CBGB: Dead One Year



Though there are a lot of people who will tell you that CBGB died years ago, Monday marked the one-year anniversary of the club’s closing. On Tuesday morning, a thoughtful fan marked the anniversary with some flowers. Next door at the CBGB gallery, two workmen were ripping out the bar. They said they had no idea what would become of the place.

Hate it or love it or indifferent, CBGB seems to have closed unnecessarily.

During the rent dispute last year, Muzzy Rosenblatt, the executive director of the Bowery Residents Committee, the homeless shelter that subleased space to CBs, said he would not renew Kristal’s lease because he had a fiduciary responsibility to his clients to get the highest rent for the space.

Kristal was paying $19,000 rent. When negotiations foundered, Little Steven offered to set up a foundation that would pay the taxpayer-funded homeless shelter $100,000 a year, and set-up a third-party guarantor to pay the rent, including a modest increase.

Rosenblatt ultimately rejected the deal. With the storefronts vacant for more than a year, the BRC missed out on $228,000 in rent, at the very least, and potentially a$100,000 contribution from the CBGB foundation. That’s $338,000 that could have helped a lot of homeless people and saved a local legend.

Photo Gallery: Debbie Harry and Patti Smith Celebrate a Last Call for CBGB, October 14-15, 2006