Exploring The Velvet Underground’s New York: 1963-1966

Exploring The Velvet Underground's New York: 1963-1966

Photos by Mark Satlof and Regina Joskow

Join world renowned Velvet Underground expert, Mark Satlof, for a tour of the Lower East Side and East Village where you will retrace the steps of this iconic band and explore locations that shaped their sound and legacy from 1963 to 1966!

  • Visit the site of the first performance by Lou Reed, John Cale and Sterling Morrison with Angus Maclise, a yet unnamed band
  • See where The Velvet Underground & Nico first performed as part of Andy Warhol’s groundbreaking Exploding Plastic Inevitable
  • Meet famous figures of the 1960s avant-garde music scene who were influential to the band’s sound
  • Stop by the bandmates’ former homes, recording studios, and more performance locations that were pivotal in the band’s rise to rock n’ roll fame
  • Note important historical landmarks and remnants of the EastVillage’s German community along the route

About the event:

In the early 1960s, the streets of New York City’s Lower East Side and East Village were buzzing with the sounds of a burgeoning music scene. It was during this time that a group of musicians, who would later become known as The Velvet Underground, started to come together. 

The journey begins in 1963 and 1964, when the future members of the Velvet Underground, including Lou Reed, John Cale, Sterling Morrison and Angus Maclise (and later Maureen “Moe” Tucker), moved to New York and started to cross paths in various ways. These early years laid the groundwork for the band’s formation, as they became part of the city’s vibrant avant-garde music, film and poetry scene.

The tour begins at the pivotal Lower East Side site where the band first became known as “The Velvet Underground” in the fall of 1965. Throughout the tour, participants are introduced to the vibrant avant-garde music scene of the early to mid-60s, which was instrumental in the formation of the Velvet Underground. You’ll hear about figures such as La Monte Young, Tony Conrad, and Terry Riley who played a crucial role in shaping the band’s experimental sound.

The tour also highlights historic buildings along the route, including neglected Federal townhouses and remnants of the German community of the East Village and CBGBs where, post-VU, John Cale and Nico performed and Lou Reed visited.

The Velvet Underground’s New York tour offers a rare insight into the fertile downtown avant-garde music scene of the early to mid-60s. It’s a journey through time, exploring the locations and stories that shaped one of the most influential bands in rock history. For fans of the Velvet Underground and music enthusiasts alike, this tour will provide a deeper understanding of the band’s origins and their lasting impact on the music world.


Mark Satlof is a fourth generation New Yorker and a current resident of Strivers Row in Harlem. He is a Licensed New York City Sightseeing Guide and a regular guide for Untapped New York’s Insiders. He received a BA in History from Columbia University. In addition to sharing his knowledge of NYC as a tour guide, he is a music publicist in his day job. His collection of Velvet Underground albums, the largest in the world, has been exhibited in part at the Whitney Museum and the Andy Warhol Museum.

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