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72 Hours of New Year’s Parties, 5 of Them at Venues Now Gone For Good

New Year’s Eve was the day the music died for venues Hank’s Saloon in Boerum Hill, Continental Bar in the East Village, Cornelia Street Cafe in the West Village and nightclubs Cielo in the meatpacking district and Output in Williamsburg.

Between them, almost every genre of sound was represented including punk, hardcore, country, jazz, classical, house, techno and lots of spoken word. Though Continental Bar hasn’t hosted live music in years, I still felt it there from when I hung out starting in the ’90s (the stage was taken out in 2006). Though it got tough reviews when it switched to focusing on shot specials, I’ll always remember it as the free-for all punk clubhouse that hosted Murphy’s Law Halloween for years.

Hank’s Saloon kept up that tradition in Brooklyn as it became one of the few hard-rock stages in the borough following the closures of Grand Victory, AcheronDon Pedro’s, and Bar Matchless. They also shuttered last Saturday ahead of the building’s demolition, but thankfully for music fans owner Julie Ipcar plans to re-open this month above Hill Country’s new food court nearby, with bigger capacity and new sound system.

Though it is a literary as well as musical landmark, words can almost not describe the loss of Cornelia Street Cafe after 40 years in the Village. When I spent time with owner Robin Hirsch for the Cafe’s 40th Anniversary last year, he summed up the words spoken there as “the Greenwich Village coffeehouse conversation” in a place he described as “America’s bohemia.” Hirsch’s friend and legendary jazz composer David Amram played the venue’s final New Year’s Eve concert ahead of its closure the next day. When Amram, along with his band, raised his glass at midnight he said, “This is not a farewell but a celebration of Cornelia Street Cafe In Exile’s birthday and to the next 41 years of its life.” He then struck up a song starting with that line and the spirit in his 88-year-old voice soothed the audience members as they measured what they would lose the next day without the cafe.

Cielo and Output both went out with bangs as the house and techno beats kept their uber-hip crowds dancing well into New Year’s Day. Cielo was launched 15 years ago by DJ Nicolas Matar, who then followed up with Output in 2012. It became NYC’s “absolute best” nightclub. I was able to photograph the staffs of both and after talking with them, many of whom had worked for the full tenures of the clubs, I discovered that they genuinely loved their jobs and how the work families formed there were their biggest losses next the venues themselves.

Taken in the context of the rest of the night’s major parties– including JunXion’s New Dawn at Brooklyn Bazaar and Bang On!’s Time & Space at Knockdown Center– these portraits show the loss of these venues in real time as the rest of the parties raged on around them. My 72-hour New Year’s journey can possibly be summed up from my 3am drive from Cornelia’s emotional concert in the Village to two house parties in South Brooklyn. Going from a room full of tearful seniors citizens in the classic New York bohemia to the beer-soaked youth in a culturally expanding outer-borough that’s not focused on the past gave me pause. As much as I wanted to blast my memories towards the new “cool” kids, I held back, hoping that these old acquaintances would come towards these young minds naturally, just as they did mine.

6pm at The Lot Radio pop-up, Times Square

DJ Eli Escobar (left) with staff during the final sets of its Times Square residency:

8:30pm at Output, Williamsburg

VIP door manager Rene Harriman (top, third from left) with his fellow staff before opening up for the venue’s final night:

First attendees on line to see John Digweed’s NYE show on Output’s final night:

9pm at Continental Bar, East Village

Patrons having their final shots before NYE:

9pm at Coco 66, Greenpoint

Bartenders Jodi and Nicky (first and second from right) as they served pre-gamers:

9:30pm in Greenpoint

Brooklyn Wildlife’s Chris Carr with Gamba Forests’s Melissa Hunter Gurney (middle row, third and fourth from right) during their New Years Eve showcase:

9:30pm at Cielo, Meatpacking District

Manager David Mitchell with his staff before their final Saturday shift ahead of their NYE closure:

10pm at Easy Lover, Williamsburg

Co-owner Aaron Koen (center) with his DJs as he started up his NYE karaoke party:

10:45pm at Con Artist Collective, Lower East Side

Artist Wizard Skull (bottom right) with his fellow partiers:

3am in Prospect Lefferts Gardens

Chris and Melissa Detres’ lingerie and pajama slumber party at their home:

4am at Hank’s Saloon, Boerum Hill

Owner Julie Ipcar (lower photo, center) with patrons during her bar’s final last call:

4am at Brooklyn Lodge, Kensington

Doormen Tevin and Taylor Baily beside the venue’s VIP room with organizers Alex Neuhausen and Robin French (back, second and fourth from left):

Attendees of the New Year’s Masquerade:

5am at Knockdown Center, Maspeth

Attendees of Bang On!’s Time+Space NYE pary .

