In Memory Of Paul Shaffer's House, The Now-Shuttered Punk Outpost In The Bronx
Over the last year, those who traveled to the Paul Shaffer House--from Brooklyn, Fordham, Columbia, and SUNY Purchase--had somehow become convinced that the punk house off the Bronx Park East stop was going to be around forever. It wasn't hard; on the best summer nights, the place seemed like Utopia, hosting shows with bills made up of house bands (Minutemen-influenced punk-funk outfit The Genuine Imitations, the all-brothers band No One and the Somebodies) and touring bands, fostering an atmosphere where strangers would be on a first-name basis with one another by night's end. The sets were long enough to work up a sweat, and the breaks gave you just enough time to cool off with a cigarette or make a beverage run to a nearby.
Although in retrospect it seems inevitable that the Paul Shaffer House would eventually have had to deal with some sort of police inquiry, the timing of last week's bust remains surprising. Rather than break up an event, the officers showed up in the middle of the day--on a day that came weeks after the house's last advertised show--and cited a handful recent noise complaints.
The idea for a DIY punk venue in the Bronx grew out of White Plains's WESPAC Space and was first conceived by Steve Yankou of No One and the Somebodies, who was at the time living off the Mosholu Parkway. Eventually, Steve and a group of seven
guys others (among them former WESPAC Space director and Genuine Imitations frontman G.I. Dave) found and purchased the property located at 1808 Muliner Ave.
That address put the house squarely in the borough's mostly residential Morris Park neighborhood. On the day of their first show just over a year ago, a neighbor told Steve how quiet the area stays, but between that and last week's bust, the house had, to my knowledge, received few complaints, despite shows by bands like the always-loud So-So Glos, who completed their Five Borough NYC Tour at the house last fall.
Chatter on Facebook suggests that the crew will call it quits and not relocate. Dave has suggested that shows might eventually resume, but at the very least there will be some sort of hiatus. Fortunately, in the last few months both N.O.A.S. and G.I. have been playing more high-profile gigs around the city; the former opened for Fucked Up at NYU's Kimmel Center this February, the latter played The Local 269 last Friday and is at the Co-op at SUNY Purchase tonight.
(A final note to those who never rode the 2 or the 5 up to a show: The house bears no official affiliation with the Late Show band director after whom it is named; the name actually was sparked by a running joke about bringing a six-pack of Schaefer--the cheapest beer available in Yonkers--to Paul Shaffer's actual house in Riverdale.)