The Associated Press is reporting that the landlord of the venerable punk club CBGB announced Wednesday (Aug. 31) that the lease on the 32-year-old landmark will not be renewed.
The Bowery Residents' Committee, landlord of the building on the Bowery, "believes it is in the best interest of our clients - the homeless and neediest New Yorkers — to sever this relationship," BRC executive director Muzzy Rosenblatt said.
The existing lease was to expire at midnight Wednesday. The statement from Rosenblatt called for CBGB's to "vacate the premises both voluntarily and expeditiously" — a scenario that appeared unlikely, given the promises of Little Steven Van Zandt and others to wage a battle to the end on behalf of the bar that launched punk rock.
"We're not going without a fight," said Van Zandt, who was joined at the rally by "Sopranos" co-stars Tony Sirico and Joe Pantoliano. "If the eviction proceedings start tomorrow, which I hope it doesn't, we'll fight it in the courts."
An increasingly frustrated Van Zandt blasted Rosenblatt for the inability to reach a new agreement. The E STREET BAND guitarist, "Sopranos" star and radio show host entered the negotiations about six weeks ago.
The club's owner, Hilly Kristal, also was not backing down.
"We intend to stay," he declared. "This is not a eulogy. There's no reason why we shouldn't come to an understanding."