6am at Brooklyn Bazaar, Greenpoint

Partiers at the conclusion of JunXion’s New Dawn NYE party:

At 6am, the Orijins crew closing out JunXion’s New Dawn NYE party:

At 6:30am, founder Myk Tummolo (right pic) alongside artist Michelle Joni (left pic) and his crew (center) as they boarded their bus:

6:45am in Bushwick

After-partiers Rhiannon Catalyst, Dave Gelles and Miller Pyke as they walked through the neighborhood:

8am in Williamsburg

(L to R) Aleks Craine, Mike Trotter and Penny Lane alongside their partiers at the conclusion of Eris Evolution’s, SOUP NYC and G House NYC’s Metropolis Ball in Williamsburg:

12pm at Cornelia Street Cafe, West Village

Owner Robin Hirsch (center) with jazz legend David Amram’s band and family toasting the eve of the restaurant’s closing day:

12:30pm at The Lot Radio, Greenpoint

Soul Clap’s Eli Goldstein and The Lot Radio’s Tara Wight (l and r) as they reopened the station’s Greenpoint home after its Times Square residency:

3:30pm at House of Yes, East Williamsburg

DJ Penny Lane (top pic, second left) finishing her second New Year’s set in Bubble and Bass’s Onyx Room alongside partiers including Emily Plaskett’s pooch Meatball (right pic, center).

The conclusion of Bubble and Bass’s Seize the Day 2019 party at House of Yes:

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Performance Picks: Three Theater Festivals and Quit-Happy Comedy

A scene from Chambre Noire, running January 10-13 at The Public Theater as part of The Public’s 15th Annual Under the Radar Festival. Photo Credit: Benoit Schupp

Under the Radar Festival
Now through January 13 at The Public Theater (some shows at offsite venues), various times: $30

Yesterday marked the start of the Public Theater’s Under the Radar Festival, which showcases new performance from around the globe and is now in its impressive 15th year. While most of the shows take place at The Public, some are staged elsewhere, from Chelsea’s SVA Theater to The Met. Festival loyalists may recognize some familiar names—Peter Mills Weiss and Julia Mounsey’s [50/50] old school animation, a monologue-based work about violence that’s hard to adequately describe, also appeared as part of UTR’s smaller fest-within-a-fest last year, but is chillingly compelling enough to warrant a repeat viewing. Other highlights include creative storytellers James + Jerome filling the halls of The Met with their music-laced tales, multimedia puppet-centric riffs on both Frankenstein (Manual Cinema’s Frankenstein) and Warhol shooter Valerie Solanas (Plexus Polaire’s Chambre Noir), an evening with darkly odd comedian Lorelei Ramirez, and more. Keep Reading »

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Kidnappers, Quacks, and Go-Go Boys in One of Jared Kushner’s Buildings

This week, we continue our series of deep dives into the histories of storied addresses.

Death! Destruction! Dutchmen! The history of one intersection in the East Village features murders, kidnappings, and a few famous names. Now the Spotted Owl Tavern occupies ground level at the northwest corner of Avenue A and 13th Street, the latest in a long line of bars at that location. There’s been a watering hole in that space (well, a saloon or maybe a bierpalast or a nightclub) for over 125 years, exempting, legally speaking, the unfortunate period between the 18th and 21st amendments.

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Art Exhibitions To Start 2019 With

Image: Logan T. Sibrel, ‘Best-Case’, 2018, Pencil on paper, 6.75 x 5.25 in. Courtesy the artist. (image via Leslie-Lohman Museum / Facebook)

Better Loser
Opening Friday, January 4 at Leslie-Lohman Project Space, 6 pm to 8 pm. On view through January 6.

It’s the new year, and most of us are probably reflecting on what we did over the last 365 days and what we can do to at least be marginally better. Rather than dream up a more perfect being, artist Logan T. Sibrel prefers to focus more on the flaws and complications of being alive, making drawings depicting people who are acting difficult, awkward, aroused, and sometimes all three at once. Deemed “a serious joke,” his mixture of words and images are reminiscent of a sort of existential comic book. Perhaps they’ll inspire you to finally think of a resolution, or maybe just to ditch the concept entirely. Keep Reading »

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An ‘Orgy of Brutality’: Police Against Immigrants in the East Village

This week, we continue our series of deep dives into the histories of storied addresses.

29 Avenue A, 1939-1941 New York City Department of Records.

The bullet tore through John Muller’s chest just above his left clavicle, fracturing the bone into small splinters that lacerated surrounding flesh and vein. The lead ball lodged in his neck between the trachea and the esophagus. His right temple was swollen and abloom in blackened bruises. Police officers had bludgeoned him, witnesses said, just outside his home at 29 Avenue A. But it was the gunshot, the coroner testified, that killed John Muller on July 11, 1857.

Muller died in the basement of what is now 33 Avenue A between Second and Third Streets. Today, the plot houses Joyful Nail Salon flush with clients reclined on taupe leatherette pedicure chairs. A sign outside advertises color gel and manicures. Just above, public housig apartments have long since replaced the original 19th century tenement building. But to peel past that lacquered exterior is to reveal the plot’s history long since erased. A history of the East Village when it was German-speaking Kleindeutschland with tenement houses lining Avenue A; of a city in turmoil in the summer of 1857; of a riot in the 17th ward; of a clash between police and a largely immigrant community; of a man shot dead.

