The Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation (GVSHP) has been commemorating locations in the Village with plaques to remind people of famous sites and introduce some that aren’t so well-known. On October 29th, the GVSHP will be celebrating the former Fillmore East with a historic plaque marking the concert hall that was at 2nd Avenue and 6th Street from 1968-1971. In celebration of the site, there will be performances by guitarist Lenny Kaye and founder of the Joshua Light Show, Joshua White. The event will take place at 105 Second Avenue, the concert hall’s former address, now an Apple Bank.
The Fillmore East opened in 1968 as a sister venue to the Fillmore West in San Francisco. Quickly, the East Village location became the place to see live music in New York and hosted artists like The Beach Boys, Van Morrison, The Grateful Dead, Led Zeppelin, Santana, Neil Young, The Who, Chuck Barry, Jimi Hendricks, Janis Joplin, Frank Zappa, John Lennon and Yoko Ono, and so many more. Hippies and rock fans gathered here for its “unique warmth, spirit, innovation and the finest popular music.”
The theatre closed in 1971 because the owner didn’t like what the music scene was turning into: bands charging higher rates than ever and increasing use of hard drugs in the music scene. The neighborhood itself was toughening as well, hippies being replaced by harder drug addicts.
The Fillmore East’s Medieval cacade remains intact.
The building itself opened in 1926 as a Yiddish theatre, soon became the Loew’s Commodore movie theatre, then the Village Theatre. Following its history as an entertainment hub, it became the Fillmore East for a short four years, and moved on to host one of the hippest gay nightclub in town, The Saint. After the AIDS epidemic of the 80s, Emigrant Bank took over 105 Second Ave. in 1995, then switched to the current Apple Bank in 2013. In 1997, the auditorium at the rear of the building was torn down to be replaced by apartments but some of the Second Avenue facade remains.
The history of 105 Second Avenue is commemorated in the current bank with photos of the entertainment venues of its past. For more on the history of Fillmore East, check out History of the Fillmore East in the East Village as The Allman Brothers Say Farewell.
For more on the GVSHP plaque event, see GVSHP Events.