October 15 marked the 10th anniversary of the closing of CBGBs. If browsing old photos didn’t cure your nostalgia for a venue that’s probably up there with the old Penn Station as one of New York’s most romanticized, Sotheby’s is auctioning off one of the dive’s original awnings for an expected $25,000 to $35,000.
Sure, for that kind of money you could probably start up your own little venue, but why do that when you can wallow in the city’s faded glory? As noted in the auction house’s condition report, this is a throwback to a time when “the Bowery was, to repeat, a drab, ugly, and unsavory place,” according to CBs owner Hilly Kristal. Break out the checkbook!
Before you blow your life savings just to outdo our Sock Man awning, realize that this isn’t even the original CBs awning. That one, according to Gothamist’s history of the club’s signage, is rumored to have been swiped by a band after a gig in the ’80s. This one went up in the early aughts and was thrown out in 2004 only to be rescued from a dumpster by a club manager, Drew Bushing.
The awning isn’t the only thing up for bid as part of “A Rock & Roll Anthology: From Folk to Fury.” The piano shown above belonged to John Lennon when he wrote songs for Sgt. Pepper’s, and previously fetched $2.1 million at auction. After auctioning off items from David Bowie’s art collection in November, Sotheby’s is now offering the singer’s gold leather suit from the Glass Spiders tour (sorry, blue wings and cowboy boots not included). Also up for grabs here is a Bob Dylan harmonica, presumably oozing with the Nobel laureate’s DNA; Lady Gaga’s foot funk, in the form of some black leather boots; some wire-rim glasses worn by Lennon; one of Jim Morrison’s notebooks (sample scribbling: “film spectators are quiet vampires”); and a personal apology penned by Mick Jagger for the HBO series Vinyl. Just kidding about that last one. But for the right price, perhaps it can be arranged.