The neighborhood is changing. Often for better, sometimes for worse. For every narrow coffee shop with divine breakfast sandwiches, for every Scotch egg, for every craft beer that makes the Bushwick rounds: another neighborhood stalwart closes its eyes for the last time.
Goodbye Blue Monday has been in the area for a decade. They barely have a website. They don’t often post on Facebook. They don’t need to. Goodbye Blue Monday has presence and gravitas without having to shout. Goodbye Blue Monday is a venue that rises above the din and speaks its truth: everyone’s got something to give. This is the kind of venue where you can get that gritty injection of why-I-came-here-and-why-I-stay. Where you’ll never feel too out of place, even if nobody knows your name. Or as my roommate put it, “They booked everyone, even the people you kind of wish they wouldn’t.
GBM owes upwards of $7,000 in fines to the city. The landlord is eager to double the rent as soon as their lease is up, in two months. They’ve successfully fundraised in the past, but no matter which way you slice it, this Bushwick staple is fighting an uphill battle. Former owner and current booking agent Steve Trimboli told The Brooklyn Paper, “I’m devastated, but I also understand that it was a matter of time because of the way this neighborhood is exploding. I knew that when the lease was up, it was not going to be good.”
From Vampire Weekend, in an interview with The Independent:
“There’s this email mailing list and website in New York called Flavorpill,” says Batmanglij, “and they wrote about a show we did underneath an elevated train track, pretty deep in Brooklyn. Not many people were at that show. Not even the person that wrote about it came to that show.”
“It was a junk shop in Bushwick,” continues Koenig. “In the nice areas of Manhattan the train is underground, but it probably goes hand in hand that where the train comes up is less desirable, because it’s dark and noisy. It’s kinda like The French Connection, the way the track is elevated above the street.”
“It wasn’t quite a junk shop,” interrupts Baio. “Everything is for sale there, even the chairs. It’s kinda conceptual.”
“A place called Goodbye Blue Monday,” Tomson remembers. “It’s a hike for most people to get to, but some guys from the neighborhood came down.”
From Emilie Ruscoe, our News Editor:
On a rainy day last summer I was walking down Broadway and spotted a film crew set up outside of GBM. I wandered up to ask what they were shooting and posed the question to a first rain poncho-clad person standing outside the door–who, when she turned to face me, turned out to be none other than Anne Hathaway, who is a head shorter than I imagined she is and responded to my question–which ended up coming out as a starstruck-sounding “…are you guys shooting a movie?”–with a slightly dubious nod.
The movie Hathaway and co. were working on is this year’s Song One, a drama which came out in January and showed up at Sundance.
We haven’t caught Song One yet, but if we do, we know we’ll have GBM’s cameo to look forward to.
From Maria Gotay, our Music Editor:
I first heard about Goodbye Blue Monday in 2009, as a college sophomore living in central Harlem. Although Bushwick was a place I visited on occassion, most of my pre-smart phone visits revolved around a walkable route from the L train. Finding out that there were actually cool things to see off of the J train, or where the J train actually ran, was a surprise, and I took the 1.5-hr long voyage to GBM for the first time to see some friends’ bands perform on the cozy elevated stage. The walk from the train was dark, uncharted territory, but once we spotted the venue and walked into its dimly-lit, scrappy, artistic space, we Harlemites felt right at home. Cosmonaut, and Average Girl each gave a sweaty yet powerful performances, and I enjoyed the passing of the night, sipping on cheap beers and singing along. Although I visited then venue a few more times over the years – especially after I moved to the neighborhood in 2011 – that one, fuzzy night sticks in my mind as a beautiful representation of the warm and welcoming nature of the venue and its wide-open platform for artists.
From Katarina Hybenova, Editor in Chief and founder of Bushwick Daily:
“Go to Good Bye Blue Monday!” was one of the first recommendations my roommate Gat and I received shortly after we moved to Bushwick in September of 2010. And sure we did. We ordered two PBR tall boys on a Tuesday night and sat impatiently in the audience at an open mic night. A girl was just playing a piano and sang so beautifully, with such urgency. I felt transported to Nashville instantly. She was excellent. The next person to go on stage was a dorky guy with an old iMac who explained he was going to play some music from Mars. He pressed the button and just stood there kinda awkwardly while strange, horrible, annoying music filled the room. Gat and I were crying of laughter. Next dude announced he would read us an article from a 1995 Esquire. I don’t remember what the article was about, but he insisted that it was important and went on for 20 minutes….
Good Bye Blue Mondays is similar to Bushwick, an addictive mixture of randomness and a poetic charm of chaos. You never know what you’re gonna get. You might witness the next big star, or you might subject yourself to the excruciating pain of a delusional weirdo. But I mean, there has to be a place where this gets sorted out, right? There has to be place where you get a chance, although elsewhere they slammed a door in your face without even listening, right? That place is GoodBye Blue Monday, that place is Bushwick.
Whether Goodbye Blue Monday is already your second home, or you’ve never stepped foot inside, go now. Throw a couple bucks in the hat, buy a drink or two more than you normally would, and count your blessings that you got a chance to say farewell.