The New York City Punk Scene is legendary, from Max’s Kansas City and CBGB to St. Mark’s Place – the punk scene was alive and well from the 1970s all the way to the 1990s. Bands such as the Velvet Underground, The Ramones, Social Distortion and Patti Smith thrived at these venues with die-hard punk fans and more, making money off merchandise while finding appreciation for their brands of punk.
Since some of those original punk bastions are no more, we thought we would we’d put together a list of places you might love to go to while in NYC to enjoy your favorite genre – we can convince you that punk isn’t dead! Check out the current bona fide punk scene in NYC.
Starting off, we have the Cobra Club, a rock venue that hosts several live bands, off Wyckoff Ave in Brooklyn. These bands play several nights a week, giving chances to local acts as well as smaller touring bands a chance to get their voices out there. If you like your punk with a side of comedy, Cobra Club also hosts comedy events and live karaoke, usually late, every Friday and Saturday.
Next, we have Gutter Bar, close to the intersection of Greenpoint and Williamsburg. Gutter Bar is kind of an interesting venue because it’s a bar, live music venue, and bowling alley. You can catch a draft, bowl a few frames, and then swing by to catch a live show. The bar is dedicated to local acts as well as touring bands – since this venue is close to a popular rehearsal studio, you can network with both local and global musicians or find bands you haven’t heard of before.
There’s also the Knitting Factory in Brooklyn. The Knitting Factory is a venue that hosts live shows, including punk, comedy, with catering and the like. There are many options for those who not only love classic punk, but also emo/pop punk/alternative rock, if you like a good throwback to the 2000s.
If you’re a punk lover, but you don’t feel like heading to a punk show, slumming it with the rest of us in a sweaty mosh pit, howling along to Sonic Youth or the Dead Kennedy’s, there’s other punk-related options for you. For example, there’s a punk walking tour offered in the East Village – you can find tickets on the Rock Junket website. There’s also a “The Birth of Punk Tour” offered by Walk on the Wild Side Tours that shows you the evolution of punk through the decades, along with the social, political, and economic factors that shaped this well-loved genre.
And visual art has always been a large part of punk, so you can still be experiencing a part of the Bona Fide Punk Scene in NYC at a local museum: You can catch seasonal punk and punk inspired art exhibits during the year. The Metropolitan Museum of Art (The Met) has done several punk-themed exhibitions in the past, including “PUNK: Chaos to Couture“.
The Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) has also done its share of punk-art retrospectives including “Film and Video after Punk” and “Young, Loud and Snotty – Punk Posters in the Collection“. The Museum of Arts and Design (MAD) also had an exhibit called “Too Fast to Live, Too Young to Die” focused on graphics produced for punk shows.
The point is, the remnants of the classic punk scene and its evolution, as well as newer punk has always been there, hiding in plain sight in New York City. Interestingly, it’s the most punk thing you can do – existing, subverting, and telling stories via music, while loudly being present, and reflecting what it means to be alive.
That’s the Bona Fide Punk Scene in NYC (Now) Do you love punk as much as we do – are there other punk related venues we haven’t mentioned here or talked about? Let us know!
And if you enjoy quirky museum exhibits, take a look at “5 Unique NYC Museums You Need to Visit“.