for making a home for underground rock and youth culture

CBGB stands for Country, Bluegrass, Blues. But country did not work at CBGB when proprietor Hilly Kristal first opened the club in the same building as the dilapidated Palace Hotel, one of the most notorious flophouses on the Bowery in 1973. Recognizing that his establishment was desperate for money, and that rock musicians were desperate to be heard, he introduced rock. The result was a democratic stage where a long line of rockers cut their teeth and were discovered: Television, Talking Heads, Blondie, Patti Smith, the Ramones, and the Dead Boys. Later, such bands as Pearl Jam, Smashing Pumpkins, The Police, and the B-52’s, had their first gigs in New York City at CBGB’s. “When they are here they are not famous,” Hilly told us. When they are famous some of them come back.”

CBGB features 5, 6 or 7 bands a night—every night of the week. Generations of young bands have screamed their hearts out to generations of young punk and underground rock fans. “All I did was give a people a chance to say whatever it was they wanted to say,” Hilly told us. For nearly 30 years, the beer-soaked, dark-wood club, plastered and replastered with generations of flyers and clippings, feels as venerable as an old church. When Joey Ramone died, a shrine appeared spontaneously outside of CBGB, taking over the sidewalk and reminding passers-by that CBGB’s is the mecca for youth culture and the cauldron for whatever styles of rock are bubbling up. 

Dick Zigun
for founding the Mermaid Parade and Coney Island, USA

“It’s the place where the hot dog, the roller coaster, the notion of an enclosed amusement park, and the format for the 10-in-1 side show were all invented. It’s the oldest amusement park in the U.S. If there’s going to be one place in all of America to preserve popular theatrical forms-Coney Island is the right place.” ~Dick Zigun

Dick Zigun’s spiel about Coney Island is matched by his tireless battle to preserve what little is left of old time Coney Island. He has testified to save the old Parachute Jump (now a national landmark) and played a part in designating the Cyclone and the Wonder Wheel as national landmarks. In addition to opening the Coney Island Museum, he brainstormed to build on the old Coney Island tradition of Mardi Gras parades that had faded on Coney by the late 1950s. In 1983, he founded the Mermaid Parade, now one of the City’s anxiously anticipated annual celebrations. New York City has been loath to support Coney Island, despite its history. Dick, a graduate of Bennington College and the Yale School of Drama, has been a lone voice who has single-handedly kept the ethos of Coney Island in the public eye.

Peter Schumann
for creating Bread & Puppett Theater

Peter Schumann moved to the U.S. in 1961 from the Silesia region of Poland. He founded the Bread & Puppet Theater in 1963 on New York’s Lower East Side, creating a unique blend of puppetry and political protest. In 1970 the Theater moved to Vermont, first as theater-in-residence at Goddard College, then to Glover, Vermont, where it also started a museum. Bread & Puppet does massive spectacles in the U.S., Europe and Latin America that address social, political, and environmental issues, or simply the common urgencies of our lives. Although no longer in New York, Bread & Puppet’s inspiration is visible in the Halloween and the Mermaid Parades, at large political protests, and in the work of Jim Henson and Julie Taymor (The Lion King).

City Lore friend Tom Goodrich nominated Bread & Puppet “For the integrity of their alternative vision to the corporate American Dream; for composing awesome, archetypal imagery from sweat, imagination and cardboard in this age of high tech special effects; for living in community and for hatching dreams collectively; for remembering the land and our dependence upon our Earth Mother; for charging almost nothing for most of their performances; for the fecundity and accessibility of their “cheap art”; for accompanying their heady creations with black sour dough bread; for making puppets which pull our strings and provoke thought; for running us into the circus and for evoking laughter which quickens the human soul even in the darkest of times; for using volunteers and challenging all in the audience to become the show.” 

Hindu Temple Society of North America
for beautifying the borough of Queens with cultural and religious arts

With more than 18,000 devotees from all over the United States, the ornate temple on Bowne Street in Flushing, Queens is not only the center of New York’s Hindi community, but also a cultural center that helps to beautify the Borough of Queens with a wide array of cultural and religious arts. Consecrated in 1977, Ganesha Temple is an elegant, gracious place to worship. Committees plan and decorate floats and chariots that parade proudly through the streets of Flushing during Hindu festivals. Temple classes in instrumental music, vocal traditions, language, religion, and classical and folk dance styles help the community pass down knowledge to the children. The frequent discussions, festivities, and theatrical, music, and dance performances held by the temple foster a sense of belonging for all generations. As Dr. Uma Mysorekar, the current President, drives the temple’s expansion, she strives to be a good neighbor to other Flushing residents, and reaches out to Hindus all over. This flexible approach makes Hinduism especially adaptable, some experts believe, to thriving in new situations without changing the basic tenets of its thousand-year-old tradition. Learn more about Ganesha Temple atwww.indianet.com/ganesh/

Ramon Rodriguez, Louis Bauzo, and the Harbor Conservatory for the Performing Arts
for creating a home for Latin music

For close to thirty years, Ramón Rodríguez has led the Harbor Conservatory for the Performing Arts (a division of Boys Harbor, Inc., located at Fifth Avenue and 104th Street) in its efforts to preserve, perpetuate and celebrate New York’s Latin music legacy. Under his stewardship the Conservatory has become known internationally as the leading school for Latin music training, from Afro-Caribbean traditional music to contemporary Salsa and Latin jazz with over 1,000 students each year, many of them from low-income areas.

For the past twenty years, Louis Bauzó has been the Director of the Harbor Conservatory’s Latin Percussion Program, conductor of the Harbor Big Band and Co-Founder/Curator of the RAICES (Roots) Latin music archive. Louis is a recognized authority on Afro-Caribbean folk culture and has performed and/or recorded with Dizzy Gillespie, Machito, Eddie Palmieri, Johnny Pacheco, Celia Cruz, and Paul Simon among others.

In 1979, Rodríguez and Bauzó established the RAICES music archive, considered the largest collection of materials documenting the development of Afro-Caribbean based Latin music in New York. Now an unparalleled 15,000-piece collection, RAICES includes original manuscripts by major artists, rare photos, video, audio recordings, periodicals, oral histories, artists profiles, artifacts, instruments, and memorabilia of some of Latin music’s greatest artists. With support from the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone, the Harbor is committed to the long-term goal of creating the RAICES Museum as a permanent museum and archive.