For Ramones fans, Forest Hills High School in Queens is as seminal a site as performance venues CBGB and Max’s Kansas City. The school is where the Ramones – Joey, Dee Dee, Johnny and Tommy – first met. On Sunday, the intersection in front of the school at 67th Avenue and 110th Street was renamed The Ramones Way to honor the late pioneers of punk rock.
Today while the rest of us were celebrating Stephen Colbert’s succession of David Letterman, Mayor Bill de Blasio was celebrating himself. Specifically, his first 100 days in office, which he marked in a speech at Cooper Union’s Great Hall.
Students of the college brought back the red “Free Education To All” banner that made several appearances during the doomed two-year battle to keep Cooper Union tuition-free. It didn’t last long.
Pat Ivers and Emily Armstrong continue sorting through their archives of punk-era concert footage as it’s digitized for the Downtown Collection at N.Y.U.’s Fales Library.
The East Village was a very different and much more dangerous place in 1978. But it was still a shock to everyone on the Downtown scene when Johnny Blitz, the Dead Boys’ drummer, was stabbed in a fight on Second Avenue. Street violence isn’t quite what it was in those days, but one thing hasn’t changed: the problem of musicians and medical insurance, or the lack thereof. To help meet Blitz’s mounting medical bills, the CBGB community rallied with a four-day event, the Blitz Benefit (please, don’t call it “Punk Woodstock”). With a t-shirt created by the Ramones’ design guru, Arturo Vega, and more than 30 bands performing, it was a heartfelt outpouring of help and money for one of our own.
Billy Blitz, Johnny’s brother, recalled being just a teenager when his brother was stabbed. “I was in Cleveland so it was all new to me,” he said. “When I got to New York for the benefit, Stiv Bators [lead singer of the Dead Boys] and Tish Bellomo picked me up. They were shooting moons out the car window on the way to the club. I couldn’t believe it!” More →