Recent Posts in NYC
July 25, 2014
by Wyatt Marshall
Sad news for Upper West Siders of the no-collar persuasion: Ding Dong Lounge, the punked-out dive bar and venue at 106th and Columbus, is closing on Thursday, July 31 after 13 years in business. The bar will be relocating to an as-yet undisclosed location.
From an announcement on Ding Dong Lounge's website:
Like so many other unique New York City businesses, the Ding has lost its lease, despite having the highest sales in its 13 year history and being named the Best Cheap Manhattan Dive by both the Village Voice (link added - ed.) and Gothamist.Ding Dong Lounge was a grungy oasis for people looking for a no-frills place for cheap drinks in an otherwise pretty bleak part of town where forgettable, overcrowded bars are the norm. As mentioned above, the bar received accolades for being the best dive in Manhattan -- not bad for a place not much further than a stone's throw from Columbia University. Good music and colorful staff -- which allegedly included a stuntman who was, among other interesting gigs, a weapon specialist in Mortal Kombat (the movie) -- helped make the place great. Ding Dong DJ/doorman Chris should be familiar to patrons of The Acheron, where he also works. Mark, thank you for all the drinks.
This is not the end of the Ding, as we will be relocating & reopening in the near furture (watch this space for details). However, for right now, please come out to show some love and say goodbye to our beloved Ding Dong Lounge during our last days at the Columbus Ave & 106 St. location.
We love you all!
The space played host to hundreds of shows, typically of the somewhat-underground indie/punk variety, and had a number of weekly regular events. One memorable show for me was headlined by the experimental noise rock band White Suns, who just played Summerscreen. The opening band was a three-piece named Bob Crusoe, an absurdist "guitar," drums and off-key trumpet (I think) band that delivered one of the most ridiculous performances I've ever seen -- pure cacophony, with nonsense lyrics/noises that were alternatively spoken and hysterically screamed over one of the worst improv sets of all time. Lots of rolling around on the ground. A+.
It's been a bad week for NYC dives. The Ding Dong Lounge will be missed. Here's to a quick reopening.
A new public art installation may make some Bronx residents wait for the bus a little more musical. Appropriately named, the "Boogie Down Booth" sits on the street below the Freeman Street station in South Bronx, and provides a 24/7 spot to hear local music. Folks waiting for the bus can sit and listen to a 17-song curated playlist that is piped out (not too loud) on speakers. The playlist currently includes tracks from Living Colour drummer Will Calhoun, and rap group Circa '95.
A collaboration between the Design Trust for Public Space and NYC's Department of Transportation, the Boogie Down Down is part of the Under The Elevated initiative, which aims to make city space below transportation infrastructure more useful (or interesting).
July 24, 2014
(photo via @m_del)
More vanishing New York. This time iconic, unironic midtown NYC dive bar Subway Inn. Via their Facebook:
Subway Inn Patrons,As it says, the neon goes dark sometime next month.
As you might know, Subway Inn was established in 1937, and has been proudly serving customers since.
We are sad to inform you that Subway Inn will be closed for business on or about the 15th of August. That's not to say we aren't opening another location. Subway Inn WILL relocate.
Follow Us for further details.
July 11, 2014
by Bill Pearis
My first apartment in NYC was on Third Ave between 27th and 28th, and at the time my friend Jason was in an alt-country band. Between the two, I spent a lot of time at the Rodeo Bar, one of the few places that consistently booked country music in Manhattan. (Rockabilly and folk too.) It was also the filming location of Lou Barlow's infamous interview on MTV's Sex in the '90s which some of you may remember. (You would think a clip of this would be online somewhere.) I haven't been there in a few years, but was sad to hear this:
Dear Rodeo Bar patrons and music lovers,The NYC Real Estate market is no joke these days. As the note mentions, The Rodeo Bar will be open until July 27 with free music every night. Tonight (7/11) it's guitarist Joe Taino. Sorry to see you go, Rodeo Bar. Its remaining live schedule below...
We are deeply saddened to announce that after 27 years in business, Rodeo Bar and Grill is closing its doors after July 27, 2014.
Here at New York's longest-running honky-tonk, we stayed open during some of the city's toughest times -- Hurricane Sandy, the 2003 blackout, 9/11 -- but recent rent increases, combined with a changing landscape, have made it impossible for us continue.
For the past three decades, Rodeo Bar has been home to thousands of bands, and we're proud to have helped define the country, Americana and rockabilly scene in New York City for all these years. But more than that, we were supported by an incredible community of people from New York and all over the world who helped make this bar great. We can't thank y'all enough.
