Results 1 to 1 of 1

Thread: NYC Hendrix street on the way?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Posts
    1,080
    Thanks
    645
    Thanked 1,168 Times in 276 Posts

    NYC Hendrix street on the way?

    N.Y. / REGION


    Hoping to Honor Hendrix on the Street Where He Once Lived
    By COREY KILGANNON OCT. 3, 2017


    A sign for “Hendrix Way” hangs over the door of Storm Ritter Studio on West Eighth Street. Credit Sara Naomi Lewkowicz for The New York Times


    The party was getting into groovy gear in the backyard of 50 West Eighth Street in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village.


    Inside a cottage apartment tucked behind this residential building, revelers could almost kiss the sky through the solarium’s sunroof. The revelry in the garden had a psychedelic “Apocalypse Now” theme, with partygoers dancing to Jimi Hendrix’s “Voodoo Chile” among bamboo stalks and tiki torches illuminating a tall shrinelike stone from Bali.


    Then the host, Rob Key, an internet entrepreneur who lives in the rental cottage, turned down the Hendrix and explained that the point of this party, on a recent weeknight, was to gather support to get the block of Eighth Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues named after Hendrix, who is believed to have lived in the cottage toward the end of his life.


    “Before he died, he built his studio on the other side of this wall,” said Mr. Key, referring to Electric Lady Studios next door, which Hendrix opened just before his death in 1970.


    “You guys can feel it in the air, right? Music doesn’t just disappear — it sticks around for a while,” Mr. Key told the gathering of local residents, merchants and artists, urging them to sign a petition supporting the effort. He introduced Storm Ritter, an artist who cuts a striking figure on the block in her loud retro outfits, and who last year opened Storm Ritter Studio, which sells original clothing and artwork, including hand-painted items.


    Mr. Key and Ms. Ritter both made the point that Hendrix embodies the rebellious and creative spirit that once made Eighth Street the hippest block in the Village. That spirit, they lamented, is sorely in need of bolstering today, as the block’s counterculture vibe has withered in the face of gentrification and rising rents.


    During a party at the cottage where Mr. Hendrix may have lived, Rob Key, the current occupant, was drumming up support for having the block named after the rock icon. Credit Sara Naomi Lewkowicz for The New York Times


    Electric Lady Studios has survived and there are still some scrappy, independent stores like the longtime Uncle Sam Army/Navy. There is Ms. Ritter’s funky boutique, which optimistically displays a mock “Hendrix Way” street sign over the entrance.


    But the block’s hodgepodge of businesses — upscale restaurants and fast-food places, massage and nail salons, coffee shops, not to mention the handful of vacant storefronts – lack a cohesive spirit that Hendrix espoused, Ms. Ritter said.


    Richard Geist, who opened Uncle Sam’s in 1998, said there was little on the block to attract tourists.


    “Gentrification is killing us,” he said. “Eighth Street has lost the magic and we want to bring that magic back, and bring traffic back to help business.”


    Renaming the block after Hendrix would honor the musician and might help rekindle some of the creativity and self-expression the block once had, Ms. Ritter said, adding that it could also have the commercial benefit of attracting visitors and shoppers whose numbers have declined greatly.


    “We all want the street to be cooler,” she said. This stretch of Eighth Street was once part of the Village’s main crosstown commercial thoroughfare and an epicenter for counterculture and creativity.


    In 1931, Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney established the Whitney Museum of American Art on the block, and even before that, the block’s Bohemian vibe was sewn by actors like Lillian Gish and John Barrymore who lived in the Hotel Marlton, an affordable single-room occupancy hotel that later housed many other prominent actors, as well as the comedian Lenny Bruce during his widely publicized six-month trial for obscenity in 1964.


    By the 1950s, the block was lined with cabarets, including the Bon Soir, which helped give Barbra Streisand her start. There was the Eighth Street Bookshop, a favorite of the Beat writers and poets, including Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg.


    But the block’s counterculture character had begun to fade by the 1970s and gave way to crime in the 80s. The Marlton became a college dorm. In the 1990s, national retailers like Kmart and Genovese drugs arrived.

    Today, even the crowds of young people who came for the head shops, T-shirt emporiums and glam-trashy-fashion boutiques have waned. The Marlton is now a renovated, modern hotel.

    Hendrix lived a famously unsettled life as a constantly traveling musician and lived for short periods in numerous places in New York and other cities. John Storyk, a Manhattan architect who helped Hendrix design the recording studio and its acoustics, said he recalled Hendrix living in the cottage.


    Obtaining a street co-naming — the honorary name is typically posted along with the original — requires a proposal to the local Community Board 2. If approved, a local Council member — Councilman Corey Johnson and Councilwoman Margaret Chin represent parts of the block — would then have to propose the co-naming to the full City Council for a vote. The Council typically approves about 100 new street names each year citywide.


    Bob Gormley, the district manager of Community Board 2, said the board’s guidelines ask applicants to explain in detail the nominee’s relationship and contributions to a block.



    Lee Foster, the general manager of Electric Lady Studios, said that while many original features were preserved, including some instruments and murals, the technology has been modernized to audio engineering levels that have attracted Lady Gaga, Adele and U2. Credit Sara Naomi Lewkowicz for The New York Times


    Mr. Key was confident that he could make the case for Hendrix, who was known for his outsize musical success in only a handful of years as a prominent musician. He left behind Electric Lady, a cultural landmark, and the reputation he bestowed on the block has inspired locals for decades. Mr. Key, who has no documention to prove that Hendrix had actually lived in the cottage, said he and others had collected more than 1,000 signatures on the street-naming petition and would try to shore up more community support before starting the official submission process.


    He walked through his cottage, whose walls are sufficiently insulated that he hears very little music from the studio — except once, when Kanye West was recording.


    “The walls were shaking,” he recalled.


    A small group from the party slipped out for a late night tour of Electric Lady Studios, where the likes of Rolling Stones, Stevie Wonder and David Bowie recorded.


    Lee Foster, the studio’s general manager, told the group that while many original features were preserved, including some instruments and hand-painted wall murals, the studio technology has been modernized since 1970 to audio engineering levels that have attracted the likes of Lady Gaga, Adele and U2. Mr. Foster wore a necklace adorned with two silver-plated cigarette butts from a memorable cigarette break with the Rolling Stone guitarist Keith Richards.


    Mr. Foster walked through a spacious studio where Hendrix made some of his final recordings and where David Bowie and John Lennon came up with the song “Fame.”


    Back at the party, Mr. Key said he hoped the Hendrix energy and his music that still lingers along Eighth Street might help the block get its mojo back.


    “I’m worried about the gentrification of the block,” he said. “The history of New York gets lost sometimes and that’s what this is all about.”
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------
    More photos, including Electric Lady Studios, here: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/03/n...x-way-nyc.html

    Further info: http://www.okayplayer.com/culture/ji...h-village.html

  2. The Following 10 Users Say Thank You to Rubem For This Useful Post:


Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Powered by vBitty (VBTT) 4 for XBT v1.1 CUSTOM by Toolmanwill