Friday, July 08, 2011
This doesn't really fall under what I normally write about but I thought it was timely and I'm left wondering what it will mean. Streambank LLC, the same folks who bought up real estate and inventory from Tower Records when it went belly up in 2006, have just purchased the CBGB brand. This includes trademarks, domain names, recordings and artifacts from the club.
What this will mean, I have no clue, but watch this space...
Thursday, July 07, 2011
When I moved to the East Village the adage that applied to the lettered avenues still meant something; "A is awful. B is bad. C is crazy and D you're dead". I lived right around the corner from a place called the Gas Station, because, well, it had been an old gas station. Surrounded by a chain link fence that was stuffed with all manner of found objects, including an old corner/3-legged sofa riddled with cockroaches I had dumped from my 3rd St apartment, the Gas Station had become a hard-core punk bar that played host to a raft of notorious punk bands.
I had some difficulty digging up old images of the Gas Station. I don't own a scanner and am maybe too lazy to go to the trouble of scanning the old photos I have (I'll get around to it), but the Gas Station and its final days are intrinsically linked to the last day and night of GG Allin. The self-proclaimed Anti-Christ and front man of the Murder Junkies played his final show at the Gas Station. What happened next was evidence of a man in decline. He publicly snapped like a cheap lawn chair - running and rolling around the streets of the EV buck naked and covered in shit and blood. I dug up some video footage of GG frolicking in his altogether. It's tough to watch, for a number of reasons, but perhaps mostly so because it's common knowledge that just hours later he OD'ed in his brother's apartment on 9th St.
The Gas Station was razed and a doorman building with a Duane Reade erected in its place. Proving that old punks can never go home again but they can certainly shop there.
CORRECTION: A faithful reader - Johnny Puke, sent a correction to this post. GG actually died in a friend's apartment on Avenue B. The New York Post at the time of Allin's death actually published that he had died at his brother's apartment on 9th Street. All of these were inaccurate. Allin's brother lived on Mulberry Street in '93 not on 9th St.
The Former Gas Station
Thursday, June 16, 2011
It's been a while since I've posted anything. It's not for lack of fodder - plenty of good spots closing, a raft of young'uns infiltrating the neighborhood and bringing with them the convenience of super stores and doorman high-rises. It's sheer laziness or depression over the continued systematic denudification of any kind of character or cool this City once possessed. It seems like uniqueness is frowned upon these days or it's at least not financed. Or maybe I'm just a grumpy old fucker.
The Mars Bar in NYC is the latest casualty in the City's personality crisis. The building is being razed, and while an offer was made to them for a larger space in a different building, Mars Bar declined. Part of Mars Bar's "charm" was its cramped-ness. A narrow opening between the front door and the bar. A sparse number of seats and an old jukebox that took up more than its fair share of room. The last time I went there, and trust me, this was never a place I went alone, no matter how much of a bad ass I think I am, Mars Bar was the only bar I actively feared entering by myself - The Stooges' "I Wanna Be Your Dog" was blaring, a set of twenty-somethings drunk and banging their fists on the bar, the scattered patrons covered in tats and cigarette stains and for a moment I felt happy. Happy that this was a place where time had stopped and maybe the City, if just for a few more days, still had some guts. Despite my lack of skin ink and piercings, I felt at home.
Vive le Mars Bar!