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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…