clock menu more-arrow no yes

Map: New York City's 1970s Music Scene for HBO's Vinyl

View as Map


Vinyl, HBO's new series premiering this weekend, offers a fictionalized look at New York's famous early '70s music scene, a crucible of U.S. punk music celebrated by many as the gritty (and affordable!) heyday of the city's creative class. While some of that may be open to interpretation, there's no question that the era left a mark on the city's music and nightlife scene. Produced by the heavy-hitting trio of Mick Jagger, Martin Scorsese, and Terence Winter, the series centers on the coke-addicted head of American Century Records, Richie Finestra (played by Bobby Cannavale), who is searching for inspiration and a bankable next big thing in New York. Early reviews suggest the show aims to recreate the key venues of that era; the first episode includes a show at the Mercer Arts Center featuring the New York Dolls. To celebrate this vital period in New York culture, we've assembled a map of some of the key spots in the 1970s punk music scene.


· What Has Become of New York City's Iconic Music Venues? [Curbed New York]
· Reel Places archives [Curbed]

Read More

1. CBGB & OMFUG

Copy Link
315 Bowery
New York, NY 10003

The icon most associated with the music of this era, this former biker bar was originally opened by Hilly Krystal in 1969 under the name Hilly’s on the Bowery. Krystal also owned an East Village bar called Hilly’s, but when that was shut down due to noise complaints, he decided to focus on this run-down spot (with its famously disgusting bathroom), and rechristened it with the awkward acronym CBGB & OMFUG (Country, Bluegrass, Blues and Other Music For Uplifting Gormandizers). At a time when booking new bands was nearly impossible, two neighborhood music fans, Bill Page and Rusty McKenna, convinced Krystal to let them book concerts, filling a void left after the Mercer Arts Center closed in 1973. After early shows by groups such as Suicide and Television, it became a center of the burgeoning punk scene. The much-loved venue was closed in 2006, and now houses a John Varvatos store. Oddly, CBGBs will soon “reopen” as a restaurant in Newark Airport. [Image via Wikimedia Commons]

2. Max's Kansas City

Copy Link
213 Park Ave S
New York, NY 10003

One of, if not the, legendary hangouts for New York’s creative class during the ’60s and ’70s, this steakhouse/bar/club founded by Mickey Ruskin in 1965 was a haunt of Andy Warhol and those in the Factory orbit, a favorite spot of the Velvet Underground (who recorded an album during one of their many gigs in the back room), and supposedly the room where Lou Reed, Iggy Pop, and David Bowie met for the first time. Ruskin, an art-world impresario with a chipped gold tooth, transformed a run-down Southern Restaurant into a scenstery canteen and salon with red vinyl booths, attracting all manner of artists. The name was supposedly suggested by poet Joel Oppenheimer, since Kansas City and steaks seemed like a good match, and Max’s just seemed like a reputable name. Ruskin’s run with Max’s ended in 1974, but shortly thereafter, Tommy Dean Mills reopened the venue as a punk club and booked shows with the likes of Blondie and the Ramones until 1981. Last fall, it was reported that Scorsese had recreated Max’s for Vinyl, so expect a cameo this season.

3. Academy of Music/Palladium

Copy Link
126 E 14th St
New York, NY 10003

Designed by Thomas Lamb in the 1920s to be a massive movie house, this 3,500-seat-venue venue also became a key concert venue in the ’60s and ’70s, playing host to a variety of big names and international stars as well as local acts. On New Year’s Eve 1976, for instance, the venue hosted a mean triple bill featuring the Patti Smith Group, Television, and John Cale; The Clash and Roxy Music made their NYC debuts here. The venue got a second life in the ’80s when it was remodeled and reborn as a club—Studio 54 owners Steve Rubell and Ian Schrager turned it into a home for New Wave and house music—and served as an anchor of the downtown dance scene until it was demolished for NYU housing in 1997. You may recognize it now as a Trader Joe’s. [Image via Rock Cellar Magazine]

