Living Room dying: Legendary music venue closing at end of month

Living Room dying: Legendary music venue closing at end of month
Photo by Louise Wateridge

It is the nabe the music died.

Williamsburg will lose yet another live music venue when the Living Room plays closes at the end of the month, and musicians across the country are already mourning the end of a place they say welcomed them to its stage again and again.

“It kind of felt like I had a home in the venue,” said Aiden James, a touring Philadelphia singer–songwriter who faithfully performed at the beloved venue during his frequent trips to New York.

The Metropolitan Avenue space was the third incarnation of the long-standing live music staple, which first opened in Manhattan in 1988, and showcased the fledgling talents of performers including Norah Jones, Colbie Caillat, and the Lumineers during its run.

Owners Steve Rosenthal and Jennifer Gilson had two Manhattan locations before moving to a venue between Wythe Avenue and Berry Street — which featured a rooftop bar and a mezzanine level — just over a year ago.

But the duo say the new venue isn’t making enough cash to pay the rent — although those who have come to play and see gigs were supportive.

“Everyone who came here loved it,” said Gilson. “But it wasn’t enough.”

The music box is the just latest in a series of neighborhood venues to shut their doors over the past few years as rents in the coveted streets skyrocket.

Cameo Gallery closed in October following a spat with its landlord and punk-rock Mecca Trash Bar shut over similar issues in June.

Indie underdogs Glasslands, Death by Audio, and Public Assembly all bit the dust last year.

If the trend continues, it could have dire consequences for the local music scene and the city as a whole, said another Living Room performer.

“This prevents young developing artists and the venues that support them from making their mark and making their best shot,” said songwriter David Poe, who regularly played at the Manhattan locations before relocating to California three years ago. “The culture suffers irrevocably.”

Go see one more show at the Living Room (134 Metropolitan Ave. between Wythe Avenue and Berry Street in Williamsburg, (718) 782–6600, www.livingroomny.com).

Reach reporter Allegra Hobbs at ahobb[email protected]local.com or by calling (718) 260–8312.