Recap: Funeral Procession for Billy’s Antiques on the Bowery

Posted on: March 11th, 2012 at 8:22 am by

Yesterday afternoon was the official sendoff for Billy’s Antiques after more than two decades at 76 East Houston.  Real or symbolic, it was no doubt a funeral for the Bowery in every sense of the word. There was a modest gathering of bereaved in the remaining shell of a tent; former employees eulogized about their experiences; and pallbearers carried the coffin.

The spectacle began shortly after 3 pm, when a couple dozen folks (mainly press) arrived at the stripped corner lot. No more big-top tent, just the skeleton.  Speeches by Billy Leroy and his longtime cohorts (“sad to see the space in this way”), as well as somber song from wife Lorraine Leckie, were followed by the conspicuous procession. A prepared wooden coffin was stuffed with what remained of the tarps, and nailed shut. With a soundtrack of tambourine and guitar strumming, a group of pallbearers carried the Bowery remains in a circular route up the Bowery across Bleecker, and down Elizabeth. As expected, dumbfounded pedestrians gawked in confusion.

And this Ferrari parked on the Bowery just says it all…

Upon return to the tent, there were more speeches about the good old days, and pointed commentary toward Pulino’s and Rag & Bone(r) across the way. Billy then proceeded to tear down his wall of press clippings, narrating the tale behind each one. The event was capped with burning sage, a bottle of vodka, and a pair of scissors to cut the tarp into souvenirs (and autographs). Oh, and the three seaman that showed up…

On our way out, we learned that the tent frame will soon be painted bright red, and the coffin placed behind the gate.  It’ll allegedly remain this way for two months before construction starts on a new building. Whether Billy returns is still an unknown.  It’s a sad day for the Lower East Side.

Gallery:

Recent Stories

Thompson LES is now "60 LES"
SIXTY Hotels Rebrands the Thompson LES on Allen Street

The Thompson LES completely changed its image within the last few months. As we reported, Jason Pomeranc sold his longtime brand but kept ownership over a few hotels, including 190 Allen Street. It’s now part of the SIXTY Hotels umbrella. And with the “SIXTY LES” rebrand, a new target demographic. For this five-year-old lodge, Pomeranc […]

Cafe Katja is pissed, but passively so
Cafe Katja Klepto Returns Stolen Table

That Cafe Katja klepto exposed at the end of March came clean, and returned the stolen table to the popular Austrian eatery. Guess the flyer campaign around Orchard Street – and its coverage in the press – was enough to shame the thief into doing the right thing. A Boogie tipster tells us that the […]

dna-footwear-lafayette
DNA Footwear Opening Outpost at 273 Lafayette Street

Argentinian luxury clothing chain Etiqueta Negra opened its New York City flagship at 273 Lafayette Street in 2008. The boutique boasted a showroom of menswear and rustic store additions like 1932 Alfa Romeo, leather trunks, and polo memorabilia. Five years later, it bit the dust. Now the space is set to become a shoe warehouse. […]

hummus-shop-ludlow
Own a Piece of the Ludlow Residence Eyesore for $220K

Has it really been two years since our last post about the Ludlow Residence dorm at 101 Ludlow? Okay, onward. If you fancy a piece of the beige penitentiary, the opportune moment has arrived. The narrow, 800 square-foot commercial unit near the dorm entrance – currently home to the Hummus Shop – is now on […]

bboogie_8592
Recap: Open House at the New York State Pavilion [PHOTOS]

Today marks the fiftieth anniversary of the opening of the New York State Pavilion. The national treasure and its UFO-looking towers debuted as part of the 1964 World’s Fair. The premises has been off limits to the public for decades, but this morning offered a brief window for all to enjoy. Alas, the gates are […]

  • http://shawnchittle.com Shawn Chittle

    It will feel weird to walk by Billy’s and not see that iconic tent. I bought a ton of stuff in here over the years.

    Bummed! 

  • http://twitter.com/martywombacher marty wombacher

    Sorry I missed this, thanks for a great recap of the funeral. And yes, sadly that Ferrari says it all! Billy’s will be missed, another one down.

  • Whatevs

    It was overpriced.  Move on.  Adapt or die.

    • CatherineNYCB

      Are you the owner of the Ferrari?