For the rest of July, we're open every night, and the music schedule is killer -- and free, as it always has been. So come on down and join us for every show, every Shiner, and every moment with the horse trailer we call home. We're going out with our boots on.
Much Love, and Until the Buffalo Sings,
July 10, 2014
Peter Spear, 28, of Brooklyn band Empty Chairs is missing. He was last seen July 6 at Stewarts in Pine Plains, NY. If anyone has any information, a Facebook page has been set up. We hope he is found soon.
July 3, 2014
The 4th of July means fireworks, and Macy's annual extravaganza is back on the East River for the first time in five years. This year's display is in honor of the 200th anniversary of "The Star-Spangled Banner" and will use some 50,000 pounds of explosives launched from the Brooklyn Bridge and barges below on the water. They should start around 9 PM. Obviously, anywhere with an unobstructed view of the sky is a good place to watch -- like say a friend's roof -- but there are designated public viewing sections on the elevated portions of FDR Drive with the following entry points:
MANHATTAN ACCESS POINTSThere will also be fireworks in Coney Island on the Fourth, following the Brooklyn Cyclones game.
Montgomery & South Streets: From the north (viewing along the FDR between Manhattan Bridge and Montgomery Street).
Brooklyn Bridge entry from St. James Place (Pearl Street) & Wagner Place (viewing both north & south of the Brooklyn Bridge).
Broad Street and/or Old Slip at Water Street (viewing between Heliport & south side of Brooklyn Bridge
ADA viewing area: Murray Bergtraum High School track and field facility, at the base of the Manhattan Bridge. Use the entrance at Market & Cherry Streets.
NOTE: Piers 15-17 are not public viewing areas.
BROOKLYN ACCESS POINTS
Brooklyn Bridge Park (piers 1-6): enter on Old Fulton & Furman Street, Joralemon Street & Furman Street or Atlantic Avenue & Furman Street.
Brooklyn Bridge Promenade: enter on Columbia Heights & Pineapple Street, Montague Street & Pierrepont Street or Pierrepont Street & Remsen Street.
The following pedestrian streets will be closed to all non-emergency vehicle traffic:
• Montague Street: from Court Street to Montague Terrace
• Remsen Street from Court Street to Montague Terrace
• Old Fulton Street from Hicks Street to Furman Street
• Furman Street from Old Fulton Street to Atlantic Avenue
• Columbia Heights from Montague Street to Old Fulton Street
• Hicks Street from Atlantic Avenue to Old Fulton Street
July 1, 2014
Dylan-scribbled notes on 'New Morning' acetate
Bob Dylan fans, take note, a treasure trove of never-before-heard early/alternate/unfinished versions of songs from Nashville Skyline, Self Portrait and New Morning were recently discovered via 149 acetates found in a closet at 124 W. Houston St. That building once housed a ground-floor studio where Dylan recorded from 1969 - 1972. The two boxes of acetates was labeled "Old Records" and untouched for 40 years. Record Mecca's Jeff Gold details some of the finds:
We discovered many of the acetates were unreleased versions of songs, in some cases with different overdubs, sometimes without any overdubs, many with different mixes, different edits and in a few cases completely unreleased and unknown versions. There are outtakes too, including electric versions of Johnny Cash's "Ring of Fire" and "Folsom Prison Blues" recorded during the Self Portrait sessions, and a gospel tinged version of "Tomorrow is Such a Long Time" recorded during the New Morning sessions.If you're not sure exactly what an acetate is beyond "some kind of record," Gold explains...
These 149 acetates provide a remarkable look into Dylan's working process at the time. Dylan recorded Nashville Skyline in Nashville; Self Portrait in Nashville and New York and New Morning almost entirely in New York. Dylan's producer at the time, Bob Johnston, worked out of Columbia Records' Nashville studios. These acetates were for the most part cut in Nashville and sent by Johnston to Dylan in New York for his comments and approval.
Acetates are individually cut on a lathe in real time, in a process that is basically the reverse of playing a record. A blank aluminum disc coated in lacquer is put on a turntable, and the master tape of a recording is played, the signal of which is sent to a heated needle which cuts a groove into into the revolving disc. Acetates are made so an artist or producer can listen to a recording that is a work-in-progress; they can be played on a regular turntable, but after 20 or 30 plays the sound quality begins to deteriorate.You can read and see more about the Dylan acetates over at Record Mecca and they have a few for sale as well, including an alternate version of "Nashville Skyline" priced at $7000.
June 30, 2014
photos by Amanda Hatfield
...Khaki shirts, olive pants and rainbow neckerchiefs: the Boy Scout uniform, pride-style -- a uniform that had never been seen on a group of marchers in New York City's pride parade before.Lots more pictures from the 2014 Gay Pride March below...
They had come to mark progress -- the Boy Scouts of America's breakthrough vote last year to end a decades-old policy of prohibiting openly gay youths from being scouts -- and to call for more. However, the organization, a touchstone of traditional America, still bars openly gay adults from participating as troop leaders or volunteers. Ending that ban has become a signature cause for the gay-rights movement.
"I want gay parents to have the opportunity to scout with their children," said Greg Bourke, 56, who said he was forced to step down as a leader of his son's troop in Kentucky two years ago after local Scouts officials learned he was gay and threatened to revoke the troop's charter. "Adult leaders should have the same opportunities as everyone else has to take part in an organization that's a bedrock of America."
A Boy Scout wearing a rainbow neckerchief at the Gay Pride March. Credit James Estrin/The New York Times
As parade outfits go, the scouts' attire was among the tamest. Just ahead of them, one man's head bore a live parrot; another's back had sprouted enormous white wings. A third wore little more than a pair of red briefs spangled with gold medallions, and roller skates. - [NY Times]
June 28, 2014
Lucky Cheng's in 1994 issue of 'NY Mag' (via Jeremiah's Vanishing New York)
Jeremiah's Vanishing NY reports that Drag-themed club/restaurant Lucky Cheng's will close for good after tonight (6/28), coincidentally/appropriately during Pride Week. Originally opened in the East Village on First Ave in the space that formerly housed Club Baths, the first openly gay-owned bathhouse. With its servers in drag and "trans-Asian" menu, Cheng's was a huge hit in the '90s after Prince Albert of Monoco dined there in 1995.
After Sex & the City filmed their first-ever episode there, a whole new audience flocked to the space, and in 2011, Lucky Cheng's left the East Village for a fancy new Theatre District locale which opened in October 2012. Skyrocketting NYC rents and a decline in business were reasons given for the closure by an anonymous employee, though the death of owner Hayne Sutton earlier this month seems likely to be a factor.
RIP Lucky Cheng's.
June 27, 2014
The Fourth of July falls on a Friday this year and for those not using Independence Day Weekend to get away from the city -- or for those who will be visiting from out of town -- there's never a shortage of things to do. We've got a bunch of mostly musical suggestions for you.
If you wanna start your weekend off early, Thursday (7/3) has a few good options: The Black Lips and Night Birds will play a free show at House of Vans with "special guest" (RSVP is full); You could also go see Au Revoir Simone at MoMa Nights (free with museum entry); and Erasure/Depeche Mode's Vince Clark will be DJing with Mute Records founder Daniel Miller at Bowery Ballroom (tickets)
Macy's annual 4th of July fireworks extravaganza moves back to the East River (where they belong!) so Brooklyn can enjoy them again. Once again, they're also being broadcast on NBC that also features live performances from Lionel Richie, Enrique Iglesias, and Ariana Grande. Here are best spots to see them.
Though it looked like they might not get a permit, Coney Island will be having its own fireworks this year on the Fourth. You could make a day of it, with the Nathan's hot dog eating contest, the beach, take in a Cyclones game, ride the Cyclone rollercoaster, see some freaks, and end the night with fireworks.
There's not a whole lot in the way of shows on the 4th (with Maxwell's closing, so goes The Feelies annual shows), but there are a couple options for those in need. Brooklyn Night Bazaar will have old-timey folk band Spirit Family Reunion, with Odetta Hartman and Gunfight. That's free and you can RSVP to skip the line.
There was supposed to be a rooftop edition of Q-Tip's #OFFLINE party earlier that day at Output, but that has been canceled. In it's place Joey Anderson, GE-OLOGY, and Turtle Bugg will be DJing on the roof from 3 PM - 10 PM. It's free with RSVP bound to be a great place to watch the fireworks.
Speaking of 90s hip hop group musicians turned DJs, Questlove of the Roots has been DJing at Brooklyn Bowl for 5 years now. It's a long weekend, maybe his 11pm set on Thursday (73) is your chance to finally check 'Bowl Train' out. Head back to Brooklyn Bowl on Saturday (7/5) for food, beer and the World Cup quarter finals followed by some Guns N' Roses tribute bands and, late night, LCD/Juan Maclean cohort Nancy Whang DJing.
