The impending dismantlement of the Avenue B Toy Tower has many of my bloggin' compatriots up in arms. I'll be quite sad to see it go myself, it being one of the final remnants of bohemian character left in the East Village. As has been stated on those other blogs, go down and take part in the celebratory vigil for the tower tomorrow night, from 7pm to 9pm.
This whole chapter has reminded me of another spot just down the ways a bit that also fell prey to the wrecking ball. The Gas Station was a bizarre performance space/art gallery on 2nd Street and Avenue B that also featured massive sculpture. Initially an actual gas station, it was abandoned and then subsumed by the badlands culture of the East Village in the 1980s, which turned it into a junkie hive before some entrepreneurial souls cleaned the place up and turned it into the performance space. I can't say I ever attended any shows there -- and was frankly quite astounded by the sight of the place whenever I walked by it -- but I liked knowing it was there. The Gas Station is probably most notorious for being the site of the final, calamitous performance by G.G. Allin & the Murder Junkies. After the show in question ended in a riot (not an atypical situation for the Geeg), Allin tromped off into the East Village afternoon with some new friends, only to overdose on smack later that evening, undermining his oft-stated intention to kill himself onstage.
Don't bother looking for The Gas Station now. It's long gone. If memory serves, the space now plays host to a Duane Reade. I wonder if G.G.'s ghost haunts the back aisles of the place. In any case, you can read a more authoritative account of its existence and accompanying demise by clicking on this article from the Times in 1995.
To catch a glimpse -- albeit a shaky, oft-nauseating one -- of the Gas Station (and its surrounding neighborhood circa 1993) in full effect, check out the video of Allin's final show below. You may want to usher the kids out of the room first. Oh, and NOT SAFE FOR WORK, by the way.