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‘This Is My Living Room’: After 110 Years, De Robertis Caffé Will Close Dec. 5

Robert and customer (Photos: Frank Mastropolo)

John De Robertis and customer (Photos: Frank Mastropolo)

There’s only a limited time left to experience an era when people came to coffee shops to talk rather than stare at a computer screen. De Robertis Caffé is scheduled to close for good on Dec. 5, Bedford + Bowery has learned.
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Fillmore East Plaque Unveiled at Site of ‘Church of Rock ‘n’ Roll’

Andrew Berman and Phil Hartman of Two Boots unveil the plaque.

Andrew Berman and Phil Hartman of Two Boots unveil the plaque. (Photos: Frank Mastropolo)

More than four decades after its closing, a commemorative plaque was unveiled last night at the site of the Fillmore East, the legendary East Village concert hall at 105 Second Avenue that presented the biggest stars of the music world from 1968 to 1971. A light rain couldn’t dampen the enthusiasm of the crowd that packed the sidewalk in front of what is now an Apple Bank branch.
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‘It Was a Joint’: Jazz Musicians Remember Slugs’ in the Far East

Albert Ayler outside of Slugs.

Albert Ayler outside of Slugs.

Slugs’ Saloon opened its doors in 1964, a neighborhood bar owned by Robert Schoenholt, who died in 2012, and Jerry Schultz. By early 1965, many musicians who lived in the neighborhood convinced the owners to feature live jazz. The club rivaled the Five Spot Café as one of the top jazz spots in the East Village.

Despite its implication, Slugs’ took its name from the book All and Everything by mystic George Gurdjieff, who referred to three-brained humans as “slugs.” New York law in the ‘60s prohibited the name “saloon,” so the club re-branded itself – keeping the apostrophe – as “Slugs’ in the Far East.”
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‘Tommy Was the Ramones’: Friends and Colleagues Remember Tommy Ramone

Tommy Ramone at The Roundhouse in London on 4th July 1976. (Photo by Gus Stewart/Redferns)

Tommy Ramone at The Roundhouse in London on 4th July 1976. (Photo by Gus Stewart/Redferns)

Despite their impact, the Ramones struggled for commercial success. Their debut album, Ramones, has been called the most influential punk record, but it was only this past June – 38 years after its release – that the LP went gold.
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Remembering Café Le Metro: ‘We Were the Resistance to John Q Average American’

(Photo: Fred W. McDarrah)

Author-musician Ed Sanders (center, with his feet on a chair) and poet Ted Berrigan (left, with hand on chin) and Paul Blackburn (right, with mustache and glasses) at Cafe Le Metro, October of 1964. (Photo: Fred W. McDarrah/Getty Images)

In 1963 Newsday reported on artists who had abandoned Greenwich Village for the Lower East Side, “New York’s newest bargain-basement bohemia”: “Poets aren’t lacking on the Lower East Side. Cynthia and Moe Margules, who operate Le Metro, a coffeehouse on Second Avenue, have found that poets are regular, if not heavy-spending customers. Once or twice a week the poets drop by in force to read to each other.”
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‘We’d Found This Cave Out of Time’: A Look Back at Glam Rock’s Club 82

(Photos: Aileen Polk)

(Photos: Eileen Polk)

When Judy Garland, Kirk Douglas, Liz Taylor and the glitterati of the ‘50s wanted to walk on the wild side, they headed to the East Village’s Club 82, “New York’s After-Dark Rendezvous.” The notoriety of the basement club, at 82 East Fourth Street, came from its elaborate stage shows performed by 35 female impersonators. Strippers, dancers, comedians and singers, all men in drag, staged three shows nightly, seven days a week well into the ‘60s, when the novelty wore off and the club’s popularity faded.
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The East Village Jazz Scene Remembers Amiri Baraka

Amiri Baraka reads the words to songs by Curtis Mayfield as William Parker and Leena Conquest perform Parker's "Inside Songs of Curtis Mayfield" on the final evening of Vision Festival XIII at Clemente Soto Velez Cultural Center in 2008. (Photo by Jack Vartoogian/Getty Images)

