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« In Praise of...The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys by Traffic | Main | Noo Yawker in The New Yorker - October 24, `05 issue »

October 16, 2005


o. nate

I only moved to NYC in 1996, but I have fond memories of many of these places too:

- Ween and a Drag City CMJ showcase at Tramps.
- The Lyres and World/Inferno Friendship Society at Brownies.
- Lee "Scratch" Perry at Wetlands.
- The Fall at Coney Island High.

the truth

these posting are somewhat off on the facts.

Alex in NYC

Oh really? Which facts would these be then?


Well for starters the former Coney Island High is now a sushi joint I believe, not torn down and turned into a condo...God I loved that club.

Alex in NYC

You're mistaken. The actual building -- the very structure that housed Coney Island High - was demolished. The building that stands there now is completely new.

Emory Joseph

The Lone Star Cafe (the original, downtown on 5th) should be on this list. Well above...Wetlands and Tramps...I think anyway.....


(Late to comment here since I just came across this page.) Nice list of long gone music clubs. I went to most of these listed here while in my 20's; trip down memory lane. Really enjoyed Sin-e, small, but had a nice vibe since there wasn't much room and you were close to the live music.


. Original Tramps was on 15th St. Just off Irving Place. Should have mentioned that The Palladium was previously The Academy of Music.

Andrew Duggan

Nice concise notes on some great NYC clubs.
I used to work in the bar at the Marquee and Woodies (both owned by the same people) and I, being a novice at the time, famously refused to serve Diana Ross's son (his father was part owner at the club). Fun fun fun place to work.
vernacular consequences

Elizabeth Chen

Great article! :) (I'm just encountering it now in erly '15, when I was searching for individual music venues in the City to look at their coming events calendars/websites individually.) The Limelight, Wetlands, Brownies of the East Village, Tramps, local bands Skeleton Key and Firewater, the original Knitting Factory (on my list). Thanks for writing it. You don't want to feel that your earlier life has just been a figment of your imagination. Especially concerts where they didn't allow you to take pictures aka evidence (which was all concerts back then!), except for stealthily like with a disposable camera (after they started mkg them) in my purse that they wdn't find because they didn't check that carefully or expected a heavy regular device. Disposable, in case they found it and then it could be tossed out or taken by them and you would only lose $13 in that case and wdn't have to waste time putting it back in your car or leaving the show. Photo-taking was not allowed. Lite digital cameras did not exist yet and obviously picture-taking cellphones and social media did not exist yet either. Throwback photos of concert nights were taken at your home before setting out to the concert--glee-filled smiles, expectation and maybe the t-shirt from the last concert of that act. Memory Lane.


What about The World? I saw Debbie Harry there back in 1989 or 1990. It was my first show in NYC, having moved from a tiny town on Cape Cod, and it blew my mnd.


I was in NYC for a Summer Camp at the 92Y and every weekend my friend Paul Harris and I went to the Cat Club (with a discount coupon from the Village Voice...).
We had the best nights at the Cat Club, it beat all the other clubs in NYC. We also saw Killing Joke play there! What a coincidence!
Do remember a BBQ in Queens, at the home of one of the men from behind the bar. Great, great memories indeed!

mark dacey

My band No More Tears ( not the Ozzie tribute band } played at The Ritz on 11th St two times in '84 -'85. We openned for The Beat Farmers and Bonnie Raitte right before she went real big. We were being courted by big time Premier Talent. Our lead guitarist yelled at our rep once after a sound recheck that involved Country Joe and the Fish keyboard player. Don't bite the hand that feeds ya! An so our demise. But not before we played Tramps and CBGB's trying to crawl out from under that rock with new personnel. Ahhh to no avail. But what a time we had. First real groupies too!! Thank You NYC!!!!!

KD Kling

Great article, brings it all back. I was at that GNR show at the ritz. Love the limelight for Sunday, Rock N Roll church nights. I saw the craziest stuff there. Glad to be part of NYC from 1990-2005


LOL, the craziest stuff at the Limelight for sure. It's ironic and sad, I remember hearing those back in the day stories about The Fillmore and Felt Forum days when I was a kid too young to be there, but experienced the 90's Era of famous clubs that no longer exist. Wow I feel old..haha


Oh man!! Memories! Saw Slash with Carol King and Les Paul at Tramps.


Roxy had live music sometimes - that was a great venue!


Prince 1998 after concert at Tramps was epic! Played until almost dawn. Will never forget.

lee shafer

johansen+tramps=great memories for me plus the first time i went there i saw lightnin' hopkins near the end

Irving Plaza

What about one of the best venues...Irving Plaza..?
And how can you include the like of Limelight, and not Danceteria..?
Their line-ups can't even be - shouldn't even be - compared. (And yeah, I was was very much there.)

Alex in NYC

Bully for you. I was there, too. But, in my experience, Danceteria was (a) comparatively short-lived and (b) less about being live venue so much as simply being an amazing club. Believe me, I adored Danceteria, but oh ..(c) it's my list. Start your own.


I saw Iggy Pop and Guns n Roses just a few months apart at the Continental in 1992!!! That dude Trigger was hands on and strict but maybe that's why he's lasted so long!


Randomly finding this, probably years too late! Best CMJ showcase ever late 90s Built to Spill, Modest mouse, 764-Hero. Also saw Low there with magnetic Fields.

Played Brownie's a couple times and the new Sin-e where the booker was a coked out photographer who took amazing pictures I still use.


Oh !!! nothing about The Bottom Line in Greewich Village ?

Alex in NYC

Hi Remy... Yeah, I liked the Bottom Line, too, but just not as much. I wrote about it in more depth here:


Fred Baxter

Tribeca Rock Club was so dank but I always had a blast!

Aaron C

Wow. I had totally forgotten about The Bottom Line. Saw Sam Phillips on her Martinis & Bikinis tour there, along with a couple other great acts. Found your page looking for The Grand, as I thought it was the club where I had seen Big Country, and lo and behold, you mentioned them. I saw a couple hundred shows in NYC in the 90s and that was seriously one of the best. Also loved Tramps and I agree 100% that Brownie's had the best sound system hands down. Thanks for the trip down memory lane!


Alot of these places were really cool. My band Short Happy Life played at Coney Island High in 1999/2000. One of the best NYC shows we had. Fun times.

Michael Cleaves

Coming way late to the party but Tramps was a really eclectic club then. I saw both Bootsy Collins and Stiff Little Fingers play there within the same couple of weeks in like 1995. I used to live about halfway between Coney Island High and Brownies and saw the Fall at Coney Island in 1998 (this isn't because I'm cool, it's because I'm lazy and the Fall is an easy show most of the time, which is why I've seen them about fifteen times). I wanted to go to the show a few days later at Brownies where they famously crashed but never ended up going. Greatly regret missing that, but, hey, it's on YouTube now.

Ken Maass

I waited an hour and a half for Otis Rush, the great Chicago blues guitarist to show up.He did, and played for 1 hour! July 11, 1992
And that aforementioned column was some pain in the ass to negotiate...Lol

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