By Moving Into CBGB, Varvatos Saved the Bowery From a BankMuch to the chagrin of many a hipster, blogger, and grizzled ol’ punk, John Varvatos just opened a new store in CBGB’s old home, and he doesn’t really seem to be going anywhere. But maybe everyone should hold off the Haterade for a second.
show & tell
Video Store Tour: Inside John VarvatosMenswear designer John Varvatos describes his new store at 315 Bowery as a “cultural space” a generous term for what was once the dirtiest, punkest club in the East Village.
Where Lou Reed Peed: Remembering the CBGB Toilet
At the end of today’s Times feature on the “punk house” — those big, cavernous sticker-encrusted warehouses, in which punks from Brooklyn to Nebraska hold shows and bake and digest soy casseroles — is a small but touching paean to an underappreciated facet of now-defunct club CBGB: The toilet. “The be-stickered, be-fliered and graffiti-emblazoned black hole” was a modern icon, the Times says, and none other than Sonic Youth’s Thurston Moore agreed. “That’s the one thing that sears itself into your memory,” he told the paper. “It’s that toilet.” Shudder. Something tells us the contractors working on the John Varvatos store would agree.
Anarchy Rules, the Dishes Stay Dirty [NYT]
Chodorow’s Got Big, Big Plans; Aaron Sanchez Has an EnemyJeffrey Chodorow is devising a new megarestaurant for a 15,000-square-foot double-decker space in the Empire Hotel at Broadway and 63rd Street. In other news, Frank Bruni has already given it zero stars. [NYP]
Our pal Aaron Sanchez barely avoided being cut on the Next Iron Chef since according to Bourdain, Alton “Knowlton seems not to have disclosed a prior schoolyard incident with a young Aaron ‘El Guapo’ Sanchez — in which Sanchez (it would appear) bullied him mercilessly. He seemed unnaturally eager to send him packing.” [Ruhlman]
Williamsburg’s Hasidic community has its own street-food truck, but you too can buy the kosher grub. [Eat for Victory/VV]
Rupert Murdoch Wins the PartyMEDIA
• News Corp. surpassed Time Warner to become the largest media company on the planet, and Murdoch held off a shareholder revolt in order to keep his family tyranny in place. [Hollywood Reporter, USAT]
• ESPN poached marquee columnist Rick Reilly from Sports Illustrated after 22 years with the mag. Dan Patrick, who SI just poached from ESPN, will take Reilly’s place at the back of the book. [NYT, Deadspin]
• Stephen Colbert took his campaign to the Tim Russert show: “This is not a dream, you are not going to wake up from this. I am far realer than Sam Brownback.” [NYT]
Old Punks Mourn Hilly Kristal, CBGB, Punk
It’s hard to believe that the world’s most renowned rock club was started by someone who didn’t care for rock. But that was one of the things we learned at Hilly Kristal’s memorial service at the Bowery Ballroom last night, where Old Guarders like Patti Smith, Joan Jett, and Tommy Ramone remembered Kristal’s quirks: his lumberjack attire, his penchant for bluegrass and brandy-Frescas, and his distaste for loud music. “He was a unique person who appreciated unique talent and innovative acts,” said Ramone. “He knew which performers had something to offer.”
Hilly Kristal’s Last Interview
Hilly Kristal went to the emergency room at New York-Presbyterian last month with a cancer complication. The CBGB founder was admitted to the hospital, and the next morning he spoke to New York contributor Arianne Cohen from his hospital bed. Kristal’s long, rambling, reflective discourse may have been his last interview:
I was always in very good health. And I think anybody looks forward to living forever. Unfortunately, I found out I have cancer. So, some of the things I looked forward to, some of the adventurous things, I can’t do. I can’t climb Mt. Everest no matter how much time I have. I can’t walk the Rockies. There are a lot of things I can’t do because I’m not physically able. Unfortunately that’s how it is. I’m 75; when I was 73, I was in wonderful health. But I think I’ll be all right. I’m trying to read a lot more. It doesn’t take that much energy to read.
RIP Hilly Kristal
Hilly Kristal, like his legendary East Village rock club, CBGB, is dead; he succumbed to lung cancer this morning at the age of 75. But, thanks to the magic of recordings and photos and video and especially YouTube, Kristal, like CBGB, will live on. Our colleagues at Vulture dug up a YouTube clip of the Ramones at CBGB in 1977, and they present it as a tribute to Kristal, his club, and the bands he nurtured in its heyday. Take a look.
CBGB Founder Hilly Kristal Dies at 75 [Vulture]
Hilly Kristal, Founder of CBGB, Is Dead [NYT]
CBGB Founder Hilly Kristal Dies at 75His legendary venue helped launch the careers of punk luminaries like Ramones, Blondie, Television, and Talking Heads, though in later years it became just as famous for the unsanitary conditions of its bathrooms.
