Today the New York Times sports a Ben Sisario article about the Knitting Factory’s move to Billyburg, meaning its probable demise.
I wrote about this back in March, after Sisario’s article on the ‘Brooklyn scene.’ I should have pitched the Knit piece to the Times back then.
Sisario’s article? Let’s take a look:
This week the New York club, [… ] won community board approval to begin moving into 361 Metropolitan Avenue in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, the former site of the Luna Lounge.
The Luna Lounge lasted there what, ten weeks? If the Knit lasts more than a year, I’ll go there on a weeknight.
The Williamsburg location, which Mr. Hoffman said he hoped to open in “four to nine months,” will bring the club closer to a young audience long ago priced out of Lower Manhattan.
That young audience ‘long ago priced out of Lower Manhattan’ is now old and currently being priced out of Williamsburg.
Also, this certifies the end of the Knit’s worldwide identification with avant jazz or Laswell/Zorn/Ulmer-type stuff, including the JVC jazz fest. For whatever reason, older fans with families won’t trek to Billyburg, especially if they’ve retired to using the PATH train for shows, to which the Knit was close. Good news: Zorn’s space in Manhattan will suck this stuff up.
The Leonard Street building was recently sold, and while the club’s lease runs through next July, Mr. Hoffman said it has no future in increasingly upscale TriBeCa.
Translation: Hoffman has a better chance of booking a Scott Walker/Radiohead/Nirvana bill than getting a new liquor license from Tribeca’s Community Board One.
Before it made a bid for the Luna Lounge space, the Knitting Factory tried to stay in Manhattan. Mr. Hoffman looked at a space on 14th Street between Avenues A and B, but there was a zoning problem, he said.
Zoning problem, yeah. As in: Hoffman would have to pull a nine-year-old Hindu boy out of his ass before he ever got a new liquor license up there.
Around 2003, right after he bought the Knit with his Moby-money, Hoffman partly dug his own grave (if it was his decision) early by closing off the Knit’s bars completely, after 8 pm or so, to anyone but those paying for a show. Meaning, on the night of an all-ages punk show, all legal drinkers present had to leave or pay $14 to tolerate These All Tomorrows or My Chemical Dickhead or some such garbage coming through the walls. This was a mistake. Music clubs make money by selling alcohol.