Volume 73, Number 39 | January 28 - February 03, 2004

End of the Line, as famed Village music club closes

After almost 30 years as a musical bastion in Greenwich Village, the Bottom Line quietly closed its doors for the last time last week. Allan Pepper, a co-owner of the club with his partner, Stanley Snadowsky, turned over the keys personally last Thursday to someone at New York University.

The university, the landlord of the club at the corner of W. 3rd and Mercer Sts., took the Bottom Line to court for failure to pay more than $185,000 in accumulated back rent over a period of several years. Sirius Satellite Radio had put up the back rent, provided that N.Y.U. grant the club a 10-year lease. However, two sticking points remained: the $1.5 million N.Y.U. required the club to raise for interior and exterior renovations and N.Y.U.’s requirement for the club, which had been paying about half market-rate rent, to start paying close to market-rate rent.

The club raised several hundred thousand dollars, from contributions by the likes of Bruce Springsteen, who made his name when he played the club in the early 1970s, but couldn’t raise the full amount; and the rent remained an issue.

In a move some on Community Board 2 found inappropriate, the board had voted to recommend that N.Y.U. and the Bottom Line try to work out a solution so the legendary club could stay. City Councilmember Alan Gerson also advocated for the club and negotiated behind the scenes with N.Y.U. to no avail — and to criticism from an N.Y.U. spokesperson, who said it was improper for a councilmember to buck a judge’s eviction order.

Marc Alonso, the club’s lawyer, said, “It was an amicable parting. [The parties] obviously didn’t come to any terms on it.” Asked if the university had seized the club’s assets, Alonso said, “I don’t think they wanted the furniture.” Alonso said Pepper wasn’t in the mood to comment.

Meg Griffin, the New York deejay who worked with Pepper to try to save the club, said the end was not easy.

“It was a rough day,” she said. “This has been hard on Allan, his staff and his family, not to mention those of us who felt this stage should still remain in Greenwich Village.”

Josh Taylor, a university spokesperson, said, “It’s a very sad day for everyone.” The space will be converted into classrooms.


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