Walking north from Toy Tokyo on Third Avenue the other night was literally walking down memory lane. I passed the old Fillmore East building, which is now an Emigrant Savings Bank, where I once spent many of my best Friday and Saturday evenings during the late 60s. With the exception of the Troggs, every act blew my proverbial mind.
Bill Graham’s Fillmore East was the heart of NYC’s East Village at a time when there were at least half a dozen major rock venues – five of them in ten blocks of each other, including The Anderson (where I saw Moby Grape and Elephants Memory). The former Loews Commodore theater, the Fillmore was more or less truly palatial – in a seedy sort of way. It was also the remnant of the original Yiddish Theater district, which held memories for my grandparents.
Seeing the old building, as I often do, next to the former Ratners dairy restaurant (now NYU and a grocery store), and down the block from Gems Spa (which is still there – and I can be seen in the 1969 photograph below, second from bottom), I was reminded of what a vibrant area this was. Interestingly, with Toy Tokyo there, among other funky shops and groovy folks, it still is.
(Note: If you are interested in 60s graphics go here.) (Poster below by Fantasy Unlimited.)