I’ve written way too much about the Mudd Club here for someone who never got to actually got to go to the place. The club closed its doors for good in 1983, when I was a sniveling, desperately unhip 16-year-old. I’d certainly read about the place, but the chances of me darkening its doors while it was still a going concern were slim at best. And while, yes, at the end of the day, it was ultimately just a nightclub -– a place for people to drink, dance, hear music, irresponsibly hook-up with each other, see and be seen -- the place inarguably acted as yet another key cultural flashpoint for a certain era of New York City. Don’t just take my word for it, read all about it.
In any case, some years back I fleetingly had a very strenuously wealthy neighbor -- we’ll call him Moe for the sake of this narrative -- who told me, one morning, that he was leaving the buidling. “Oh yeah?,” I asked … feigning interest, “where are you headed?” “I’m moving to a spot in TriBeCa at 77 White Street,” he responded. My eyes lit up. “You’re moving to The Mudd Club?” Moe looked at me blankly. He had absolutely no idea what I was talking about.
While I may indeed be guilty of overromanticizing a place I never actually set foot in, I found it profoundly irritating that an address that held such significance for folks like myself and –- I assume -– a wide swathe of fellow music-fans, local historians, let alone actual former patrons of the establishment in question – was soon to be occupied by an individual with no appreciation, affinity – let alone awareness -- of its comparatively notable legacy. But, as evidenced in the recent backlash on Facebook against the “10 Bands…” meme, clearly not everybody cares about such things.
So, yeah, today, Moe’s doubtlessly well-appointed kitchen is probably the very space that once played host to The Cramps or DNA or The Undead or Tuxedomoon or Black Flag or even Judas Priest (yeah, they played there once), and he neither knows nor cares.
The flip-side of that coin, however, is just as annoying. During a recent Google search, I came upon a post on a blog hosted by Halstead Property, a prominent Manhattan real estate agency. Titled “10 Things You Didn’t Know About 77 White Street” and penned by an “EVP” (executive vice president?) from the agency name Jill Sloane, this oddly uneven list of 10 tenuous factoids features this wince-inducing paragraph…
77 White is a wonderful, tight knit building where everyone knows their neighbors. It’s like “Friends” or something like that. I had the pleasure of selling the 4th floor years ago and I just listed a stunning 2285 square foot full floor for $3,550,000. It is on the 2nd floor, the old VIP room of the Mudd Club… if these walls could talk!
Here’s the Circle Jerks at the Mudd Club in 1981…