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Before Essex Crossing, a ‘Temple of Eden’ With an Incendiary History

This week, we continue our series of deep dives into the histories of storied addresses.

From Fire and Water Engineering, 1907.

The Essex is the tall, glassy residential and commercial building that looms over Broome Street between Essex and Norfolk. It is more a promise of the neighborhood’s future than a relic of its past, all visual traces of which disappeared when the block was razed in 1967. The new 26-story building fills in the blank of what in recent years was a vast and vacant parking lot that gave no indication of a block was once dominated by New Irving Hall, an active site of civic life in the Lower East Side.

On July 24, 1899, thousands of newsboys gathered at New Irving Hall at 214 – 220 Broome Street, only days into what became a two-week strike against New York’s rival afternoon newspapers, the New York Evening World published by Joseph Pulitzer and the New York Evening Journal published by William Randolph Hearst.

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After 36 Years, Greenpoint Hospital Emerges From Twilight Sleep

This week, we continue our series of deep dives into the histories of storied addresses.

A view of the Greenpoint Hospital complex from across Jackson Street, on the corner with Kingsland Ave. On the right are buildings owned by the Neighborhood Women Legacy Project, one of the original founders of GREC.

This past September, New York City’s housing department announced plans to convert the entirety of the long-abandoned Greenpoint Hospital complex into over 500 units of affordable housing and 200 units of housing for the homeless. The new project grows out of a nearly three-decade battle between the city and a number of Greenpoint neighborhood community organizations. But a deeper look at the history of this plot of land reveals that the complex’s commitment to working class, underserved families reaches further back. The recent announcement to transform this historic and often contentious space into a community-supported and designed project represents a victorious new chapter in a longstanding legacy.

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A Factory That Saw ‘Smoky Skies, Blazing Blasts’ Awaits a New Chapter in Greenpoint

This week, we continue our series of deep dives into the histories of storied addresses.

(Photo: Emily Corona)

Sol Graf was a vital-looking 36-year-old Jew in 1966 who, in the company of his wife and two daughters, boarded the Greek ship Olympia from the Israeli port of Haifa and headed for New York City to start a new life. In a black-and-white photo taken aboard the ship, Graf smiles relaxedly at the camera while sitting at a table with his family and two other companions. The image belies his horrific early life experiences trying to survive the concentration camps of World War II. The war, and his boarding the ship, would forever change the course of his life in ways that he himself would later describe as “immeasurable and unbelievable.”

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From Batters to Battallions: A Brooklyn Armory Sits On Baseball History

This week, we continue our series of deep dives into the histories of storied addresses.

Exterior of the armory today.

The 47th Regiment Armory on Marcy Avenue has loomed over its neighbors since 1883. The brick-layered building with crenelated turrets occupies an entire block, bounded by Marcy Avenue to the South, Harrison to the north, Heyward Street to the west and Lynch to the east. Up until 2011, when the federal government consolidated several regiments, the armory served as the drill hall for a branch of the New York National Guard.

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A Castle That Protected Soldiers Struggles to Do the Same For the Homeless

This week, we continue our series of deep dives into the histories of storied addresses.

Allen Ross lives in a castle, but it feels more like purgatory.

Ross is diabetic, arthritic and schizophrenic and had to turn to the Bedford Atlantic Armory Men’s Assessment Shelter when he could no longer pay his rent. He’s spending his day passing time in the shadows of the turrets that tower four stories into the air above Crown Heights. Like the rest of the residents of the 124-year-old edifice that has been a shelter since 1983, Ross is in the assessment phase of the New York City shelter system, meaning he is waiting to be placed in long-term housing. The typical stay at Bed-Atlantic lasts 21 days.

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America’s Oldest Surviving Mosque Is in Williamsburg

This week, we continue our series of deep dives into the histories of storied addresses.

104 Powers Street. (Photo: Zuha Siddiqui)

There’s a building at 104 Powers Street in Williamsburg, an inconspicuous row house just around the corner from the rooftop bars, art galleries and coffee shops near the Lorimer L stop on Metropolitan Avenue. White clapboard slats, sloping roof. Look closer, and there’s a discreet, white turret topped with a crescent. If no one had pointed it out, you wouldn’t know you were walking past North America’s oldest surviving mosque. Keep Reading »

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An East Williamsburg Church Has Been Home to Germans, Latinos, and Now Uncertainty

This week, we continue our series of deep dives into the histories of storied addresses.

Rev. Rafael Perez leads a prayer at the St. Nicholas Roman Catholic Church on Dec. 9, 2018.

On a recent Sunday, right after Spanish-language services, an eight-piece mariachi band streamed into the St. Nicholas Catholic Church in East Williamsburg. Guitars and trumpets blended together in a musical homage to the Virgin of Guadalupe, a venerated figure who symbolizes devotion throughout the Latino community. Just below in the main hall, a feast was on the tables and flowers, flags and banners surrounded the virgin’s likeness.

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