An elegy for New York’s 1990s Gen X rock clubs

What were you doing during the last week of March 1992?

If you were a music-loving Gen-Xer, you might have been going through the latest Village Voice (yes, the print version that you actually paid for), scanning the ads to see which bands were playing any of the dozens of rock clubs scattered around Manhattan.

Almost all of these venues are gone; the bands that played there also almost all defunct, too.

Roseland, which hosted the Sugarcubes (“the coolest band in the world” according to Rolling Stone in 1988) and a bunch of other 1990s alternative bands, bit the dust in 2014.

CBGB had Toshi Reagon and Smashing Orange on their lineup this early spring week. Mission, in the East Village between A and B, drew more of a hardcore crowd, and women got in free with the ad above.

McGovern’s, on Spring Street, “used to be a great old dive,” according to the late great Lost City blog. Today it’s still a music club, Paul’s Casablanca.

Finally, what would 1990s New York be without the Knitting Factory? This ad is from the original location on East Houston Street, before the music and spoken word venue decamped to Tribeca and then relocated to Williamsburg, where it is today.

Look, indie favorite Luna appeared on April 3!

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9 Responses to “An elegy for New York’s 1990s Gen X rock clubs”

  1. Sally F Says:

    I loved this!! Thank you!

  2. countrypaul Says:

    Many of the venues may be gone, but Ticketmaster steamrolls on and on….

  3. ephemeralnewyork Says:

    Yes, a moment in New York’s downtown music timeline….

  4. petey Says:

    i was in knitting factory a few times when it was on houston street, didn’t go after it moved to brooklyn (same with roulette. i’ve become a lazy sod). i was/am a big eugene chadbourne fan, though i didn’t see him there.

  5. Kenny Says:

    Feels like thumbing thru the back pages of the Village Voice.

  6. Warren Says:

    Same thing happened to the disco clubs in the 80’s. A few bars now feature monthly disco nights but there is no club that is ‘dedicated’ to Saturday Ni8ght fever! I am on Long Island. NY and I practically ‘LIVED” in discoland from 1978 till Uncle Sam’s disco in Levittown Long Island burned down and the dicso scene died in the mid-80’s. Would love to see it return. Supposedly disco still lives on in Europe. I DJ;ed and still have a huge vinyl collection that hasn’t seen a ‘needle’ since then. OH, yes, there are a few guys playing disco in some bars on their laptops, but nothing matches the vibes of vinyl! The last real disco night was held in Zachary’s club as a “reunion” about 5 years ago but nothing like that since then.

  7. Warren Says:

    (Zachary’s club was also in Levittown, Long Island.)

  8. kjf821 Says:

    Almost all of the bands advertised for The Mission are downloaded on my phone right now. Still love the music, miss the old venues.

  9. Aaron Says:

    I was a Ward 6 and troublemakers regular for years.

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