Someone told me on the phone the other day that I’d “murdered the last DIY venue in Manhattan”–to which I probably should’ve retorted “second-to-last,” as the nearly thirty year old punk space/community center ABC No Rio is still very much standing. The venue has been on a run of absurd good luck in 2009: In June, the city bailed the space out, funneling $1.65 million dollars to ABC in order to help them refurbish their crumbling Rivington Street building. That left about a million-dollar shortfall as far as what it was going to take to rebuild the decrepit space–one neatly closed by an anonymous letter ABC executive director Steven Englander received two days before Thanksgiving.
“The letter said, ‘You’ve been awarded this grant of $1 million,'” Englander told The Villager. “The check is from the Fidelity Charitable Gift Fund — but from there, it’s opaque.” The gift fund wouldn’t even let him send a thank-you note, let alone tell him the identity of the donor. There’s another round of funding they’ll need to finish this thing off– $1.8 million–but phase one is done, which means they can get moving on the construction starting in the fall of next year. Here’s to another thirty years.