4. Mercer Arts Center

Copy Link
240 Mercer St
New York, NY 10012

Club promoter Art D’Lugoff took a former flophouse, the University Hotel, and attempted to build a multifaceted arts center for the downtown arts scene in 1971. The 35,000-square-foot space, once the grand Broadway Central Hotel, hosted an array of plays, exhibitions, film screenings, and rock shows, and was a nexus of arts and culture until, tragically, the building collapsed in 1973. A string of shows by artists like the Modern Lovers, Suicide, and most importantly the New York Dolls, who had a regular residency at the Mercer, helped set the stage for the growth of the punk scene. Like many other locations on this map, the land that once held the arts complex is owned by NYU.

5. The Bottom Line

Copy Link
15 West 4th Street
New York, NY 10012

A Greenwich Village haven for live music in the ’70s and ’80s, the Bottom Line hosted acts such as Lou Reed, who recorded a live album here in 1978, and then-upstart Bruce Springsteen (who “climbed on every possible thing” during a series of shows here in 1975 that established him as an up-and-comer). Founded in 1974 by Stanley and Allan Pepper, friends who grew up together in Brooklyn and had been booking shows around town, the club, named after a common phrase they heard in the music business, earned a reputation as a place to scout talent and a venue with great sound, since it had a then-unheard of sound crew running the stage. In 2003, the building’s landlord, NYU, increased the rent, and despite support from celebrities, the club was forced to close its doors. The building is now home to college classrooms.

6. Mudd Club

Copy Link
77 White St
New York, NY 10013

This self-described cabaret in Tribeca, named after the doctor who treated presidential assassin John Wilkes Booth, entered the club scene in 1978 and quickly became a go-to spot, with an ahead-of-its time gender-neutral bathroom and an art gallery curated by Keith Haring. Opened by Steve Mass, art curator Diego Cortez and punk figurehead Anya Phillips in a loft owned by painter Ross Bleckner, it became a sensation. The venue hosted fashion shows and concerts featuring No Wave and punk acts; was a hang-out for art-world stars such as Basquiat (and his then-girlfriend Madonna); and was namechecked in songs by the Ramones and Talking Heads. The club, which closed its doors in 1983, was famously captured in a People magazine article which said, “By day the winos skid by without a second glance. But come midnight (the opening time), the decked-out decadents amass 13 deep. For sheer kinkiness, there has been nothing like it since the cabaret scene in 1920s Berlin.” The building is now a series of residential lofts.

7. Anderson Theater/CBGB's 2nd Avenue Theater

Copy Link
66 2nd Ave
New York, NY 10003

CBGB’s role in the punk scene is well documented. But the club’s spin-off venue, a larger concert hall meant for bigger crowds, also had a solid run in the late ’70s. Designed by David M. Oltarsh & H. Craig Severance in the Classical Revival style, the building opened in 1926 and had various incarnations as a theater for Jewish plays and Yiddish vaudeville (the area was once called the Jewish Rialto), as well as a Spanish-language cinema. Krystal and CBGB’s rented the space from 1977 to 1979 for concerts, including the Talking Heads and Pati Smith. According to the Streets You Crossed blog about NYC rock venues, when it was run by CBGB’s, the venue was decrepit, poorly heated, and had decades of dust on the floor. It’s since been converted into a series of apartments. [Image from It's All The Streets You Crossed So Long Ago]

8. Great Gildersleeves

Copy Link
331 Bowery
New York, NY 10003

Located just a block away from CBGB’s, this club offered an additional stage for the city’s punk bands from roughly 1979 to 1984, and booked a mixture of punk, New Wave, and hardcore bands, such as Black Flag. The building is currently a shelter for the homeless run by Project Renewal.

9. Club 82

Copy Link
82 E 4th St
New York, NY 10003

A legendary gay bar famous for its drag revue in the ’50s and ’60s lead by Kitt Russell, the club had lost some of its cache in the ’70s before being briefly reborn as a concert venue. It was the scene of early shows by the New York Dolls in the 1970s, along with shows by Another Pretty Face and Blondie’s first band, the Stilettos. The venue was later an after-hours club and is now Club 82 Bijou Theater. [Via Queer Music Heritage ]

10. Coventry Club

Copy Link
4703 Queens Blvd
Rego Park, NY 11374

A massive warehouse-like club in Queens famous for being the spot where KISS played their first show, this venue, formerly the Popcorn Pub, offered a venue to play outside the Max’s/Mercer orbit in the early ’70s.

