by Kerry Burke
As the Fall music season opens, clubland has been ripped with major live venue closings, including such fixtures on New York's live music scene as Coney Island High, Tramps and the Bank. Gentrification, climbing commercial rents, hardball business practices and the city's rigid "Quality of Life" clampdown on clubs have made putting on live music among the most treacherous games in town. What happens when the music stops? Kerry Burke reports.
School's Out Forever
After an almost five-year run, Coney Island High closed Fourth of July weekend. Run by glam punk D-Generation frontman Jesse Malin, C.I. High was the vanguard of local underground guitar rock in New York City. Unfortunately, the two-story cinderblock venue sandwiched between piercing stands and Narcotics Anonymous on St. Marks Place was just as infamous for Community Board clashes, owner partnership squabbles and not paying its bills. Bankruptcy court ordered the club evicted with $125,000 owed in back rent to landlord Paul McGregor. The building is currently for sale, and no plans for reopening elsewhere have been forthcoming.
Louisiana's Real Estate Too Expensive page 2 >>>
On August 1, the Louisiana Community Bar and Grill, epicenter of the New York neo-swing revival, shut down after a successful seven-year run. Despite a $2 million investment in improvements, the lease on the 7,000-square-foot space on Broadway just north of Soho was up. Building owner Bong Yu was raising the rent more than 400%, from $12,000 to $50,000 a month. With only $160,000 in profits for 1998, according to talent manager Mark Campbell, "Louisiana could in no way keep up." Still embittered, Campbell told CitySearch, "With the city's prohibitive cabaret laws, Giuliani's hostility to the nightlife industry and commercial real estate running from $50 per square foot to $175 and beyond, relocating and reopening is nearly impossible."