Classic rock club CBGB’s shuttered its doors what seems like ages ago in October 2006. Now the tenant at the venue’s former space at 315 Bowery is high-end menswear designer John Varvatos. While buying a pair of expensive (if well-made) trousers has its own unique appeal, it doesn’t come close to the idea of pogo-ing like a maniac atop a sticky, beer-drenched floor at a Ramones show circa 1975, the air laced with the stench of sweat and the tingle of palpable excitement. But it’s not too late to catch a glimpse of the East Village/Lower East Side icon, at least in high-resolution interactive JPEG format.
Visitors to the club’s official Web site, http://www.cbgb.com, can take a virtual tour of the hallowed halls that once saw the shuffling of Converse sneakers belonging to such rock luminaries as Debbie Harry and Patti Smith.
The tour is comprised of incredible 360 degree panoramic photographs taken by Jook Leung at the time of the club’s closure. A control panel at the bottom of the screen allows viewers to zoom in and out at any given point. Clickable arrows provide easy navigation between the different rooms on view, which include the graffiti and poster-covered entrance and main aisle, the mixer, the bar, the stage, the performers’ dressing rooms, the office area, and of course, the famously dilapidated bathrooms.
The quality of the photography is so crystal-clear that I could ascertain the prices of the bar’s drinks (a bottle of Pabst Blue Ribbon beer went for $4.50, a price that seems steep compared to the standard $2 price tag of a PBR in many a bar in Williamsburg, but hey, this was CBGB’s).
So, the virtual tour is no substitute for the actual, cement and concrete CBGB’s of yore. But, it’s a fitting memorial to a place that still holds a prominent position in the history of both modern rock music and of a grittier New York.
If you squint, you can almost see David Byrne and the rest of the Talking Heads onstage doing a rendition of “Psycho Killer.” Almost.
Link: CBGB’s Virtual Tour
All screenshots taken by myself of Jook Leung’s original photography for PD360 and used on http://www.cbgb.com