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The Times Square CBGB That Never Was

IMG_3884Stephen Rex Brown Blueprints for the CBGB in Times Square.

Some punk rock purists might roll their eyes at Tuesday’s announcement that the CBGB Festival will hold a “multi-stage” concert in hyper-commercialized Times Square. But before you go cracking a Disney-meets-Dead-Boys joke, consider this: a few years before the legendary club on the Bowery closed, founder Hilly Kristal was on the verge of reopening it in Times Square.

The new location wouldn’t have been a mere recreation of the club that fostered the likes of The Talking Heads, Television, Blondie and many others, either. Mr. Kristal planned to drastically expand it. Blueprints drawn up of 1540 Broadway, which are pictured above, hint at the scale of his ambition.

He aimed to demolish a four-screen movie theater next-door to the now-closed Virgin Megastore and make it a club. Given that the theaters could seat 1,626 people total, it is clear that Mr. Kristal was fine with CBGB — which by then had developed into the merchandising bonanza it is today — moving on from the dirty bathrooms, dingy bar and sorry speakers of the original location. Read more…

Lucky Cheng’s Preps for Pride Parade, Move Uptown

chengs.jpogDaniel Maurer The current location of Lucky Cheng’s on First Avenue.

With the annual Drag March set to kick off in Tompkins Square Park at 7 p.m. tonight and the final performance of “Cowboy Mouth” tonight as well, we thought we’d check in with Hayne Suthon, the owner of Lucky Cheng’s, which will soon move to Times Square.

Ms. Suthon hopes to haul her her drag operation to 240 West 52nd Street around Labor Day weekend, and is in negotiations with two “upscale” operators in the same vein as Beauty & Essex.

“All the concepts are nice restaurants. Not clubby kind of stuff,” Ms. Suthon said.

“Sutra has been shopping around for something more high end,” she added, referencing Ariel Palitz’s nightclub on the same blocks as Cheng’s, which is also on the market. “It’s time to be a bit more grown-up around the neighborhood.” Read more…

Richie Rich Tours the New Lucky Cheng’s

Last month, the club-kid turned designer Richie Rich told The Local that he would be opening a studio on the fourth floor above the new location of Lucky Cheng’s, which will be departing the East Village in May.

Recently, Mr. Rich gave The Local a tour of his new digs near Times Square at 240 West 52nd Street. He and Lucky Cheng’s owner Hayne Suthon have visions of a Warhol-esque fashion factory where new merchandise for the drag destination will be cranked out on the regular. The pair are planning cosmetics, clothes, and of course, fake eyelashes bearing the Lucky Cheng’s brand.
Read more…

What a Drag: Lucky Cheng’s Will Leave East Village for 52nd Street

chengs.jpogDaniel Maurer Lucky Cheng’s at 24 First Avenue.

The neighborhood’s top drag destination, Lucky Cheng’s, will be moving to a location near Times Square in the next six months, the owner revealed today.

Citing dwindling tourist traffic, Hayne Suthon, who has run the First Avenue cabaret restaurant since 1993, said that the operation would move to a more desirable location on 52nd Street.

“The phone used to ring off the hook, but as Times Square became a magnet for tourists — we just can’t get them down here,” said Ms. Suthon. “We’ve tried back flips, standing on our heads; they want to stay up there now.”

Ms. Suthon would not give an address for the new location because she had yet to sign a lease. But that didn’t keep her from singing the new space’s praises. If all goes as planned, the location will have two tiers of drag performances, an all-you-can-eat buffet, a more high-end menu and seating for around 350 people. (Yesterday, Grub Street reported that the current location was on the market.)

“Walking by the space, and looking at the people, we said, ‘This is our demographic,” Ms. Suthon said, later noting that her clientele is “the kind of customer that wants to go see ‘Jersey Boys,’ and tourists from Missouri.” The bachelorette and birthday partiers will just as easily go to Times Square as the East Village, she added. Read more…