I’ve written about Matt Weber’s photographs here a few times. His work frequently acts as a good jumping-off point, in terms of posts. It was a photo of Matt’s that prompted me to reach out to Pat Blashil to talk about the bad old days of the Meat Packing District. In any case, he recently put up another image that’s prompted me to want to expound, inadvertently resulting in the fifth post sort of about CBGB since late July. Oh well.
Here’s the Weber photo in question (originally found here). This was taken just south of East 1st Street, on the Bowery, in 1989.
As period pics go, this one does a very nice job of summing up a time and a place. Even a good decade and change after playing host to Television, Blondie, the Ramones, etc., CBGB was still essentially a skid row dive, perched on a precarious strip of urban badlands largely roamed by those down on their luck. That would all change, of course, but at the tail-end of the 80’s, the Bowery was still basically the end of the line.
A few years back, I posted a few “then & now” entries that juxtaposed certain locations between their iterations in the late 90’s and early 2000’s and their more recent incarnations. I almost mimicked Weber’s vantage point (albeit 13 years later), but from a spot closer to the northern side of the street. You can find those pictures here.
Prompted by discovering Weber’s photo, though, I thought I’d try it again.
Quite a difference, eh?
Incidentally, at the risk of beating a dead horse into a painfully laborious pulp, just a few steps to the east of this spot was where Joe Dilworth shot that elusive photograph of the Lunachicks that drove me insane for several weeks.
Here’s little snippet of what might have been goin’ down in CBGB while Weber was taking that original picture, featuring the Senders (who I wrote about back here).