CBGB Shut Down 15 Years Ago on the Bowery

Posted on: October 15th, 2021 at 5:00 am by

The final night, Oct. 2006

Fifteen years ago. This was the night – arguably – that the last breath of punk exhaled on the Bowery. When CBGB concluded its residence at 315 Bowery.

And the block could not look any different today. The former venue became, and remains, the upscale John Varvatos boutique; while its old CB’s Gallery space is now a Patagonia outpost with focus on surfing.

Patti Smith was the headliner that night, rounding out a week of special performances that included Bad Brains, Dictators, Fishbone, Debbie Harry and Chris Stein, Bouncing Souls, and Avail.

Other special guests the final night included Lenny Kaye and Jay Dee Daugherty. Even Flea cameoed to play bass. The show itself was a highly emotional affair defined by great tunes, past recollections, and plenty of tears. We were in attendance that night with, regrettably, a crappy digital camera.

The shutter of CBGB was the result of a protracted real estate dispute between club owner Hilly Kristal and the nonprofit landlord, Bowery Residence Committee. Five years earlier, they settled over the $300,000 in owed back-rent. By 2005, Kristal owed an additional $75,000, and agreed to close. It would be another year before that happened.

Once the gates shuttered for good, though, 315 Bowery immediately became a temporary shrine of sorts, with influential band names scrawled across the exterior. The graffiti was short-lived, though.

Then, like clockwork, the deconstruction began. First, the iconic red-on-white awning was torn down; later it was the interior. Boxed up for preservation. Those tributes ultimately faded from the storefront in the ensuing years.

Hilly himself passed away less than a year later, in August 2007, at the age of 75.

The address remains a unique phenomenon in that people still call it CBGB. Despite its death and the block’s subsequent rebirth into luxury.

Recent Stories

Homeless Shelter for Chinatown Elderly Planned for East Broadway

Following a trend set during the pandemic, a former Chinatown hotel will soon be reborn as a homeless shelter. Nonprofits Asian Americans for Equality and Care for the Homeless have partnered to create the new “Safe Haven” facility, located in the former Hotel 91 on East Broadway. According to its FAQ mailer, the new safe […]

LES Father Charged in Toddler Son’s Death After Drugs Found in System

Police arrested a Lower East Side man yesterday in connection with the death of his 22-month-old son who had drugs in his system, according to the NYPD. The city’s medical examiner determined last month that the toddler – Charles Rosa-Velloso – suffered acute intoxication from fentanyl and cocaine. Police subsequently ruled it a homicide. Now, […]

Appeals Court Overturns Restraining Order that Halted East River Park Resiliency Work

The community-led effort to permanently halt destruction of East River Park for coastal resilience took a major blow this week. An appellate court ruled Tuesday that the $1.45 billion project can move forward after a month-long hiatus. On Tuesday, the Appellate Division, First Department upheld the lower court’s decision, and overturned the temporary restraining in […]

Delivery Worker Slashed and Mugged in Ridge Street Condo

A food delivery worker on the job was slashed across the face Sunday evening while in the elevator of a luxury condo building on Ridge Street, according to police. The unidentified victim, a 29-year-old man, had been in the elevator of 78 Ridge Street (Ridge Street Residences nee River Ridge Condo) when he was approached by […]

Under Community Pressure, City Moves to Renovate Rivington Playground

As Sara D. Roosevelt Park continues its steady descent, area stakeholders are pushing to rehabilitate a key playground in the northern section of the park to stave off the danger element. The Rivington Street Playground, situated across from the M’finda Kalunga Garden, is next on the docket for a refresh, much in the same way […]