Loading comments...

1. CBGB & OMFUG

315 Bowery, New York, NY 10003

The icon most associated with the music of this era, this former biker bar was originally opened by Hilly Krystal in 1969 under the name Hilly’s on the Bowery. Krystal also owned an East Village bar called Hilly’s, but when that was shut down due to noise complaints, he decided to focus on this run-down spot (with its famously disgusting bathroom), and rechristened it with the awkward acronym CBGB & OMFUG (Country, Bluegrass, Blues and Other Music For Uplifting Gormandizers). At a time when booking new bands was nearly impossible, two neighborhood music fans, Bill Page and Rusty McKenna, convinced Krystal to let them book concerts, filling a void left after the Mercer Arts Center closed in 1973. After early shows by groups such as Suicide and Television, it became a center of the burgeoning punk scene. The much-loved venue was closed in 2006, and now houses a John Varvatos store. Oddly, CBGBs will soon “reopen” as a restaurant in Newark Airport. [Image via Wikimedia Commons]

315 Bowery
New York, NY 10003

2. Max's Kansas City

213 Park Ave S, New York, NY 10003

One of, if not the, legendary hangouts for New York’s creative class during the ’60s and ’70s, this steakhouse/bar/club founded by Mickey Ruskin in 1965 was a haunt of Andy Warhol and those in the Factory orbit, a favorite spot of the Velvet Underground (who recorded an album during one of their many gigs in the back room), and supposedly the room where Lou Reed, Iggy Pop, and David Bowie met for the first time. Ruskin, an art-world impresario with a chipped gold tooth, transformed a run-down Southern Restaurant into a scenstery canteen and salon with red vinyl booths, attracting all manner of artists. The name was supposedly suggested by poet Joel Oppenheimer, since Kansas City and steaks seemed like a good match, and Max’s just seemed like a reputable name. Ruskin’s run with Max’s ended in 1974, but shortly thereafter, Tommy Dean Mills reopened the venue as a punk club and booked shows with the likes of Blondie and the Ramones until 1981. Last fall, it was reported that Scorsese had recreated Max’s for Vinyl, so expect a cameo this season.

213 Park Ave S
New York, NY 10003

3. Academy of Music/Palladium

126 E 14th St, New York, NY 10003

Designed by Thomas Lamb in the 1920s to be a massive movie house, this 3,500-seat-venue venue also became a key concert venue in the ’60s and ’70s, playing host to a variety of big names and international stars as well as local acts. On New Year’s Eve 1976, for instance, the venue hosted a mean triple bill featuring the Patti Smith Group, Television, and John Cale; The Clash and Roxy Music made their NYC debuts here. The venue got a second life in the ’80s when it was remodeled and reborn as a club—Studio 54 owners Steve Rubell and Ian Schrager turned it into a home for New Wave and house music—and served as an anchor of the downtown dance scene until it was demolished for NYU housing in 1997. You may recognize it now as a Trader Joe’s. [Image via Rock Cellar Magazine]

126 E 14th St
New York, NY 10003

4. Mercer Arts Center

240 Mercer St, New York, NY 10012

Club promoter Art D’Lugoff took a former flophouse, the University Hotel, and attempted to build a multifaceted arts center for the downtown arts scene in 1971. The 35,000-square-foot space, once the grand Broadway Central Hotel, hosted an array of plays, exhibitions, film screenings, and rock shows, and was a nexus of arts and culture until, tragically, the building collapsed in 1973. A string of shows by artists like the Modern Lovers, Suicide, and most importantly the New York Dolls, who had a regular residency at the Mercer, helped set the stage for the growth of the punk scene. Like many other locations on this map, the land that once held the arts complex is owned by NYU.

