9. ABC No Rio

After the Real Estate Show was shut down by police in 1980, city officials struck a deal with the artists of the Committee for the Real Estate Show. They let the group choose a store front from any one of the city’s tax-defaulted properties, which was thousands. For $1, they chose a venue not far from 123 Delancey Street, named it ABC No Rio, where they held art shows with performance nights, music events, and all kinds of “frenetic kinds of cultural activity such self-organized places run by young people are known for,” often with themed nights.

As to who could participate? Alan Moore explained that “if people could handle the poor Caribbean neighborhood, and the anarchist assembly that decided our programming, they could work with us.” The venue became one of the view places in the artworld to show works and allow productions by artists of color. ABC No Rio sparked important collaborations and became a political center of art and culture.

As the ’80s chugged on and the situation in the city grew worse, the ABC No Rio became a center for to create props for demonstrations against the dirty war in El Salvador. Today, ABC No Rio continues to be a “collectively-run center for art and activism” in Manhattan’s Lower East Side. It can be found at 156 Rivington Street. A forthcoming renovation, however, is in the works.