CBGB (New York City, NY, USA)   

New York City, the lower east side that smells dangerous. Looking for the background of the punk in a club like a hole.

Surprisingly, there are a few Rock Clubs in “New York City”. Instead, there are many Blues and Jazz Clubs. This contrasts with “Los Angeles”, which has more Rock Clubs and less Blues and Jazz Clubs. There are several Rock Clubs in New York City mainly in “Greenwich Village”, but only my favorite place was “Bottomline (*). Other Rock Clubs is not my favorite place like students come to drink. After all, when it comes to Rock Club in New York City, I can only imagine is “CBGB”. (Although it may be said that the main music genre in this “CBGB” is other than Rock).

I have visited this Club in 1992 at the first time. It was in “East Village” where it is very famous for dangerous area. Just walking to the east, it is “Alphabet avenue” which is the symbol of the dangerous place. China town, down to the south, shelter for the homeless people was around. To save the money, there is no choice to go there by taxi, actually, most of the people coming to this “CBGB” must be not afford to use the taxi, I have visited this place by subway, getting off at ”Bleecker St. station”, then walking down the dark street which does not have the street light. Now, “New York City” becomes safe, however, I have heard many dangerous stories in this city in the late 1980s to 1990s.

This Club has the cool entrance, that is very famous. I impressed very much when seeing the red colored logo describing “CBGB” at the top of the entrance. I have no idea why I impressed, but maybe I got so many information about this “CBGB” from the magazine or other medias. Also, there were usually many people in front of the entrance. I think they are smokers and people waiting for the band they are looking for. From the appearance of those people, I could imagine the band to play, then I gave up one time to get in, just seeing those people’s appearance.

When getting into this Club after having a security check at the entrance, you can understand the uniqueness of this Club, it is long to the end of the building like tunnel. There is a long bar counter at the right-hand side, then there are spaces with tables at the left-hand side, where people can eat something. I remember, table area at the left-hand side was located with some height, however, it was difficult to see the stage located at the far end of building from the entrance.

There were more than 30 meters from the entrance to the stage. The stage was back end and a little right-hand side. Stage size was like 5-meter x 3-meter, which was very small. There were cheap chairs in front of the stage and listening to the music sitting on those chairs.

Interestingly, there was a narrow corridor at the left-hand side of the stage, heading to the direction opposite to the entrance. There was a dressing room at the right-hand side on that corridor and at the left-hand side, there was a stairway down to the basement, and its end was a dirty rest room. This environment was not like the club, which is famous in the world. I guess, this homely feeling was one of the reasons why “CBGB” became very popular.

I have visited this Club three times, I do not remember its performance clearly, but I do not have the impression that performance was good, however, it was obvious that this place has something unique and covered by the different atmosphere. There was no doubt that the surrounding environment had a significant affect, and if this Club was in “Midtown” or “Greenwich Village” in New York City, this decadence atmosphere could not be produced. Personally, this decadence atmosphere is like “Al’s Bar” in Los Angeles. By the way, this “Al’s Bar” was also located in an unsafe place.

This Club was closed in 2010, there was a story moving to “Las Vegas”, however, it is not realized as of 2018.

(*)”The Bottom Line” was the Music Club in “Greenwich Village” opened between 1974 to 2004. Bruce Springsteen, Eric Clapton, Neil Young, Dire Straits and other famous musicians performed.

​Visited in 1992, 1994.

​Basic Information

■ Name of Place:CBGB
■ Address : 315 Bowery Manhattan, New York City USA
■ Performed Musician :
Ramones, Television, Patti Smith, Blondie, Joan Jett & Blackhearts, Talking Heads