Volume 78 / Number 12, August 20 - 26, 2008
West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since

Mayor Bloomberg had fun in Bruce Springsteen’s ’57 Chevy on Mercer St. last Wednesday.

The heart of rock and roll is still beatin’…in Soho

By Sisi Wei

Following the rumble of loud rock music, Mayor Mike Bloomberg last week announced the planned opening of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum annex in Soho this November.

“There really isn’t a more fitting spot for this museum than New York, the hometown of Hall of Famers like the Velvet Underground, Paul Simon and Blondie,” Bloomberg said.

The mayor, along with singer Billy Joel; record producer Clive Davis; Terry Stewart, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum C.E.O.; Joel Peresman, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation C.E.O.; and George Fertitta, NYC & Company C.E.O., stood at 76 Mercer St., the location of the upcoming annex, to celebrate the museum’s first new location away from its Cleveland home.

“So often one reads, ‘Is music dying? Is rock dying?’” said Davis, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2000. “The fact is that music is ever still so vital. Building the annex reflects that the interest in music is so strong that for the first time the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum will extend its reach and establish this terrific exhibition space in New York City.” Davis, one of the music industry’s major moguls, is the founder of Arista Records and former president of Columbia Records.

“New York gave me my words and my music and rock and roll gave me a place for that music to live,” said Joel, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1999. “I started playing in clubs in New York City.”

The 25,000-square-foot annex was chosen for its size, Soho location and easy accessibility to public transportation, said Peresman.

The thousands of tourists the annex will attract also means more jobs for New Yorkers, said Bloomberg.

“There is no better time than right now for the Rock and Roll Museum annex to be here,” said Fertitta, who hopes the museum’s opening will help the city reach its goal of 47.7 million annual visitors for 2008.

The annex will be showcasing pieces such as Bruce Springsteen’s 1957 Chevy, a phone booth from CBGB and Eric Clapton’s acoustic guitar, all of which were displayed at the announcement.

The annex will also feature permanent exhibits, such as “New York Rocks,” which will display an interactive map highlighting locations that have musical significance around the city, like Studio 54 and the Chelsea Hotel. Another gallery, “Roots and Influences,” will explain how yesterday’s musicians affect today’s artists — for example, how James Brown shaped rapper 50 Cent or how the Velvet Underground influenced Coldplay.

New York was an obvious choice for the museum’s first annex, said Peresman. “New York really gave birth to rock and roll,” he said.

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