I moved to NYC in the winter of 1992. Before making the move I spent a lot of time in the East Village seeing live music and occasionally puking in a few doorways (ok, one really, and never again). I mention this not to establish some lame sense of street cred but because it happened and because it afforded me a chance to see a lot of great bands in a lot of great venues that have unfortunately gone the way of the dinosaur.
One of these late great venues, and a personal favorite, was Coney Island High. Located at 15 St Marks Place it was home to D-Generation, The Spitters, Smirk, the Turbo ACs and a host of other bands some of whom are still around and some of whom have sadly lost key members to not-so glamorous but decidedly rock star ends and some of whom have simply gone on to form other bands and play other venues.
Coney Island High was huge. Not just in reputation but in actual stature. It had 3 or 4 floors (memory slightly fuzzy here, please refer to the occasionally puking in doorways remark for context). It was all black and red and had tattered red pleather dinette style chairs and cabaret tables. Floors you could dance on, decent sound system (despite Marky from the Spitters' attempts to rip it from its hinges), different style music and a weekly party called Behind the Green Door.
Places like Coney Island High were the reason I moved to NYC. I could actually see the bands I loved in a groovy, funky, more than slightly worn but oh-so-intimate setting instead of just listening to them on a local radio show at midnight on Fridays (yes, that happened). And now? Well, now Coney Island High is a noodle and sushi place in what has evolved into an area commonly referred to as Little Tokyo. See for yourself:
And here it is now...