Tour the Meccas of East Village Punk via Our Building Blocks Website

The East Village is generally credited with being the birthplace of punk music, which emanated from CBGB in the mid-1970s and the bands who played there, including the Ramones, Television, Richard Hell and the Voidoids, and the Dictators. The music’s roots also can be found in the neighborhood, especially from bands like the Velvet Underground and the New York Dolls, who also performed in and were deeply connected to the neighborhood. Throughout the 1970s and 80s, the East Village remained an epicenter of punk music. The latest tour added to our East Village Building Blocks website includes music venues, stores, and residences associated with this punk music and its culture.

Below are a few examples of the locations on the full tour, which includes about 20 sites, and which you can access here.

2001 Joey Ramone Memorial in front of CBGB, 315 Bowery. Photo via Village Preservation Image Archive, archive.gvshp.org

CBGB – 315 Bowery

From 1973 to 2006, CBGB’s was an influential incubator for underground groups in the punk rock scene. The venue remains an extraordinary icon of the East Village music scene. Its full name, CBGB’s & OMFUG, which stood for “Country Bluegrass Blues and Other Music for Uplifting Gormandizers” actually belied the club’s status as an incubator for underground groups. The Ramones, Blondie, Patti Smith, and the Talking Heads all got their start at what owner Hilly Krystal opened as a blues and country music club. You can read more about CBGB in past Off the Grid posts. The legendary venue closed and was replaced by a John Varvatos store in 2006.
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2001 Joey Ramone Memorial in front of CBGB, 315 Bowery. Photo via Village Preservation Image Archive, archive.gvshp.org

The Palladium – 140 East 14th Street

Many punk and other bands played here in the 1960s and 1970s before it was converted to a nightclub in 1985. The Clash, a band from the original wave of British punk rock, played here in September 1979 during their The Clash Take the Fifth tour. A photo from this concert became the cover art for the band’s London Calling album. In the photo, bassist Paul Simonon smashes his Fender Precision Bass on the stage in a grainy, hazy, show-lit scene. The photo holds immense energy; we never actually get to see the destruction of the instrument, but we get to very vividly imagine how it went. The album cover is still in circulation, gracing t-shirts and posters, memorializing a moment of Village music history, and the bass itself, which now, in all its pieces, resides in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland.  The palladium was demolished by NYU to build dorms in 1997.

Trash and Vaudeville – 4 St. Mark’s Place and 96 East 7th Street

Opened in 1976, this store is famous for clothing stars like the Ramones and Debbie Harry of Blondie during the golden age of punk rock. From 1976-2016 the business was located at 4 St. Mark’s Place in the landmarked Hamilton-Holly House. In 2016 it moved to 96 East 7th Street.

Trash and Vaudeville’s old location, on the lower levels of the historic Hamilton-Holly House

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