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

miss-paradis-1
‘Miss Paradis’ Health Food Bar on Prince Street Approaches its October Launch

Real progress is finally visible both inside and outside the stout new development at 47 Prince Street. That gaudy banner advertising for newcomer Miss Paradis was deposed a couple weeks ago after a summertime residency, and instead replaced with apple ornamentation around the two-story facade. Push to the finish line is palpable, as the store is buzzing […]

Photo: NYPL
Stories of Chinese American Women on Display with ‘HERSTORY’ Exhibit at Chatham Square Library

The Chatham Square Branch of the New York Public Library is showcasing a new “HERSTORY” exhibit during the month of October. This exhibit spans 165 years of the struggles and successes of Chinese-American women; on display include rare photographs and documents from legal cases fought in supreme courts throughout the US. The exhibit is a […]

reed-space-closing
Reed Space will Close Today After 15 Years on the Lower East Side

Fifteen years. Gone just like that. And so is Reed Space. The Lower East Side tastemaker is ending its operations on Orchard Street after business today. The store has been having a fire sale for weeks. A “reset” of sorts is promised, which would include a new store altogether. However, the location, and any future […]

Photo: Google Maps
De Blasio Wants to Remedy Rivington House Scandal with Senior Housing Development on Pike Street

Mayor de Blasio hopes that the key to escaping the Rivington House scandal is an olive branch of senior housing. Indeed, Hizzoner announced yesterday – while his deputy Tony Shorris was being grilled by City Council – a proposal to replace those services lost in the $116 million sale into condos earlier this year. The […]

chinatown-protest-chin-cwg
Local Groups Protest Margaret Chin’s Alleged Refusal to Protect the LES Waterfront

The Coaltion to Protect Chinatown and the Lower East Side is turning up the heat against Councilwoman Margaret Chin, who, the group alleges, is refusing to back the full Chinatown Working Group (CWG) Rezoning Plan. The herculean undertaking was planned in response to the 2008 rezoning which left out large portions of downtown. (The argument […]

  • 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! 

  • 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?