I’d originally heard about it when I was in my early 20’s, living in Perth and jumping around every night doing shows. One of the other comedians, Josh Makinda (now a fellow-New Yorker told me about this comedian he saw on Lucky Louie named Rick Shapiro, who would do these legendary stream-of-consciousness sets at places like the Sidewalk Café.
My neighbour, the late John Farris, was a regular at the Sidewalk and Nuyorican cafés, performing his poetry.
Sidewalk opened in the corner spot in 1985 ... eventually expanding to the space next door when Sophie's relocated to its current home on Fifth Street. By the time I’d arrived in New York, it had just been renovated (in 2011), so it wasn’t quite as dingy as it once was, but it wasn’t pretty. I nursed many a hangover there in the late mornings of 2014.
I’m not one to bemoan the closure of an open mic, but I don’t know what hit me in the guts about this particular closure —one among a vast slew of other major closures in Alphabet City over the last 5 years.
EVGreive, as ever, had the best coverage of the closure. But, Jason Diamond at Grub Street (New York Magazine) had a fitting farewell to the sticky-floored old dive, and why it feels sad to lose it: