Best Desecration of a New York City Landmark - 2008
Anyone with enough money can destroy a piece of New York history?just ask the folks in the Chase Bank branch that now occupies the Second Avenue Deli?s old digs. But it takes a true visionary to really violate and pervert the abandoned spaces of pre-gentrification New York. Enter, then, John Varvatos, the Detroit-born clothing magnate, and his newest Manhattan retail outlet: the former CBGB. While most carpetbaggers shamefacedly swept the evidence of their conquests under the rug, taking down signs and repainting the walls, Varvatos?whose clothing is best described as what rock stars wear 10 to 20 years after they?ve become successful?decided instead to go the Weekend at Bernie?s route. Within sight of a lovingly preserved flyer for a long-ago Ramones gig, one can buy a $2,500 black leather jacket; those with less to spend are welcome to cough up $35 or $40 on the band?s first LP, sold near the door, presumably as a buffer for all those potential shoplifters killing time at the rehab center next door. The club?s notorious bathrooms have been replaced; its stage, which turns out to be a wonderful place to display tooled-leather loafers, has not. Who says the Bowery ain?t what it used to be?