Iconic NYC Music Venues, Then And Now

They replaced CBGB with a luxury menswear shop, and The Palladium was turned into an NYU dorm.

1. Max’s Kansas City (213 Park Ave. S)

 

The original Max’s Kansas City was a popular hangout for a wide range of artists and writers in the late ’60s — Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Richard Serra, Phillip Glass, William S. Burroughs, and Allen Ginsburg, just to name a few — and was the epicenter of early ’70s glam rock scene, with Lou Reed, David Bowie, and Iggy Pop as bar regulars. The classic version of The Velvet Underground played some of their last shows there, and the venue hosted early New York gigs by Patti Smith, Aerosmith, and Bruce Springsteen. The original Max’s closed in 1974, and these days the space is occupied by Bread & Butter, where you can get a panini or something.

2. CBGB (315 Bowery)

 

The original CBGB on 315 Bowery closed in October 2006, but it remains the world’s most iconic punk rock venue. The place is so legendary that its famously filthy toilets were recreated for a punk art exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, but these days the building is the home of a retail outlet for menswear designer John Varvatos. The store integrated a lot of the site’s original graffiti and posters, so it hasn’t completely wiped out the space’s history.

3. Fillmore East (105 Second Ave.)

 

The Fillmore East was New York’s hottest venue in the late ’60s, with bills featuring a who’s who of classic rock superstars: Jimi Hendrix, Jefferson Airplane, Led Zeppelin, Crosby Stills and Nash, The Allman Brothers Band, Pink Floyd, The Grateful Dead, Frank Zappa, King Crimson, John Lennon, Derek and the Dominos, Flying Burrito Brothers, and Van Morrison. The venue closed in 1971, and the building on 105 Second Ave. is currently occupied by Apple Bank for Savings. As you can see, the Fillmore’s history is commemorated with a mosaic on a traffic light pole on the corner.

4. Electric Circus (19-25 St. Mark’s Place)

 

The Electric Circus was an experimental psychedelic nightclub that was open from 1967–1971, and featured performances by bands such as The Velvet Underground, Sly and the Family Stone, and The Grateful Dead, along with shows by jugglers, gymnasts, and performance artists. The space pioneered a lot of lighting and projection effects, and hosted early electronic music performances by Terry Riley and Morton Subotnick. The building was remodeled in 2003, and is now home to a handful of stores including the St. Mark’s Market, a Supercuts, and a Chipotle.

5. Coney Island High (15 St. Mark’s Place)

 

Coney Island High, located on 15 St. Mark’s Place in Manhattan, was the most popular punk venue in New York through much of the ’90s. The venue was demolished in the early ’00s and replaced with a condo building, and now there’s a sushi restaurant on the ground floor.

6. Danceteria (30 West 21st St.)

 

The most famous version of Danceteria, one of the most iconic New York night clubs of the ’80s, was located at 30 West 21st St. The club was basically ground zero for Madonna’s career in the early ’80s, and its regulars included Jean-Michel Basquiat, Keith Haring, LL Cool J, Cyndi Lauper, Sonic Youth, Run-DMC, The B-52s, Billy Idol, Duran Duran, and New Order. Now the space is occupied by a showroom for high-end granite and marble products.

7. Paradise Garage (84 King St.)

 

The Paradise Garage is one of the most famous and influential dance clubs of all time, and was an epicenter for LGBT culture in the late ’70s and early ’80s, and the home base of legendary DJ Larry Levan. The venue’s DJs’ impact on dance music is still being felt today, but now the actual space on 84 King Street is just a parking facility owned by Verizon.

8. Studio 54 (254 West 54th St.)

 

Studio 54 is arguably the most famous nightclub in history, and the most influential club in the disco movement of the late ’70s. The original club closed in 1981, and now it’s kinda surprising that this building — which has studio space for the Roundabout Theatre Company and a restaurant called 54 Below — was once home to an impossibly glamorous dance club.

