ages On The Bowery," Drew Carolan's photo book on the afternoon hardcore scene at CBGB from 1983-1985 ... Carolan, who grew up on the LES, photographed people coming and going to the matinees.

At NPR, there's a now-and-then feature that shows what some of the people featured in the book are doing today... such as Joshua:

In hindsight, I think that my early adolescent treks from Staten Island to the Bowery to catch the weekly matinee at CBGB's may have been training me to spend my life on the road. After getting out of university I started traveling more seriously, eventually expatriating when I was 24. Since then, I've probably spent half my life living overseas, working mostly as a journalist and travel writer in Taiwan, Hong Kong and China. I have a new book coming out in 2018 — my 14th — titled Formosa Moon and have recently switched from original Star Trek "continuing journey" mode to a more Deep Space Nine mode by hooking up with a Taiwanese travel company that does custom tours around the country. It kind of fits, in a weird way. There's a decent punk scene here, and Beijing calls us a renegade province, so yeah, there's that. Currently listening to: Kou Chou Ching, The White Eyes, Frank Zappa, Gentle Giant, Yes, Bad Brains, The Germs, Black Flag, Minor Threat

There's a book celebration Saturday over at Generation Records on Thompson Street ... and another one Dec. 8 at Rough Trade in Williamsburg.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

The story behind one of the original CBGB awnings that's now up for auction

[Photo by Rainer Turim last winter outside the John Varvatos store on the Bowery]

According to research by Gothamist, there were three awnings during the life of CBGB at 315 Bowery. One was up from 1973 to 1987, another from 1987 to 2000 and the last until the club closed in 2006.

And where are they now? The most recent awning is at the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame Museum in Cleveland. The original awning was allegedly in the possession of JFA (Jodie Foster's Army), who may have borrowed it after a show in the mid 1980s. And the third awning has been with East Village resident Drew Bushong since 2004.

Now Bushong is selling the awning at an auction at Sotheby's on Dec. 10, where it could potentially fetch between $25,000 and $35,000.

I asked Bushong, a former CBGB employee, about the awning and how it came to live in a box under his bed... and why he's selling it now.

How did you come into possession of the awning?

Totally randomly. I was walking home from Mars Bar on a sweaty night in 2004 and saw a cardboard box that was very familiar. It had sat above my desk for a year. I heard later it was just waiting for postage stamps to get to Cleveland's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame but was tossed out with a bunch of other crap in a cleaning rage.

So I saw it sticking half out of the trash in front of the club, and just threw it over my shoulder. I didn't really lose my shit about it until the next day when I woke up in bed next to it, torn open with the awning peeking out of it. Was quite an exciting hangover.

How do you know that it’s the real deal?

There's no doubt it's real. In my research, it's one of only three awnings that hung there. It went up as a replacement after punk rockers JFA are rumored to have stolen the first one.

It's a bit of a mess with paint splotches over some tags and it stinks a bit. It's been under my bed mostly since I found it.

Why are you selling it?

I had a beautiful baby girl, Thorn, 3-and-a-half-weeks ago and could use the space and money in better ways now. Dad ways now. Life's pretty exciting.

How long did you work at CBGB?

I worked as a door guy/security starting in late 2000 and was just working a couple shifts a week here and there. I had been there a few months and was getting pretty good at it. One boring night I ended up stopping a fight from happening and got stabbed in the neck in the process. I held the knifer down, under this awning actually, and called [owner] Hilly [Kristal] before calling the cops. I guess I handled the fight pretty well as I was promoted to management pretty soon after.

I have to say it was the best job I'll ever have. Best crew of people and employees and some of the most exciting shows I'll ever see in my life. Really got to be a part of something real special by working there.

[The middle awning is the one up for auction on Dec. 10]

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Rock is Dead? at John Varvatos

EVG reader Cheap Trick took this photo outside the John Varvatos storefront at 315 Bowery this morning... per Cheap Trick: "The windows are boarded up. Is it closing?"

There's nothing on JV's social media accounts noting a closure... or any kind of special in-store concert event, as they've had in the past with their Bowery Live series... The Rock is Dead? signage suggests some kind of concert. (Iggy Pop-Josh Homme is the rumor.)

The storefront opened at the site of the former CBGB here in April 2008.

