I’m saddened, but not surprised that the Cornelia Street Café is closing.
From 2002 to 2009 I did all the publicity for CSC music.
2002 to 2009 were the salad days for Jazz Promo.
In addition to CSC I also had the Iridium, Highlights In Jazz and The Cajun.
Remember that joint in Chelsea?
The husband and wife team of Arlene Lichetman and Herb Maslin were the owners.
Vinny Giordano recommended me for that gig, but with a warning to watch out for Arlene.
He was right.
The Cajun was the only client I had to ‘fire’.
Impossible to deal with. And I was dealing with the Sturm’s (Iridium) and Jack Kleinsinger too.
Robin Hirsch, one of the three co-owners of CSC, on the other hand was my favorite client.
Robin was a businessman, but also and artist with some theater and writing background.
His monthly Salons were always a great hang.
You never knew who you’d meet at one of these.
In the grand tradition of Greenwich Village Robin Hirsch brought together poets, painters, actors, musicians, comics, Phd scientists and characters of all hipster proportions.
One time Art D’Lugoff, Larry Josephson of WBAI fame and the newly emerging comic John Oliver were in attendance.
In addition to all of this there were monthly residences with artists like David Amram and Jeremy Steig who lived nearby, but was off the scene.
After the first month or two with Jeremy I get a call from Robin Hirsch telling me that no one is coming out to hear this jazz legend what can we do can I get him on the radio here’s his number give him a call and see what you can do.
I call Jeremey tell him what I’d like to do and pretty much get no response click and that was that.
Anyway I digress.
Once a month we had a marketing meeting at CSC with Robin and all the various bookers for music, poetry, etc.
Even way back in the early oughts I remember Robin telling us he didn’t know how much longer CSC would survive they were paying something like $30,000 a month rent.
Amazing they hung on as long as they did.
So pretty much this is the sad story of what’s happening in NYC.
Listen back in the mid 80s I ran the jazz dept. for J & R Music World.
We were selling records with two hands 365 days a year.
Now there’s no more J & R.
Why? The real estate was worth more than the business so they sold out and left all their employees out in the cold.
One of my old running buddies from my old neighborhood in Sheepshead Bay Brooklyn is Jimmy Drougas.
We both worked for the Post Office way back in the 1960s in Red Hook Brooklyn midnight shift.
Jimmy was a big book guy and so was I.
He opened Unoppressive Non-Imperialist Bargain Books on Carmine St within walking distance of CSC.
Read his story and you’ll know why CSC is closing it’s doors.
You remember Caffee Vivialdi right around the corner from CSC:
West Village Jazz Restaurant Caffe Vivaldi Will Close After 35 Years 2 comments It’s been locked in legal battles with its landlord since 2011
You don’t keep guys like Robin Hirsch down for long so lets wait and see if he pulls a rabbit out of his magic hat.
Jack is back Feb 28 celebrating his 46th year.
He’s the Eveready Battery of Jazz Presenters.
Hey, and I’m back in record retail too with my new record store Original Vinyl Records.
Old record guys don’t die we just keep spinning albeit at 16rpm.
Maybe see you at the Jazz Congress Jan. 7-8.
Happy New Year.
One of my Jazz Promo marathon daze I remember driving down for the Keely Smith Highlights show splitting at intermission driving to CSC getting a spot right in front hearing a couple of tunes from Andy Bey then driving uptown to Iridium to catch the last set I don’t remember who then driving the 2 hours back to Warwick.
Like Babs Gonzales famously said “I paid my dues.”