Fillmore East, East Village, New York City

The Fillmore East was located on 2nd Ave near 6th Street in the East Village, New York City.  In 1926, the venue began life as a Yiddish theater called the Commodore and later became a movie theater, the Loews Commodore.  As with many old theaters in the 60s and 70s, it was converted into a performance space for rock bands in 1967 under the name Village Theatre.  In 1968, promoter Bill Graham was looking for an East Coast venue to compliment his already famous Fillmore in San Francisco, he found it in the aging theater and renamed it Fillmore East.  From March 8, 1968 to June 27, 1971, Bill packed the theater with an amazing light show (The Joshua Light Show for the bulk of these years) and mind-blowing triple-bills that included the best acts of the day:  The Doors, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, the Allman Brothers, Miles Davis, and that band from San Francisco, the Grateful Dead.  The Grateful Dead played the Fillmore East from 1968 to 1971 over 45 times, the most famous run occurring February 11, 13 and 14, 1970.  After the venue closed, it was taken over by Barry Stuart and operated under the names “New Fillmore East (NFE)” and “Village East” until 1975.  It then became a nightclub for a while in the ‘80s and is at present a branch of Emigrant Bank.  The bank occupies only what once was the lobby, the remaining structure was torn down for an apartment building.  You can enter the remaining building at the old lobby entrance, now the entrance to the bank.  Unfortunately, there are no traces left of the lobby, only a few pictures hang on the wall from its time as the Village Theater and the Fillmore East. My visit was sad and thrilling at the same time as I realized I was standing in “The Church of Rock ‘n’ Roll” that was now a dull little bank, but at least a portion of it is still preserved.  The first picture is of the front of the building as it looks today, still retaining much of the original façade, minus the famous marquee.  The second picture is a close-up of the bank entrance, showing the modern additions inside and out, I was not allowed to take a picture inside the bank.  Although the building has gone through many changes since the days of the Fillmore East, the old vibes are still present here in what was once the heart of the East Coast rock ‘n’ roll music scene and mecca for some of the Grateful Dead’s most legendary performances.



2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Ben Bealmear
    May 04, 2012 @ 10:45:51

    Thanks so much for these posts. I’m always looking to expand my knowledge of the Guys and your posts are very informative and fun!


  2. grosvenorsquare
    May 04, 2012 @ 12:13:26

    Thanks Ben!!! So glad you enjoy my posts, it is fun to visit the sites and share them with everybody. It was especially cool to visit the old Fillmore East!


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