Punk History Tour

Punk has left marks all over the Lower East Side of Manhattan and its surroundings since the term was first coined in the mid-1970s. Legendary punk hot spots like the Mercer, Coney Island High and Max’s Kansas City are long gone, but there are still places in Manhattan for fans to get their punk rock history fix. Here are some of our favorites.

315 Bowery
The best-known and most beloved punk rock joint in NYC was CBGB. This grimy, anything-goes, no holds barred bar and live venue launched the careers of Blondie, Talking Heads, Patti Smith and The Ramones in the mid-1970s and was the first place in the entire world to garner a real-life punk rock community. In the 1980s, it was an outpost for East Coast Hardcore bands, like Bad Brains, Sick Of It All, Gorilla Biscuits and Youth of Today. It continued thriving as a popular live venue until doors closed in 2006 after a rent dispute. A John Varvatos store has since moved in, despite having to deal with the remnants of CBGBs – including the (reportedly) worst bathroom in North America.

Joey Ramone Place
East 2nd St, at Bowery
Joey Ramone died in 2001, at the age of 49, but he left his mark on the Lower East Side in more ways than one. Joey Ramone Place is a block of East 2nd St, at Bowery, that Joey and band-mate Dee Dee had once lived on. It was posthumously named after the charismatic Ramones frontman in November 2003. By 2010, the Associated Press was reporting that it was New York’s most stolen sign and it ultimately had to be moved to a height of 20 feet to prevent more thefts. It’s impossible not to think of Joey in his shades and leather every time you pass.

St. Mark’s Hotel
2 St Mark’s Place
St. Mark’s Hotel might be a “newly renovated historic hotel” these days, but punks remember this place for one reason and one reason only: this is where GG Allin lived. And anywhere that survived having GG Allin as a tenant needs to be applauded. Allin did some crazy stuff on stage – just imagine what he was up to in the privacy of his own home. GG Allin’s last show took place at 194 E. 2nd Street, at a venue called The Gas Station.

Joe Strummer Mural
112 Avenue A
In 2003, a year after the legendary Clash frontman’s death, a mural went up in his honor in Alphabet City. Painted by street artists Zephyr and Dr. Revolt, the colorful depiction of the punk hero is on Avenue A at 7th St, and tells those who pass to “KNOW YOUR RIGHTS!” A fitting tribute for the human rights campaigner, but we only wish it were on the side of the Bond’s International Casino on 1526 Broadway in Times Square, where the Clash did a series of 17 concerts in May and June of 1981.

The Chelsea

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