Press Bowery Boogie : ABC No Rio Demolition Approved by the City Yesterday / by Paul Castrucci

Posted on: July 27th, 2016 at 9:15 am by Elie

It’s another historic moment for ABC No Rio, currently in exile as it awaits its future. The city issued permits yesterday for the full demolition of the four-story tenement building at 156 Rivington Street, easily one of the last vestiges of Lower East Side punk.

Until the wrecking crew is mobilized, however, ABC No Rio remains a ghost town. Its entryway a shrine to the past, while a single inscription is seemingly contradiction in terms – “Fuck nostalgia, the future is unwritten.”

Brochures touting the new eco-friendly facility are also scattered around the padlocked door. Each illustrates, in greater detail, how the replacement space will be divided once fully constructed. Below is a snapshot.

As you can see, the reincarnated ABC No Rio will have an elevator and boast larger exhibition and performance spaces (doubling the size), in addition to a green roof and second-floor terrace. The solar-equipped building will also carry the organization’s zine library, computer lab, print shop, dark room, and kitchen.

But will it retain that same punk rock spirit, or become a diluted version of its former self?

ABC No Rio purchased 156 Rivington Street from the city In 2006 the for one dollar. Since then, the arts hub has raised $1.6 million in private donations, plus an additional $6.45 million in grants through City Council members, the former Manhattan Borough president Scott M. Stringer and the city’s Department of Cultural Affairs. Plans for the 9,000 square-foot, Leed-certified “passive house” are more than seven years in the making.

The institution remains in exile for the duration, hosting shows at various third-party locations (mainly in Brooklyn). Temporary offices were set up around the corner in the Clemente Soto Velez Center.

Meanwhile, the Streit’s Matzo Factory buildings on its flank are likewise coming down. Expect ABC No Rio to follow closely.

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