New York Has One Less Fat Black Pussycat

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The sign before the paint job.
The sign before the paint job. Photo: Simon Clayson via Creative Commons

The faded black and white sign for the Fat Black Pussycat Theatre hung over Minetta Street since the sixties, even though the performance space shuttered in the seventies when Panchito's Mexican Restaurant moved in. Itself now a Greenwich Village institution, Panchito's finally had the theater's sign painted over by a long red band last week. Andrew Berman, the executive director of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation (and go-to angry neighbor for journalists) told the AP the paint job was "a shame." The Fat Black Pussycat claimed Bill Cosby, Richie Havens, and Tiny Tim among its alumni, and some say Bob Dylan wrote "Blowin' in the Wind" there in 1962. "It's a tangible link to this incredibly important era in the neighborhood's history, when so many great musicians and poets and artists used the South Village as a springboard to transform the world," Berman griped. Panchito's was unimpressed. "The preservation advocates, from those I've met, were never in the Fat Black Pussycat, as I was," said owner Bob Engelhardt, who argues that change is the heart of the Village. "It was a cesspool."

Vestige of 1960s Greenwich Village painted over [AP]