9. Wetlands Preserve (161 Hudson Street)

 

Wetlands was a socially conscious nightclub that supported environmental activism and hosted early gigs by Phish, Dave Matthews Band, Blues Traveler, Hootie and the Blowfish, Spin Doctors, and Pearl Jam. The venue shut down in 2001, and is now a showroom for Duxiana, a company that makes luxury beds.

10. The Knitting Factory (74 Leonard St.)

 

The second version of The Knitting Factory was located on 74 Leonard St. from 1994 through 2009, and hosted gigs by a wide range of indie and experimental artists. The club moved to Williamsburg, Brooklyn, in 2009, and the old space is currently vacant.

11. The Limelight (47 West 20th St.)

 

The Limelight was a nightclub that was an epicenter for “club kid” culture in the ’90s, and a rock venue that hosted a lot of industrial and post-punk bands like Foetus, Gang of Four, Cop Shoot Cop, and New Model Army. The building, which was a converted church, looks more or less the same today, but it is now Limelight Shops, a mall for designer apparel.

12. Bond International Casino (1530 Broadway)

 

Bond’s Casino was a nightclub and venue in Times Square that famously hosted a residency of 17 concerts by The Clash in 1981 that has been extensively bootlegged over the years. The space is now occupied by a Swatch store and the Bond 45 steakhouse.

13. The Palladium (126 East 14th St.)

 

The Palladium on 126 East 14th St. was both a cavernous dance club — early episodes of Club MTV were shot there — and a venue that hosted gigs by The Clash, The Rolling Stones, Devo, Public Image Ltd, 2 Live Crew, and Fugazi. The historic venue was eventually purchased by New York University, and is now an enormous dorm for NYU students. It’s still called The Palladium, though.

14. The Ritz (125 East 11th St.)

 

The Ritz on 125 East 11th St. was the premier rock club in New York in the ’80s, and it hosted gigs by pretty much every hot act from the era, from Sonic Youth and Public Enemy to early shows by Soundgarden, Ministry, and Guns N’ Roses. The club moved uptown to West 54th in the early ’90s, and the space is currently occupied by the dance club and rock venue Webster Hall.

15. The Academy (234 West 43rd St.)

 

The Academy was a fancy concert hall that hosted mid-’90s gigs by Sonic Youth, The Smashing Pumpkins, Pavement, Marilyn Manson, and Blur. The venue was shut down in 1996 and is now part of the Foxwoods Theater, home of Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark.

16. The Bottom Line (15 West 4th St.)

 

The Bottom Line was a fixture of Greenwich Village nightlife from 1974 on through 2004, and featured performances by Bruce Springsteen, Prince, Hall & Oates, Laura Nyro, Neil Young, Dolly Parton, The Ramones, Miles Davis, Tom Waits, Patti Smith, The Violent Femmes, The Police, Linda Rondstadt, Todd Rundgren, and many others. The venue shut down nearly a decade ago after the building’s owner, New York University, raised rent, and now the building has NYU classrooms.

17. Mudd Club (77 White St.)

 

The Mudd Club, which was located on 77 White St. from 1978 through 1983, was a crucial spot in the early days of New York punk. The venue was the epicenter of the no wave and new wave scenes, and was frequented by Nico, The B-52’s, Black Flag, Jean-Michel Basquait, Keith Haring, Madonna, and David Byrne, who immortalized the club in the Talking Heads hit “Life During Wartime.” The building is now a residential space but has a plaque outside commemorating the glory days of the club.

18. Brownies (169 Avenue A)

 

Brownies at 169 Avenue A was a hot spot during the “new rock revival” of the early 2000s, and hosted early gigs by The Strokes, Interpol, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and Liars before shutting down in 2002. The space is now occupied by Hi-Fi Bar, which happens to have one of the best and most elaborate custom jukebox systems in the world.

19. Southpaw (125 Fifth Ave. in Brooklyn)

 

Southpaw was a Park Slope, Brooklyn, venue that hosted a wide range of bands — from Cat Power and TV on the Radio to Electric Six and Sharon Jones – through much of the 2000s. The venue shut down in 2012 and has since been turned into a NY Kids Club.

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