Tribute To Coney Island High

Rare ticket stub.

Although it only lasted 4 years, Coney Island High achieved legendary status as one of New York's greatest rock 'n roll venues. The club drew a diverse mix of people. The Coney Island theme gave it a character unlike any other rock club in the city.

On September 6th, 1997, I caught my first NYC punk rock show at Coney Island High. It was Joey Ramone's Blitzkrieg Bash II, and it was the wildest, most memorable concert I'd ever seen. Keep in mind that I was 22 and just moved to New York City from a small town in Pennsylvania. In one night I saw Joey Ramone, Wayne Kramer of the MC5, Scott Ashton of the Stooges, and Mike Wildwood and Jesse Malin of D-Generation. I almost expected Iggy Pop to make an appearance.

The crowd ranged from gutter punks to college kids in khakis. I also remember a huge black guy who pointed at the stage and said, "That's Joey Ramone up there muthafucka!"

Over a year later, I returned to Coney Island High to see D-Generation play their final concert. I remember thinking it was the end of an era. Little did I know how right I was. Only months later Coney Island High closed it's doors forever.

Sadly, it ultimately fell victim to Mayor Guiliani's war on punk rock clubs. An ancient law from the days of prohibition, seldomly enforced before Guiliani, required any club that allowed dancing to obtain a "cabaret license". Since Coney Island High was deemed to be in a "residential area" they couldnt obtain the license and therefore lost a lot of business. In the end, they couldn't pay the rent and had to close down. The building was vacant for years but has since been converted into apartments.

Future McDonalds?

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