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

The Bizarre ‘Mumming’ History of Thanksgiving Masking

What follows is a reworking of a post originally published on Bowery Boogie in 2014. There was once a time when Thanksgiving customs more resembled Halloween masquerading than traditional turkey and history lessons. That’s right. So get out your masks, people! Thanksgivoween is upon us. Two key words: masking and mumming. To surmise thousands of […]

Children’s Magical Garden Files Lawsuit Against Developer Over Alleged Intimidation Tactics

The Children’s Magical Garden on Stanton Street is again battling its longtime nemesis, owner-developer of the neighboring parcel, The Horizon Group. Garden advocates led by Kate Temple-West filed a civil rights lawsuit Monday in New York State Supreme Court alleging that principal David Marom, who purchased the adjacent lot from Serge Hoyda in 2013, engaged […]

Pregnant Woman Shot by Parolee Boyfriend on LES Dies

A pregnant woman shot by her parolee boyfriend earlier this month died of her injuries last Thursday. The 27-year-old victim, who was about three months pregnant with the gunman’s baby, had been on life support since the November 11 incident, according to published reports. As previously reported, the perp – Bronx resident Dennis Fredricks, a […]

30-Story Tower at Beth Hamedrash Hagadol Site Takes its Spot in LES Skyline

It’s not enough to have Essex Crossing dominate the Lower East Side skyline around Delancey Street. Now, another. The hulking tower rising from the literal ashes of Beth Hamedrash Hagadol is already halfway to the top, currently sitting at a healthy fifteen stories. This much after the better part of a year under construction. As […]

Uncapped: CAINE ONE Forever

Hey Boogie faithful! Guest writer, Freddy Alva, joins us again to go beneath the paint with us at Uncapped. The following is a stylized excerpt from the Queens Graffiti Legend’s Black Book containing interviews with LADY PINK, ROGER, Martha Cooper, FREEDOM, NOTCH 56, JIMMY 131, ZAR, PHANTOM and CAINE, childhood friend Eileen Galindo. Head over here […]