Amiri Baraka reads the words to songs by Curtis Mayfield as William Parker and Leena Conquest perform Parker’s “Inside Songs of Curtis Mayfield” on the final evening of Vision Festival at Clemente Soto Velez Cultural Center in 2008. (Photo by Jack Vartoogian/Getty Images)

In the 1950s, before LeRoi Jones would change his name to Amiri Baraka, the poet soaked up the sounds of jazz in bars throughout the East Village. Clubs like the Five Spot Café, where Jones was a regular patron, featured jazz legends like John Coltrane, Thelonious Monk and Charles Mingus. Their performances helped inspire Jones to write Blues People, the 1963 groundbreaking study of African-American music.

To further honor LeRoi’s time in the East Village, we spoke to three members of the era’s jazz scene.
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‘Definitely a New York Hang’: Jazz Musicians Remember the Five Spot Café

Until we return to our usual schedule Jan. 3, enjoy this daily series of longer pieces in which we unravel the mysteries and the histories of storied addresses.
frontpicUrban renewal plans are nothing new to the Bowery. In 1955, New York dismantled the Third Avenue El, the elevated train that ran overhead, in an effort to bring light and air to the sordid strip of dives and flophouses. The cleanup campaign inspired brothers Joe and Iggy Termini to transform their No. 5 Bar, named after its Five Cooper Square address, into a place that would welcome the artists, writers and dancers moving into the neighborhood.
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Was Banksy Inspired By This East Village Nudist Who Ran For President?

AbolafiaposterLouis Abolafia’s campaign poster featured the East Villager almost completely nude, asking, “What have I got to hide?”

Abolafia died 18 years ago today. But in May 1967, he was kicking off his run for the presidency at the Cosmic Love Convention at the Village Theater, where he said, “We should be a country of giving and giving and giving. The way we’re going now, we’re all wrong. We could be giants; we should be 10 times above what the Renaissance was.”
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‘He Treads Kind of Softly’: Two Musicians Remember Working With Lou Reed

Genya Ravan with Lou Reed at Bottom Line. (Photo: Chuck Pulin)

Genya Ravan with Lou Reed at Bottom Line. (Photo: Chuck Pulin)

The leather jacket and moody persona were only a part of the puzzle that was Lou Reed. Musicians like Steve Katz of Blood Sweat & Tears and Genya Ravan of Ten Wheel Drive remember him as a friend with a wicked sense of humor and a gracious heart. Katz was the producer of Reed’s live album Rock ‘n’ Roll Animal and the rocker’s highest-charting LP, Sally Can’t Dance. Reed rarely performed on other artists’ albums, but he agreed to join Genya Ravan on “Aye Co’lorado”; Reed would later invite Ravan to sing on his “Street Hassle.

Bedford + Bowery today asked Katz and Ravan to share their memories of Lou Reed.
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A Look Back at the Electric Circus, the Greatest Show on St. Marks Place

ElectricCircus6Few nightclubs exemplified the excesses of the drug-fueled ‘60s like the Electric Circus. Trapeze artists, mimes and jugglers illuminated by pulsating strobe and black lights created a psychedelic atmosphere; predictably, the Circus became the club of choice to smoke pot and drop acid. But the Electric Circus also presented a powerhouse array of rock bands, many of who would become superstars: Sly and the Family Stone, Dr. John, Deep Purple and the Allman Brothers Band all played the Circus early in their careers.
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Sid Bernstein, Who Brought The Stones to the East Village, Has Died

(Photo: the private collections of Jason Knox and Harold C. Black)

Promoter Sid Bernstein will long be known as the man who brought the Beatles to America for their 1965 concert at Shea Stadium. But Bernstein, who died last Wednesday at age 95, also presented British Invasion groups like the Kinks and the Moody Blues at the Academy of Music, an aging East Village movie theater on East 14th Street at Third Avenue.
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