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

rbar-bowery-closed
R Bar on the Bowery Shutters Ahead of Transformation to ‘Rebelle’

Word on the street is that R Bar and its stripper poles are out to pasture. Closed for good. There had been recent talk of its demise, but it finally came to fruition this week. Its disconnected phone number is further evidence. This sudden loss of R Bar makes sense, though. Florence Fabricant reports in […]

Screen Shot 2014-10-21 at 12.49.20 PM
Classic Album Art Comes to Life in Roy Kafri’s New Beatbox Video

Iconic vinyl art has taken a turn for the outlandish with Israeli comedy singer Roy Kafri’s latest music video. He not only features classic album covers brought to life, but ones that are, in fact, beatboxing on the street. Bowie beatboxing. Lou Reed beatboxing. If that’s not enough to mess with your mind, it’s filmed in reverse; by the end, we […]

marilyn-louie-closed
Marilyn Louie Temporarily Closes Tiny Bowery Newsstand Due to Flooding

Unfortunately for Marilyn Louie, when it rains, it poors. Literally. This time the weather proved itself an enemy, with downpours sidelining the business. Damn. The embattled newsstand owner – on the Bowery for thirty-eight years – seriously can’t catch a break. Heavy rainfall last week and its resultant flooding reportedly forced [Chinese language] the longtime newsstand […]

hanksy-eazyebola
Hanksy Gets All NWA with ‘Eazy-E Bola’

Street artist Hanksy is tapping right into global fear of an Ebola outbreak. His latest piece is self-proclaimed, “straight outta Congo.” The sticker sized placement is in eastern Chinatown and features the one and only Eazy-E Bola and his virus strain neck. Meanwhile, Hanksy continues to explore street art around the country with his new “Surplus […]

agent-provocateur-elizabeth
Agent Provocateur is Opening a Third Manhattan Location on Elizabeth Street

Haute lifestyle boutique Condor is no longer part of the gold-coast landscape of Little Italy. The business closed its three-year-old shop at 259 Elizabeth Street at the end of August, but has been running a pop-up locale down on Kenmare Street in the interim. Now it’s again without a home. Condor flew the coop thanks […]

  • 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?