East Village Face-off as CBGB Tells DBGB to Cease and DesistClinton Hill: Il Torchio, an enoteca and Italian tapas joint at 458 Myrtle Avenue, is under construction; the exposed-brick interior and outdoor space look promising. [Clinton Hill Blog]
East Village: CBGB, DBGB: We get it. [Eater]
Greenwich Village: Grey Dog Coffee’s University Place location opens Thursday. Hours: 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. [Eater]
Nolita: Vig Bar’s temporary close had something to do with a change of management and a lot to do with the State Liquor Authority, but it’ll be back serving downtown bankers by Thursday. [Down by the Hipster]
Park Slope: FreshDirect messed with the wrong groups when it temporarily, and possibly accidentally, raised its delivery minimum from $50 to $100. [Gowanus Lounge]
West Village: From 4 p.m. until close tomorrow, the Blind Tiger will feature Christmas-themed beer from England’s Ridgeway Brewery including Very Bad Elf, Seriously Bad Elf, and another favorite, Santa’s Butt, all for no apparent reason. [Blog Chelsea] Maremma is cooking up purebred Chianina steaks starting this Thursday evening for one week only. [Grub Street]
Chumley’s Will Be Back to Its Old Tricks in the West VillageCobble Hill: Employees at the Key Foods deli counter apparently don’t give a damn if you want your Sausalito turkey sliced thin, or they don’t know how to recalibrate the machine. [Clean Plate Club via Brooklyn Record]
East Village: Sex in the bathroom of Angels & Kings predicted to be less “grotty” than it was at CBGB’s, further lessening the spot’s rocker cred. [Gawker]
Midtown West: The Japanese chain Go-Go Curry, which translates 5-5 Curry, will open at 273 West 38th Street on May 5, unless straining to create quirks that involve the number five delay opening. [NYS]
Soho: Wash your hands and more next to your date in the FR.OG restrooms. [Restaurant Girl]
Tribeca: A divorce is behind the name change of Sosa Borella to Estancia 460. [NYT]
West Village: A former Bungalow 8 bouncer will open a Cuban social club in the former Salon space (with help from Giuseppe Cipriani) that’s supposed have a neighborhood feel. [Eater] Chumley’s plans to reopen June 1, after a partial wall collapse threatened to shutter the historical watering hole permanently. [NYT]
Williamsburg: Bling Kong bandmates Liz “Shredder” Schroeter and Scott “Steakbomb” Gold will demonstrate their recipes featured in the rock-star cookbook at the Brooklyn Kitchen tonight. [Brooklyn Record]
the morning line
Sprung From Cages on Highway 9
• New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine apologized from a wheelchair for the careless driving that led to his crash. Then he rode home from the hospital, fifteen miles over the speed limit. [NYP]
• In the meantime, perennial bridesmaid Richard Codey is easing into his third acting-governor gig in six years — this time, unlike during the McGreevey denouement, without a personal staff and with an elected leader watching over him. [NYT]
• Owner Hilly Kristal is having second thoughts about the CBGB-in-Vegas thing, turning down investor after investor because “the focus has to be on new acts, new interesting things.” We could certainly use that thinking for, let’s see, the last fifteen years of the original CB’s. [MetroNY]
• After losing two men in a week to freak train accidents, MTA has decided to halt all track work pending a safety review. Workers say that a lack of two-way radios may be to blame. [amNY]
• And “as a thank-you to our readers,” the Daily News costs 25 cents this week — starting, that is, the exact same day the Post began charging 50 cents again. The extreme-skinflint demographic is theirs! Temporarily! [NYDN]
Your Chance to See a CBGB Wall! (But Why?)
Shattered by the ignominy that CBGB, having closed on the Bowery, will next year reopen in — of all places! — Las Vegas? We’ve got bad news for you, then: It gets much worse. We received this press release today:
Sent: Wednesday, April 04, 2007 11:39 AM
Subject: First Rock & Roll Theme Park to Obtain CBGB Wall
Hard Rock Park, the world’s first rock ‘n’ roll amusement park, is hitting the road, embarking on a six city tour designed to spread news of Myrtle Beach’s newest attraction .
New York’s Hard Rock Café will be donating one of the most definitive classic pieces’ of New York City: A CBGB’s wall section that was removed from the venue after it closed in 2006.
Yeah, that’s right. For now, the only part of CBGB you can see is a wall, and the only way to see it is as a part of traveling amusement park headed for Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. We’d be indignant, except for one thing: We remember those walls, and we can’t imagine paying real money to go see ‘em.
Myrtle Beach Park [hrpusa.com]
Patti Smith, Immaculate Young Punks, Respectful Cops Say Good-bye to CBGB
Last night hundreds of would-be farewellers packed the Bowery in the hopes of attending the Patti Smith gig that, after all that, would be the Last Show Ever at CBGB. News vans dotted the block. The line stretched around the corner. Suspiciously immaculate — and, naturally, ticket-free — young punks protested their situation loudly at the door.
the morning line
Forget It, Jake
• Chinatown business owners are beefing with Hollywood crews that have flooded the neighborhood, with 25 film permits issued over the last twelve months. City Hall says it’s the neighborhood’s fault for being so damn photogenic. [amNY]
• In one of the strangest street attacks in recent memory, a pedestrian was stabbed by a passing bicyclist last night on West End and 63rd. The assault appears completely random. Perhaps citywide bike lanes are a good idea after all. [NYDN]
• Local news predicts an unrelieved Manhattan Bridge traffic nightmare for the next year while the lower level is closed for a spruce-up. Daily Intel’s AccuChopper 20,000 predicts the same nightmare for the twenty years following the Atlantic Yards groundbreaking. [WNBC]
• Mets tie series, prompt the following tortured sports-pun headline of the day: NOW BATS MORE LIKE IT. [NYP, natch]
• Finally, some club called Country Bluegrass Blues and Other Music for Uplifting Gormandizers went out of business — with a name like that, what could be
the problem? — hopefully stemming the steady flow of elegiac human-interest features. [VV, NYT]
The New York Diet
The Punk-Rock Diet
Handsome Dick Manitoba, lead singer of New York proto-punk greats the Dictators, helped launch the CBGB scene in the mid-seventies; Saturday night, when his band plays the club’s next-to-last show, he’ll be marking the end of an era. Unlike many of their punk-rock peers, who were more into drugs than food, the Dictators were “gourmandizers” (according to CB’s founder Hilly Kristal, at least). Handsome Dick Manitoba shared some memories of the punk-era East Village eats scene (and outer-borough fast-food scene), plus where he chows now that he’s got a “lot of money.”