A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006. Now a Popeyes fast food restaurant on Google Maps.

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Entry from July 14, 2009
Church of Rock and Roll (Fillmore East)

The Fillmore East was a rock and roll venue that was located on Second Avenue and East Sixth Street in Manhattan’s East Village. From 1968-1971, the Fillmore East hosted memorable acts, including the Allman Brothers Band, and was dubbed “the church of rock and roll.”
The venue known as Irving Plaza has been callled ‘The Fillmore New York at Irving Plaza” since 2007, but Irving Plaza hasn’t borrowed the nickname of “church of rock and roll.”
Wikipedia: Fillmore East
Fillmore East was entertainment promoter Bill Graham’s late 1960s – early 1970s rock palace in the East Village area of the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York.
Pre-Fillmore East history
Located on Second Avenue at East Sixth Street and known as the Village Theater for most of its previous existence, the venue had been a mainstay of the Yiddish-theatre circuit; it had also been a cinema and had fallen into disrepair before Graham’s acquisition. Despite the deceptively small marquee and façade, the theater had a capacity of 2,700 seats.
Fillmore East years
The venue provided Graham with an East Coast counterpart to his existing Fillmore West establishment in San Francisco, California. Opening on March 8, 1968, the Fillmore East quickly became known as “The Church of Rock and Roll,” with two-show concerts several nights a week. Graham would regularly alternate acts between the East Coast and West Coast venues.
It was not unusual for a band to be booked to play two shows both Friday and Saturday nights; nearly all bands were contracted to play 8 p.m. and 11 p.m. shows until early 1971.
Because of changes in the music industry and exponential growth in the concert industry, Graham closed the Fillmore East. Its final concert took place on June 27, 1971, with the billed acts: The Allman Brothers Band, The J. Geils Band, B.B. King, and special guests — Edgar Winter’s White Trash, Mountain, The Beach Boys, and Country Joe McDonald — in an invitation-only performance. The concert was broadcast live by WNEW-FM with between-set banter by many of the station’s then-trendsetting disc jockeys — Alison Steele (“The Nightbird”), Dave Herman, and Scott Muni among them. The Allman Brothers Band set was released as the second disk of the deluxe edition/remastered version of their Eat a Peach (1972 and 2006) album.
Whole ‘Nuther Thing
The Fillmore East
The Cathedral Of Rock & Roll

Wikipedia: The Fillmore New York at Irving Plaza
The Fillmore New York at Irving Plaza is a 1,200-person ballroom-style nightclub at 17 Irving Place and East 15th Street in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York. It was known as Irving Plaza until April 11, 2007.
The present venue opened as Amberg’s German Theatre in 1888, under the management of Gustav Amberg as a home for German language drama. It had been built on the site of the Irving Hall, opened in 1860 as a home for balls , lectures and concerts and for many years the base for one faction of the Democratic Party. Heinrich Conried took on the management in 1993 and changed the name to the Irving Place Theatre. In 1918 it became the home of a Yiddish theatre company under the management of Morris Schwartz.
By the 1920s burlesque shows were offered alongside Yiddish drama. It was converted in the late 1970s from an old Polish dance hall to a rock venue by Andrew Rasiej. The Plasmatics repeatedly sold out the venue, helping to give Irving Plaza national recognition and to become an established rock venue in New York City. Over the years, the three-level auditorium had served as a Polish Army veterans’ headquarters, a Yiddish theatre, a burlesque house (ecdysiast Gypsy Rose Lee stripped here), and a boxing arena.

Live Nation, a spinoff of Clear Channel Communications, renovated and reopened Irving Plaza under the name “Fillmore New York At Irving Plaza” on April 11, 2007, with English pop-music singer and songwriter Lily Allen as the opening act. The former Fillmore East in Manhattan’s East Village was a rock-music venue that was open from 1968 to 1971.
Google Books
Live at the Fillmore East
By Amalie R. Rothschild and Ruth Ellen Gruber
New York, NY: Thunder’s Mouth Press
Pg. 6:
The Fillmore East was the church of rock and roll, and Bill was the shepherd tending the flock.
23 April 2000, Los Angeles (CA) Times, “THEATER; The Man Who Taught Rock to Roll; ‘Bill Graham Presents,’ a show about one of the biggest promoters of the ‘60s and ‘70s starring Ron Silver, tries to get a handle on his outsize personality” by Sean Mitchell, Calendar section, pg. 4:
Mickey Hart, the drummer for the Grateful Dead, once put it this way: “The Fillmore East was the church of rock ‘n’ roll, and Bill was the shepherd tending the flock.”
Google Books
Whole Lotta Led
By Ralph Hulett and Jerry Prochnicky
New York, NY: Citadel
Pg. 60:
Another triumph of their first tour went down at their New York debut at Bill Graham’s Fillmore East. This venue had become the center of the rock universe in America; it was practically the church of rock for fans and one of the most important gigs for any artist. It had been an old movie palace, a gothic hall that held 2,500. Graham had already hosted numerous shows with the likes of Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, the Who, and the Doors. Now it was Zeppelin’s turn.
27 February 2007, Palm Beach (FL) Post, “James Patterson’s Palm Beach” by Thom Smith, pg. 1E:
He also ushered at the Fillmore East, the mother church of rock ‘n’ roll.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityMusic/Dance/Theatre/Film/Circus • Tuesday, July 14, 2009 • Permalink

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