In less than two weeks, Rainbow Hugs and Kisses: a Doomsday Celebration, the final closing ceremony/bye-bye art show at Secret Project Robot, will open as a “greatest hits” celebration of the last five years at their current space, 389 Melrose Street in Bushwick. Rachel Nelson, who co-directs the long-running DIY art and music venue with her partner Erik Zajaceskowski are moving on to their fourth (to be determined) location since the couple started an underground party place in Williamsburg known as Mighty Robot way, way back in 1998.
“We just ended 20, almost 21 years of selling records in New York City,” said Chris Vanderloo, co-founder of Other Music.
Before the Acheron opened on a quiet block in heavily-industrial East Williamsburg back in 2010, the building was little more than a “black box” housing a barebones ska venue, as owner Bill Dozer remembers it. Within two weeks of signing the lease and taking over the place, it was transformed into a punk and metal show space, a speakeasy-style DIY operation with cheap cans of beer, the occasional “plastic handle of liquor,” and a remarkable sound system with a bar next door. “We were able to get off the ground with basically nothing— just a bunch of sweat and, like, four people working there,” Dozer recalled.
Over the years, the Acheron has grown into the de facto homebase of Brooklyn punk, which has made something of a comeback itself as the venue expanded and went legit, welcoming in local acts and touring bands from across the country to play everything from straightedge punk to psych metal. But as of July 9, the East Williamsburg venue is putting all that to rest when they close their doors for good.
The secret is out: beloved Bushwick art/party space Secret Project Robot, which has featured tons of art and hosted dozens of good shows and parties, will be closing its doors at the end of the summer. Although the news was posted just a week and a half ago, co-director Rachel Nelson doesn’t seem too broken up about it.
“The thing is we just can’t afford to stay there,” Nelson said. “That’s it.”
The East Village has lost one of its enchanting al fresco dining spots, as Barbone has been evicted after a decade on Avenue B. The Italian restaurant was opened in 2006 by Alberto Ibrahimi, who prided himself on his fresh ingredients and handmade pasta, and served as a congenial host. My old Grub Street colleague Josh Ozersky, “King of Avenue C,” wrote that the “underpriced, ambitious East Village trattoria has some of the best pasta and wine values in town.” He paid the enoteca a memorable visit in a video for Vice’s Munchies.
Bushwick lost one of its pioneering restaurants over the weekend when Northeast Kingdom closed after more than 10 years off of the Jefferson stop. (Yes, Virginia, it opened way before there was a “Jefftown.”) In a goodbye message, owners Paris Smeraldo and Meg Lipke explained that they hoped to devote more time and energy to their children and their upstate farm and home (Lipke, a visual artist, will continue working from her Bushwick studio).
By now you’re probably past the denial stage of grief and it has started to sink in that Other Music is closing at the end of June. New Yorkers began posting teary-eyed tributes to the beloved East Village record shop as soon as it announced yesterday that it was shuttering after two decades in business.
Irish eyes ain’t smiling. First Puck Fair, and now this.
The next three days are your last chance to grab a pint at East Village fixture Dempsey’s Pub, before its doors close for good this Sunday, April 17. According to owner Tom O’Byrne, the pub and restaurant will close so he can focus to his other establishments.
“Dempsey’s Pub has been blessed to have had an amazing run in the East Village for the past 24 years. Like a lot of good things, however, it’s reached the end of its cycle and on Sunday night after service Dempsey’s Pub will close for good,” O’Byrne explained. He also added that the changing nature of the neighborhood had played a part in his decision to close up shop. “Obviously part of it is related to costs, and the demand for the type of place like Dempsey’s is not there anymore in the way it was before.”
In the spirit of giving the place a proper send-off, Dempsey’s Pub will feature all-day happy hour specials starting today until Sunday, which includes $5 beer, wine, and well drinks, as well as offering canned and bottled beer specials all night on Sunday.
Dempsey’s Pub, which has been around in some form since 1992, was acquired by O’Byrne in 1998 and has developed into an East Village staple particularly popular among the NYU crowd.
The establishment’s regular programming, such as Wednesday night trivia and traditional Irish music on Tuesdays, will be moved to sister pub Slainte, at 304 Bowery.
O’Byrne, who also owns Cooper’s Craft and Kitchen on Second Avenue, expressed excitement for “other new beginnings in the neighborhood,” which may hint at further projects in the East Village down the road.
Dempsey’s Pub, 61 2nd Ave at 4th Street. 212-388-0662.
It’s the end of the road for Sanford & Sven’s Second Hand. After seven years of feeding the experiments of artists, indie music video directors, restaurant owners and other antique-rummaging creatives at 106 North Third Street, the shop is closing soon. Not that the owner, Sven Wechsler, is surprised. He’s seen the writing on the wall for a while now– the crop of new condos encroaching on his block doesn’t look too friendly to a reasonably-priced antique store.
The St. Mark’s Bookshop has made it official: after nearly 40 years in business, the beloved East Village bookstore will close for good at the end of the week.