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

Con Artist entrance, May 2011
The Con Artist Collective Celebrates 5 Years on Ludlow Street

Con Artist is one of the few businesses on Ludlow Street in Hell Square that still caters to creativity. Something other than nightlife. What began as an ambitious basement workshop and thrift boutique in 2010 (formerly home to The Cast), is now a fully-fledged artist collective with storefront workspace and a membership counting in the […]

citizenm-water
CitizenM and the Curious Case of Water Waste on the Bowery

With Earth Day having just passed this week, the time seemed ripe to call attention to water waste down at the CitizenM project site on the Bowery. Ever since the towering permiter of plywood was erected at the corner of Delancey, the developers have been piping in water from the nearby fire hydrant for earth-moving efforts. […]

tenement-museum-2015
The Tenement Museum is Crowdfunding to Help Preserve 97 Orchard Street

Apparently the Lower East Side Tenement Museum is in desperate need of care. The institution is deteriorating from the inside out, and requires a boatload of cash to keep the facility in workable shape. So, the museum is currently in crowdfund mode, soliciting funding to help preserve its prized mid-block building at 97 Orchard Street. […]

Photo: Hester Street Fair
Hester Street Fair Kicks Off 6th Season Tomorrow

Now in its sixth iteration, the Hester Street Fair is welcoming the neighborhood back, with the promise of “New food! New vendors! New look! Same awesome vibe…” Once again, the corner of Hester and Essex Streets will corral local biz into a fancy farmer’s market, but it’s not setting up shop for the whole weekend. This […]

Photo: GVSHP
Report: CB3 Member Who Accused Gigi Li of ‘Racial Insensitivity’ is Booted

It appears Community Board 3 doesn’t want members to vocalize concerns about its controversial policies and actions. Ayo Harrington, whose whistleblowing crusade against Chair Gigi Li last year netted headlines, is no longer part of the advisory board. Appointments to Community Board 3 were announced earlier this week by Borough President Gale Brewer and her […]

  • 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?