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  GABBA, GABBA, JOEY RAMONE PLACE.  
   
 

"Joey's like, the King of Punk," says Middle-Aged Ramones Ski-Cap.

"Yeah, totally," says Photographer Lady.

"This is Americana, man. This is rock and roll. These are the Ramones," says Ski-Cap.

"Exactly. This is New York, too. And these guys are our own," says the Lady.

Under a crisp, November sky in the year of our Lord two-thousand and three, the City of New York named a street after Joey

 
 

Ramone, dubbing the corner of 2nd street and Bowery "Joey Ramone Place." And inside CBGB's, people paid their tributes.

A great many people turned out to see the naming, so many that the crowd clogged the Bowery for a brief span around 1 p.m. on Sunday. Steven Van Zandt, of Sopranos and E Street Band fame, showed up. So did Jim Jarmusch, the movie director. If you were an especially big aficionado of New York punk, all the big names came out, like Legs McNeil and John Holstrom, who actually coined the term punk.

But the truth of the matter, reflected off the brand-spanking new windows of a pair of New York University dormitories, is that being named after a street is not a particularly punk rock thing. Then again, neither is this once hardscrabble neighborhood. On one corner of Joey Ramone's Place, are huge apartments offering "fantastic luxury finishes." There's an ATM inside CBGB's, near the huge television set and computer monitor in the doorway.

The neighborhood that gave birth to the Ramones and supported New York City's legendary hardcore scene has become a government sponsored thing. But this is what happens thirty years after the movement starts. All the participants are dead and having streets named after them, or they're middle aged and nondescript.

"Joey was my father's age," says Camo-Jacket Teen.

"How old was your father?" asks Long Island Mom.

"Fifty-two," says the teen, twisting on a Doc Marten shoe on the pavement. There is a long pause. Marky Ramone walks by, unnoticed.

"I suppose we should go inside," says the L.I. Woman, motioning to CBGB's. "That's where it all started, right?"

Inside CBGB's, which remains the same lovable fetid dump it was thirty years ago, the middle-aged and the punk rock jostle for position around its famed stage. As Hilly Kristal, the loveable owner, makes the rounds to greet the Lower East Side's aging punk rock royalty, the Ramones blare over the speakers. All the hits, from "Blitzkreig Bop" to "I Want to Be Sedated" are played, but it's especially fitting that "Stop Thinking About It" plays before the speeches begin.

"Stop thinking about it… Stop thinking about it… Aww, nothing lasts forever… And nothing stays the same…"

 

*BT*