by Frank Lewis
New York City’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Annex NYC will close January 3, just over a year after it opened. The nondescript 25,000-square-foot SoHo facility hosted rock memorabilia like Bruce Springsteen's 1957 Chevy and special exhibits like the currently-running John Lennon: The New York City Years. Admission was over $25, more than most popular museums.
"There is no doubt the economy factored into our leaving, but overall we had a good year," Caren Bell of S2BN Entertainment, the Rock Hall’s partner in the facility, told Reuters when the news broke.
The NYC outpost opened November 2008. The next month, at its grand opening party, co-founder/Rolling Stone publisher co-founder Jann Wenner told a Rolling Stone reporter, “One of the small sad things is we didn't do it in New York in the first place.” His comments were later removed from a video posted at the magazine’s website.
According to the Rock Hall, all is going according to plan.
“The Annex was never intended to be a permanent facility,” says Rock Hall director of communications Margaret Thresher. “The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum’s New York City Annex was an opportunity for us to extend our mission into one of the major cultural centers in the world. It increased our visibility in the media, introduced us to new supporters and even led to a few tourists visiting Cleveland.”
In 2005, the Rock Hall announced plans to open a satellite site in Phoenix, Arizona, adjacent to the America West Arena (currently the U.S. Airways Center, home of the Suns) on a hotly contested piece of real estate. The site never opened.
With New York shut down, the Rock Hall plans to go back on tour.
“At this point, we’re taking the information we’ve gathered and incorporating it into a long-term plan,” says Thresher. “The vision is to use satellite facilities, technology and other partnerships to take our work to new audiences, while at the same time building Cleveland as a rock and roll center with things like the our new Library and Archives, a major redesign of the Museum, and other upcoming initiatives.” — D.X. Ferris