Earlier this year, I had a chance to go to New York City. My one goal was to go to the John Varvatos store where CBGB&OMFUG used to be. As a music history buff and fan, for lack of a better word, I was initially upset at the fact that anyone would have the gall to destroy CBGB&OMFUG and not consider it a historical landmark of sorts. Then again, my disappointment with how things turned out for the Chelsea Hotel would only indicate that CBGB&OMFUG would be no exception to the long list of things that would make me wish I had lived in the era when both of these places were at their peak.
I took an Uber to this location after realizing that New York City driving is the equivalent of driving in Mexico City (both of which I’ve done and both make me a nervous wreck). Even though I was mentally prepared to hate everything about the area, I found that it was completely the opposite. Being on the Bowery… Seeing the Blondie mural, though not as exciting as it would have been to see Joey Ramone’s mural had it not been painted over to the current Blondie one… Even standing right outside of 315 Bowery; I couldn’t believe I was there. Fast forwarding to exiting the John Varvatos store, I crossed the street and went for a drink and dessert at Ghost Donkey. I sh!t you not, everything about this trip, in this specific location, was amazing to me. I almost had forgotten my exhaustion from lack of sleep since I had arrived to New York.
After speaking with the sales clerk, I found out that the store kept one of the walls intact, in glass, from how they found it when taking over the venue. There were vinyl records for sale, photo books, and a few t-shirts with music memorabilia. I was allowed to take pictures inside, so I wasted no time in looking through every nook and cranny. I was surprised that there were people outside of the music industry and not necessarily fans of the music/lifestyle that carried CBGB&OMFUG to the point where a lot of the stuff was either preserved and incorporated with their own venue, completely a different brand and concept from the previous.