Volume 75, Number 41 | March 1 -7 2006

Villager file photo

Hilly Kristal

C.B.G.B. owner says Essex building doesn’t rock

By Lincoln Anderson

“This ain’t no Mudd Club, or C.B.G.B.,” David Byrne sang. Hilly Kristal, owner of C.B.G.B., feels the same way about a property the city recently offered him for a new home for the legendary punk music club.

At the end of last year, Kristal reached an agreement with Bowery Residents’ Committee to vacate his space on the Bowery by this coming Halloween. Since then, he’s been looking both in Las Vegas and Manhattan for new locations to reopen.

Speaking on Monday, Kristal said he’d just returned from Vegas where he was checking out several different spaces. He said he likes one of the locations a lot but is “getting the money situation together first before we doing anything.”

“I like Las Vegas,” he said. “I’m a little sore about what happened in New York. But I really feel I would like to do it in New York, despite what happened. I have about three New York spaces I’m looking at, and I’m going to look at others too.”

In addition to B.R.C. effectively kicking Kristal out of the property C.B.G.B. occupied for 23 years, Kristal was also disappointed when Mayor Bloomberg’s pledge to help him find a new space didn’t pan out. According to Kristal, the city offered him the Essex Market building on Essex St. south of Delancey St. in the Seward Park Urban Renewal Area.

“We looked at that place that the mayor’s office was offering,” he said. “It has a little liquor store and coffee shop in it — we would have gotten the rest of the building…. It was nothing — it’s just a shell. They wanted an advance of $5 million. It was a bit of a shock to me. I thought they were going to get me a place that was going to be reasonable.”

By contrast, Kristal said, “The mayor’s office in Las Vegas has been very helpful. They’ve been finding me places. It’s a good feeling.”

Meanwhile, he said he’s having more luck working with Newmark Real Estate. He’s currently looking at two spots in Times Square, two in the East Village, one in Noho, another in Tribeca and two or three places above 14th St., including “two floors in an old printing factory around W. 18th St. It’s pretty reasonable,” he said.

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