Black Francis of Pixies performs at The Bowery Ballroom on September 17, 2013 in New York City.

(Photo by Taylor Hill/Getty Images)

Behind The Bowery: Big History Behind a Small NY Venue

July 18, 2019
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By: Miranda Roberts

Whether you have enjoyed a concert in Bowery Ballroom or not, the history of the building is entertaining in itself.

6 Delancey Street has been hosting live music since The Bowery Ballroom opened in 1997. They are 21 years old and can legally serve alcohol, that is - they have both an upstairs and downstairs bar. Other amenities include a $2 coat check, tables upstairs, and above-average bar bathrooms. This intimate concert venue can hold 575 people, one of the smallest venues left in the city. 

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The Bowery was built in 1928 and to this day, you can find bricks and brass rails from the original structure. So what occupied the regal old building before bands took the stage? Was it a school? A grocery store? A shoe store? 

If you guessed the latter, you would be correct — but not at first. 

After being built, the building was an upscale retail store for about a year. The shop’s legacy was short-lived as a result of the stock market crash in ‘29. After the crash, the building was empty until near the end of WWII. Then, the building housed a variety of shops from jewelry to carpet to shoes. The family-owned Tree-Mark Shoe Store was one of 6 Delancey’s longest tenants. 

Besides brick-and-mortar history, the Bowery has a lot of musical history. Their roster includes performances by Pixies, Green Day, Paramore, Bastille, and more. ALT Summer Open Alum, Sharon Van Etten is no stranger to the Ballroom stage. She has played this historic stage six times since 2009. 

The Get Up Kids, Benjamin Francis Leftwich, and Dominic Fike will be taking the stage this summer! So if you feel inclined, hop online or head over to the Mercury Lounge Box Office and grab a ticket.​

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