As Billy Joel sings in his hit song “New York State of Mind”, “Some folks like to get away / Take a holiday from the neighborhood / Hop a flight to Miami Beach / Or to Hollywood / But I’m taking a Greyhound / On the Hudson River Line / I’m in a New York state of mind.” But Joel was not the only rockstar with this state of mind. He and so many other rockstars, including The Ramones, Bob Dylan, and Lou Reed, called the city of New York their home — at least for some time. In his latest book, New York Groove, journalist and photographer Frank Mastropolo details the venues, coffee houses, and studios frequented by these esteemed artists. Here are the top 10 rock n’ roll sites you can visit in New York City today!
Although the wild concerts put on by CBGB & OMFUG, otherwise known as Country, Bluegrass, Blues, and Other Music for Uplifting Gormandizers, no longer occur since the venue closed in 2006, you can still visit the space in its new form: a John Varvatos clothing store, Punk posters, stickers, and graffiti from the building’s vibrant past still line the walls. “CBGB is a state of mind,” Patti Smith told The New York Times at her final show there, which was also the final concert that occurred in the venue.
CBGB hosted notable rock artists, including The Ramones, Television, Talking Heads, the Heartbreakers, the Vibrators, and Blondie. According to Mastropolo, the performances these bands put on at the venue made CBGB “the mecca of punk rock and new wave music.” However, they also transformed the Bowery, the neighborhood CBGB sat in. When CBGB opened in 1973, it was the only entertainment or music venue in the area. By the time it closed decades later, CBGB had hosted scores of notable musicians and encouraged thousands to travel from far and wide to the Bowery to hear music and experience culture. Today, venues in the neighborhood include The Bowery Ballroom and The Bowery Electric, among others.