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You Heard It Here First

Mapping the city’s mid-seventies musical revolution.

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Between 1973 and 1977, every popular-music genre was reinvented in New York City. The rise of punk and New Wave, coalescing around CBGB, is a familiar story. But in those same years salsa became a mass phenomenon; a few Bronx kids figured out that a turntable was also a musical instrument; Philip Glass played to highbrow stoners in a Soho loft; a few blocks away, David Mancuso’s house parties birthed something called disco; and rock was reimagined by the likes of Springsteen and Patti Smith. It’s all laid out in Love Goes to Buildings on Fire (Faber and Faber, $30), a steeped-in-the-culture new history of those incredible few years by Will Hermes. Here’s a map to where it went down.

1.) 240 Mercer St.
Welfare hotel that housed the Mercer Arts Center, home base of the New York Dolls, Suicide, and other glammy, art-damaged bands until the building collapsed in ’73.

2.) Circle Line
Onboard, circa 1974, Pete DJ Jones and his assistant Joseph Saddler—the future Grandmaster Flash—presided over Thursday-night disco cruises. Party-peaker: the Hues Corporation’s hit “Rock the Boat.”

3.) 160 Bleecker St.
The Village Gate, site of the Monday-night “Salsa Meets Jazz” series, where you might’ve found Sonny Stitt jamming with Eddie Palmieri while David Byrne sat rapt, or heard members of the Fania All-Stars big band when they weren’t playing Madison Square Garden.

4.) 266 Bowery
Blondie central: Debbie Harry’s loft, where bandmate Gary Valentine smoked angel dust and saw Harry’s face turn into a skull. You could spot her ’67 Camaro out front, alternate-side permitting.

5.) 213 Park Ave. S.
Max’s Kansas City: preferred hang of Lou Reed, Andy Warhol, and others. Patti Smith opened for Phil Ochs, Bob Marley and the Wailers for Bruce Springsteen, etc.

6.) 55 Pierrepont St., Brooklyn Heights
Man’s Country: gay bathhouse where the New York Dolls played a show while tripping on MDMA.

7.) 275 Church St.
Home and main stage of Minimalist composer La Monte Young, whose loft “performances” lasted days, weeks, even years.

8.) 179th St. bet. Sedgwick and Cedar Aves., the Bronx
Site of early hip-hop jams staged by Kool DJ Herc, powered by extension cords jacked into the lampposts.

9.) 205 E. 86th St.
The Corso, nightclub that was to salsa what CBGB was to punk.

10.) 131 Prince St.
Artists House, Ornette Coleman’s storefront performance space/apartment.

11.) 152 Bleecker St.
The Gaslight, formerly Café au Go Go, site of Springsteen’s May 2, 1972, showcase for Columbia A&R man John Hammond that got him signed. Audience that night: eight (approx.).

12.) 315 Bowery
Hilly’s on the Bowery, dive bar that hosted free jazz (John Coltrane’s drummer Rashied Ali), transgender rock (Wayne County), and electro-noise performance art (Suicide). Later renamed CBGB.

13.) 647 Broadway
David Mancuso’s loft, known as “The Loft,” where house parties launched what came to be known as disco.

14.) 132 W. 22nd St.
The Gallery, arguably the first full-on disco, launched by future Studio 54 D.J. Nicky Siano.

15.) 84 King St.
The Paradise Garage, greatest incarnation of the inclusive spirit of Mancuso’s Loft and Siano’s Gallery, created just as Studio 54 flipped that idea to create a velvet-roped starfuck-fest.

16.) 10 Elizabeth St.
Loft and performance space of Philip Glass, where stoned listeners would lie on the floor.

17.) 195 Chrystie St.
Talking Heads’ first loft space. Rent: $250 per month.

18.) 140 E. 14th St.
First the Academy of Music, then the Palladium. The great midsize rock venue of the seventies, later repurposed as a mega-disco by Studio 54’s Steve Rubell. Site of legendary shows by the Stooges, Patti Smith, Springsteen. (At Julian’s Billiard Academy upstairs, you could brown-bag booze while shooting pool.)

19.) 24 Bond St.
Studio RivBea, center of loft jazz scene and home of multi-instrumentalist Sam Rivers; his wife, Bea; and his daughter, Monique, who sold tickets at the door.

20.) 77 Greene St.
Ali’s Alley, jazz club / recording studio run by Ali, who lived upstairs.

21.) 407 W. 43rd St.
The Sanctuary, notorious gay disco in former German Baptist church, featuring pioneering D.J. Francis Grasso.

22.) 47-03 Queens Blvd.
Originally the Popcorn Pub, then named Coventry, the glam-rock club beneath the 7 line where Joey Ramone’s early band, Sniper, played. A regular stop for the New York Dolls, the Dictators, and local boys Kiss, who had their first show there.

23.)   59 Wooster St.
The Kitchen, home to avant-gardists who couldn’t or wouldn’t fit anywhere else: Laurie Anderson, Rhys Chatham, Arthur Russell. Plus Robert Mapplethorpe, whose explicit rough-trade photos were first shown there in ’77.


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