You'd never risk being seen in a strip club, so head to the classier wine-themed music venue City Winery after the fireworks on July 4th for a special late WASABASSCO burlesque show starring Amber Ray, BooBess, Doc Wasabassco, Dolly Debutante, Medianoche, Mischief Molly, Nasty Canasta, Penny Wren, Sydni Deveraux and more. 10:45 doors, 11 PM show, $20 to get in.
There's also Lincoln Center's "Midsummer Night's Swing" which on the 4th features Puerto Rico's Willie Rosario y Su Orquesta Salsa. And if you can't mambo or otherwise, dance lessons are given before the main event. Tickets are still available.
Another option that includes two shows on the fourth and others throughout the week is Ascetic House's long Independence Day weekend in NYC. It begins with a Destruction Unit show at The Studio at Webster Hall on Thursday (tickets). Then on the fourth, D Unit's Jes Aurelius will bring his Marshstepper project to Palisades with a bunch of other experimental musicians, and late that night D Unit hits Silent Barn. The psych punk crew's shows are always intense, but this intimate Silent Barn one should get real wild (and hot). There's multiple other shows over the next few days including D Unit drummer Andrew Flores' Jock Club project at Bossa Nova Civic Club on 7/6 (free late show) and an 8 PM show at Baby's All Right on 7/7 with a band called Lucifers Stoned Disciples who don't appear to be an actual band. Any idea who it might be? (PS, D Unit's new Adult Swim Single is out now and can be streamed below.)
UPDATE: Destruction Unit's July 4 show at Silent Barn also includes Tomboy (the other band of Ali from Potty Mouth), Emily Reo, Cuddle Formation, Arm Candy, Alice and "Mute Benny" who may or may not be a band whose name rhymes with Schmutual Schmenefit. Starts at 2 PM.
Another all-day July 4 option is the big DIY show at The Ho_se with Mitski, Hello Shark, Attic Abasement, Small Wonder, Told Slant, Crying, Old Table, Pill Friends and High Pop. 3 PM start.
If you're looking to get (not too far) away for the Fourth, you can head to Montauk where Philly shoegaze rippers Nothing are among a lineup of bands playing Red Bull Sound Select's 'A Weekend In Montauk.
A closer beach option is Rockaway, where at Rippers you can see Heliotropes, Wild Yaks and Friend Roulette. Bands start at 5:30 PM, it's free and more info here.
Further into the weekend, Union Pool's Saturday afternoon series "Summer Thunder" is a good one this week (7/5) with Widowspeak and Zachary Cale. It's free, outside, with drink specials and the taco truck in the backyard (that actually serves brunch stuff), and a pretty fun way to spend your day. Later that night in UP's performance space it's Long Island punks Iron Chic with Great Thunder and more.
Another Saturday afternoon option is the ever-popular Warm Up series at MoMA PS1. The 7/5 edition features UK garage titan DJ EZ, plus Todd Edwards, Maxmillion Dunbar, Ramona Lisa (aka Chairlift's Caroline Polachek), and J-CUSH (tickets). Later that night, DJ EZ will play Output's Panther Room with Kissy Sell Out. Jamie Jones and David Berrie will be in the main room. Tickets are available now.
For an even artier Saturday, the Knockdown Center is throwing a closing reception for its Anxious Spaces installation, with performances by Dutch E Germ, Bubbles, Brian Chase (of Yeah Yeah Yeahs), Trabajo, VenessWolfChild, Rul de Nieves, Cloud Becomes Your Head and more. Entrance is $7-15 sliding scale.
For those who like things heavy, Saturday also offers two chances to catch Thou and The Body who are currently tourmates. There's a matinee at ABC No Rio, then a late night show at Palisades (doors at midnight).
And if neither heavy nor arty are your jam (okay maybe a little arty), the great avant-pop band Hundred Waters brings their tour to Glasslands on Saturday with Mas Ysa for their first show here since the release of their new album. You can still get tickets.
Another Saturday option that won't cost you anything is heading to Prospect Park for the ongoing Celebrate Brooklyn series which hosts a great, diverse lineup of jazz/hip hop collective The Robert Glasper Experiment who will be joined on stage by veteran rap great Talib Kweli. Percussionist/composer Glenn Kotche and Brooklyn poet Aja Monet open. Doors open at 6, music at 7.
Fourth of July Weekend is also your last chance to check out the Kara Walker exhibit at Domino Sugar Factory.
Whatever you do, enjoy your weekend! Stream that new Destruction Unit song below...