240 Mercer St
New York, NY 10012

5. The Bottom Line

15 West 4th Street, New York, NY 10012

A Greenwich Village haven for live music in the ’70s and ’80s, the Bottom Line hosted acts such as Lou Reed, who recorded a live album here in 1978, and then-upstart Bruce Springsteen (who “climbed on every possible thing” during a series of shows here in 1975 that established him as an up-and-comer). Founded in 1974 by Stanley and Allan Pepper, friends who grew up together in Brooklyn and had been booking shows around town, the club, named after a common phrase they heard in the music business, earned a reputation as a place to scout talent and a venue with great sound, since it had a then-unheard of sound crew running the stage. In 2003, the building’s landlord, NYU, increased the rent, and despite support from celebrities, the club was forced to close its doors. The building is now home to college classrooms.

15 West 4th Street
New York, NY 10012

6. Mudd Club

77 White St, New York, NY 10013

This self-described cabaret in Tribeca, named after the doctor who treated presidential assassin John Wilkes Booth, entered the club scene in 1978 and quickly became a go-to spot, with an ahead-of-its time gender-neutral bathroom and an art gallery curated by Keith Haring. Opened by Steve Mass, art curator Diego Cortez and punk figurehead Anya Phillips in a loft owned by painter Ross Bleckner, it became a sensation. The venue hosted fashion shows and concerts featuring No Wave and punk acts; was a hang-out for art-world stars such as Basquiat (and his then-girlfriend Madonna); and was namechecked in songs by the Ramones and Talking Heads. The club, which closed its doors in 1983, was famously captured in a People magazine article which said, “By day the winos skid by without a second glance. But come midnight (the opening time), the decked-out decadents amass 13 deep. For sheer kinkiness, there has been nothing like it since the cabaret scene in 1920s Berlin.” The building is now a series of residential lofts.

77 White St
New York, NY 10013

7. Anderson Theater/CBGB's 2nd Avenue Theater

66 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10003

CBGB’s role in the punk scene is well documented. But the club’s spin-off venue, a larger concert hall meant for bigger crowds, also had a solid run in the late ’70s. Designed by David M. Oltarsh & H. Craig Severance in the Classical Revival style, the building opened in 1926 and had various incarnations as a theater for Jewish plays and Yiddish vaudeville (the area was once called the Jewish Rialto), as well as a Spanish-language cinema. Krystal and CBGB’s rented the space from 1977 to 1979 for concerts, including the Talking Heads and Pati Smith. According to the Streets You Crossed blog about NYC rock venues, when it was run by CBGB’s, the venue was decrepit, poorly heated, and had decades of dust on the floor. It’s since been converted into a series of apartments. [Image from It's All The Streets You Crossed So Long Ago]

66 2nd Ave
New York, NY 10003

8. Great Gildersleeves

331 Bowery, New York, NY 10003

Located just a block away from CBGB’s, this club offered an additional stage for the city’s punk bands from roughly 1979 to 1984, and booked a mixture of punk, New Wave, and hardcore bands, such as Black Flag. The building is currently a shelter for the homeless run by Project Renewal.

331 Bowery
New York, NY 10003

9. Club 82

82 E 4th St, New York, NY 10003

A legendary gay bar famous for its drag revue in the ’50s and ’60s lead by Kitt Russell, the club had lost some of its cache in the ’70s before being briefly reborn as a concert venue. It was the scene of early shows by the New York Dolls in the 1970s, along with shows by Another Pretty Face and Blondie’s first band, the Stilettos. The venue was later an after-hours club and is now Club 82 Bijou Theater. [Via Queer Music Heritage ]

82 E 4th St
New York, NY 10003

10. Coventry Club

4703 Queens Blvd, Rego Park, NY 11374

A massive warehouse-like club in Queens famous for being the spot where KISS played their first show, this venue, formerly the Popcorn Pub, offered a venue to play outside the Max’s/Mercer orbit in the early ’70s.

4703 Queens Blvd
Rego Park, NY 11374