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

Photo: Pastor Bob Subjenski
Revisiting Sheldon Silver’s Family Hardware Store on Essex Street [HISTORY]

​These days, 19 Essex Street is home to Frank’s Chop Shop and ground-level office space. Back in the day, however, this storefront was the headquarters of Sheldon Silver’s family business. Sheldon Silver, the disgraced former Assembly Speaker who was recently convicted on federal corruption charges, was born and raised on the Lower East Side. He […]

213bowery-1
On Stellar Rays Annexes Former Restaurant Supply Shop at 213 Bowery

​Regent Restaurant Supply relocated from its longtime Bowery headquarters just before the new year. In business since the mid-1990s, the ground-level warehouse operated at 213 for more than a dozen years. Well, no sooner did they depart than drilling began inside the store. With good reason. The eight-year-old gallery occupying its rear (i.e. 1 Rivington) […]

motorhead_bowery_featured
Bowery Electric Hosts Valentine’s Day Motörhead Tribute

Say, let’s skip the schmaltzy candlelight dinner, roses and boxed chocolates this Valentine’s Day. Let’s instead raise a glass (and some fists, of course) to Motörhead and the late Lemmy Kilmister this Sunday (February 14), shall we? Brooklyn Vegan tipped us off recently that Bowery Electric’s (327 Bowery) monthly Sally Can’t Dance party will see […]

market-nyc-open-1
Market NYC Opens New Outpost Today at 290 Mulberry Street

​Market NYC first announced its return to Little Italy just before Christmas. Two months after its holiday pop-up onsite, the third city location at 290 Mulberry Street is a go. It opens to the public at noon today. This week was one of final preparations. The lettering was installed; window treatments were deposed to reveal the […]

wall-kindness-1
‘Wall of Kindness’ Surfaces on Chrystie Street, Seeks Donations for Homeless

​ No, this art installation at Chrystie and Stanton streets is not the newest piece by yarn-bomber HOTTEA. The ribbonwork weaved into the chain-link fencing at the recently refurbished Nike soccer field is, in fact, a grassroots charity plea for those in need. The message of “Stay Warm” sits atop a rudimentary house with a […]

  • 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?