(Photo: the private collections of Jason Knox and Harold C. Black)
Built as a movie palace in 1927, the Academy of Music on East 14th Street, at Third Avenue, was a place where Lower East Siders would watch first-run features in grand style. Promoter Sid Bernstein, who brought the Beatles to America, understood the 3,000-seat hall’s potential: in the mid-1960s, he regularly booked British Invasion bands like the Rolling Stones, the Kinks and Herman’s Hermits there. Manfred Mann, on the charts with “Do Wah Diddy Diddy,” would share a bill with the Exciters, the American group that first recorded the tune to little notice. More →
This week and next, we present a series of longer pieces unraveling the histories of storied buildings.
The Academy of Music, on 14th Street and Irving Place. (Image: public domain)
New York City publisher Horace Greeley considered the Academy of Music opera house so ugly that he is reported to have asked how much it would cost to burn the place down. “If the price is not unreasonable,” he is said to have declared, “have it done and send me the bill.” Greeley got his wish in 1866, but the opera was rebuilt. Fifty more years would pass before the Academy of Music — the largest opera in the world when it opened 1854 — was finally demolished.
And there she is: on the heels of Chopt’s opening at 51 Astor this week, signage has gone up indicating that next month, Flywheel will move into the sleek new office building next month. New York City! Sinning is out and spinning is in.
If you enjoy our Storied Venue series of mini oral histories of clubs like the Five Spot and the Palladium, get thee to “If These Walls Could Talk,” a series where musicians who played the legendary Bottom Line club will be sharing their memories of the place.
Last night at Jue Lan Club, the Chinese restaurant inside of the former Limelight, we went upstairs to check out the club kids wallpaper and ended up ducking into the private dining room, where there’s a gallery of Tina Paul’s nightlife photos. Who should we find there but Donald Trump. Obviously not the real Donald Trump– he’s been busy crafting his inaugural address (from a receptionist’s desk?). No, this was a photo of The Donald at the opening of Club USA, congratulating owner Peter Gatien and his right-hand-man John Carmen. The snap was taken in 1992, about 11 years before the, um, deporation force sent Gatien back to Canada for tax evasion. (Yes, sometimes our friends across the northern border break the law.)
Output, a beacon for house and techno that helped turn a once sleepy stretch of Williamsburg into an international nightlife destination, will close at the end of the year, the club’s owners announced today.
Last month during a taping of Knight Fight at The Gorbals, chef Ilan Hall faced off against Northern Spy Food Co.’s Pete Lipson. In the dining room above the Urban Outfitters store, feverish foodies ooed and ahead on cue as Hall revealed the night’s mystery ingredients. I can’t tell you more, because immediately upon arriving at the taping I beat a hasty retreat to Space Ninety 8’s rooftop bar where I hid out for the rest of the night. More →
No band is more identified with the East Village than the Ramones. The band’s performances at Hilly Kristal’s CBGB and other neighborhood venues defined punk rock forever. In 2003, the corner of the Bowery and Second Street near CBGB was officially named Joey Ramone Place. Over time, members of the group lived, drank and hung out in the East Village. More →