CBGBs Re-opens as Airport Burger Bar
Investors who bought the marketing rights to iconic New York punk bar CBGBs have launched a fast food franchise in Terminal C at Newark Liberty Airport, selling cheeseburgers for US$14 and US$11 chicken wings.
New York underground expert and acclaimed artist Clayton Patterson was unimpressed.
“This commerce of using legendary NYC Underground characters for profit and cultural identity is, to say the least, sad,” he said.
“None of these for-profit people supported the legends when they were alive, and now, after they are dead, they blow them up to make money on their legacy.” (BoweryBoogie.com )
New York Post critic Hardeep Phull was less concerned, noting that the once iconic (and infamously run-down) dive bar had long been swamped by ‘dopey tourists’ during its latter years based at its original downtown location.
“CBGB is basically a brand that represents New York City to people who don’t live in New York City,” he suggested. “That’s the way it’s been for years, and that’s why the idea of it being reborn as a restaurant in Newark fits perfectly.”
CBs founder Hilly Krystal, who died in 2007, talked to Skrufff in 2002 when the club released a CD compilation ‘CBGB’s and the Birth of US Punk’ and was surprisingly upbeat about the benefits merchandising brought him as gentrification increasingly crippled the long term viability of the legendary Lower East Side venue.
“The fashion thing has really taken off, it’s wonderful because I’m no longer struggling (financially) so much. Through the years it’s been tough, and it’s not been as easy as people think. My rent now is 25 thousand a month, it used to be 700 a month,” said Hilly.
“When I started doing the Internet, that’s when the T shirt thing really started to grow. Initially we were getting 300 or 400 visitors, then when we added the store, we got up to 3,000 visitors a day a year ago.”
“3,000 people a day times 365 is a million people a year and lots of them go and buy T shirts. It also spreads the word more,” he noted.