Updated 5:20 p.m.

Here's another look via EVG reader Margarita...

Updated 2/1

An EVG reader shared this invite for Wednesday evening...

Thursday, December 24, 2015

The CBGB restaurant is open at the Newark airport, though you won't be able to order the Marquee Moons Over My Hammy

The CBGB restaurant is now open at the Newark airport, as you can see.

Now what to eat there?

Imagine the possibilities via the folks at Lucky Peach, who have created a parody menu...

"All orders come with a Suicide salad." (We can dream!) Heh.

Here's the actual menu via @WFMU ...

Meanwhile! We're now in the Backlash to the Backlash Phase...

In response to headlines such as 'Birthplace of punk' CBGB to be reborn as airport theme restaurant, throwing human progress into doubt (Mashable) ... the Post has countered with Stop whining – Newark Airport is where CBGB belongs.


Even if the grand opening of CBGB in Newark were to feature a reunited Talking Heads playing, Richard Lloyd and Tom Verlaine working as busboys, while Debbie Harry waits tables and serves up Kristal’s original recipe chili, it still wouldn’t change the fact that CBGB is basically a brand that represents New York City to people who don’t live in New York City. That’s the way it’s been for years, and that’s why the idea of it being reborn as a restaurant in Newark fits perfectly.


Monday, December 21, 2015


In case you didn't already hear/see this everywhere earlier today... CBGB is opening as restaurant in the Newark Airport. (No one noted which terminal.)

Per Grub Street:

What exactly pre-flight dining has to do with the seminal punk institution is not clear, but it was previously reported that Harold Moore, the otherwise-celebrated New York chef had been recruited to handle food duties at this strange business. And a quick glance at the menu reveals that the people behind this outpost think wedge salads and turkey clubs served in a fun environment will make diners nostalgic for that time they saw Bad Brains rip up the stage for the first time.

And to some mostly negative reactions on Twitter...


Thursday, October 15, 2015

Revisiting 'Bettie Visits CBGB'

[Debbie Harry and Bettie Ringma]

Via the EVG inbox...

David Owen, the co-founder of London vintage booksellers IDEA Books Ltd, has chosen Marc H. Miller and Bettie Ringma's “Bettie Visits CBGB” as what he calls a “Superbook”: a rare work of exceptional cultural significance. Owen makes his point in an entertaining and evocative radio program just released by Radio Wolfgang.

A sound collage that mixes interviews with music, the program evokes the Bowery and the glory years of CBGB, using as its centerpiece this collection of 10 color snapshots in a handmade leatherette portfolio. The photographs in “Bettie Visits CBGB” show a young Dutch woman posing with Patti Smith, Blondie, the Ramones, Talking Heads, Richard Hell and other musicians ...

The program, produced by Olivia Humphreys, provides a human look at a remarkable five-year period of cultural history. Among those interviewed are Ringma and Miller, the creators of the portfolio; painter Curt Hoppe, their Bowery neighbor and collaborator; photographer Roberta Bayley, the doorwoman at CBGB; cartoonist John Holmstrom, the founder of Punk magazine; and Susan Springfield, the singer in the Erasers.

Miller, one of the creators of the portfolio, is founder of the website 98 Bowery and the related Gallery 98. To see pictures from the “Bettie Visits CBGB” series, click here. The radio program can be accessed on the website of Radio Wolfgang.

By the way, CBGB closed nine years ago today.

Previously on EV Grieve:
Q-and-A with Curt Hoppe: Living on the Bowery, finding inspiration and shooting Mr. Softee

Life at 98 Bowery: 1969-1989

Q-and-A with John Holmstrom, founding editor of Punk Magazine

John Holmstrom on the CBGB movie and the East Village of 2013

Thursday, September 3, 2015

A Joey Ramone-CBGB 40th anniversary mural for the Bowery

A new mural featuring Joey Ramone is going up today on Bleecker at the Bowery... across the way from the former CBGB... EVG reader Lola Sáenz says that the mural is by Solus and John CRASH Matos...

The mural is via The L.I.S.A. Project to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Ramones debuting at CBGB.

[Top photos by Lola Sáenz]

Here was the view around noon...

A photo posted by Solus (@solusstreetart) on