This Must Be the Place

Music, Community and Vanished Spaces in New York City

by Jesse Rifkin

On Sale: 07/11/2023

This Must Be the Place

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This Must Be the Place

Music, Community and Vanished Spaces in New York City

by Jesse Rifkin

On Sale: 07/11/2023


About the Book

*Winner of the New York City Book Awards*
*A Kirkus Best Book of July*
*An InsideHook Book You Should Be Reading This July*

A fascinating history that examines how real estate, gentrification, community and the highs and lows of New York City itself shaped the city’s music scenes from folk to house music.

Take a walk through almost any neighborhood in Manhattan and you’ll likely pass some of the most significant clubs in American music history. But you won’t know it—almost all of these venues have been demolished or repurposed, leaving no record of what they were, how they shaped music scenes or their impact on the neighborhoods around them.

Traditional music history tells us that famous scenes are created by brilliant, singular artists. But dig deeper and you’ll find that they’re actually created by cheap rent, empty space and other unglamorous factors that allow artistic communities to flourish. The 1960s folk scene would have never existed without access to Greenwich Village’s Washington Square Park. If the city hadn’t gone bankrupt in 1975, there would have been no punk rock. Brooklyn indie rock of the 2000s was only able to come together because of the borough’s many empty warehouse spaces. But these scenes are more than just moments of artistic genius—they’re also part of the urban gentrification cycle, one that often displaces other communities and, eventually, the musicians themselves.

Drawing from over a hundred exclusive interviews with a wide range of musicians, deejays and scenesters (including members of Peter, Paul and Mary; White Zombie; Moldy Peaches; Sonic Youth; Treacherous Three; Cro-Mags; Sun Ra Arkestra; and Suicide), writer, historian and tour guide Jesse Rifkin painstakingly reconstructs the physical history of numerous classic New York music scenes. This Must Be the Place examines how these scenes came together and fell apart—and shows how these communal artistic experiences are not just for rarefied geniuses but available to us all.

Critical Praise

“Jesse Rifkin pulls the reader along with him on this wild and deeply researched nostalgia trip through New York's vanished music scene, starting in the Greenwich Village coffeehouses in the 1950s and ending in present-day Brooklyn. This dyed-in-the-wool New Yorker loved it!”—Alice Sparberg Alexiou, author of The Devil’s MileThe Flatiron and Jane Jacobs: Urban Visionary
"This Must Be the Place brilliantly weaves firsthand accounts from New York City's artists, doormen, sound techs, managers, bartenders and more into a vivid history of the city's scenes and landmarks, enlivened by a diverse array of characters and culture. Through a modern and incisive lens, Rifkin raises voices from the city's mythology, dispelling hype to uncover even wilder truths."Ben Apatoff, author of Metallica: The $24.95 Book and Body Count (33 1/3)
"This Must Be the Place swats away cheap nostalgia to deliver a vital social history of New York City, its music, and its enduring creative power across the decades. Jesse Rifkin is the perfect downtown guide – wise, incisive, generous, and quite possibly all-knowing."Adam Chandler, author of Drive-Thru Dreams
“A lively history of New York City’s many musical scenes and their settings… A pleasure—and an education—for every fan of popular music and its most important Gotham venues.” –Kirkus STARRED review
"An enjoyably knowledgeable yet casual cultural reconnaissance through the glory days of New York music history."Booklist
“This nostalgia-filled, informative traversal of the eclectic scenes encapsulates the city’s meaning to and mutual benefits for the musicians and associated artists… music lovers will wax nostalgic for the passing of the various genres and relish what has been memorialized.”–Library Journal
"Exhaustive in its attention to detail, This Must Be The Place: Music, Community and Vanished Spaces in New York City is an enlightening escapade through the mean streets of the Big Apple."–Classic Pop Magazine
“[A]n impressive and lovingly constructed survey of the venues—sanctioned or not—that allowed artistic communities to flourish.”Interview
“If you’re a New Yorker (past or present), returning to streets of bygone days can be a dizzying experience — what once were memory-riddled landmarks are often reimagined into new spaces. This is especially the case for places that housed music’s most influential scenes. Author, historian, and tour guide Jesse Rifkin traipses down memory lane (literally) and, through interviews with acts like Moldy Peaches, Sonic Youth, and Suicide revisits how New York City’s landscape served as a canvas for acts to experiment, form, and flourish.”Rolling Stone

Product Details

  • ISBN: 9781335449320
  • ISBN 10: 1335449329
  • Imprint: Hanover Square Press
  • On Sale: 07/11/2023
  • Pages: 544
  • List Price:41.00 CAD
  • BISAC1 : MUSIC / History & Criticism
  • BISAC2 : HISTORY / Modern / 20th Century
  • BISAC3 : HISTORY / United States / State & Local / Middle Atlantic (DC, DE, MD, NJ, NY, PA)
  • BISAC4 : MUSIC / Philosophy & Social Aspects

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