Starting today, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s New York Annex will open its doors for a preview; the Annex will open officially December 2nd. Daily News Music Critic Jim Farber had an interesting piece this past weekend that included an online sneak preview of the exhibits and some details about the new museum.
Occupying 25,000 square feet at 76 Mercer St. in SoHo, the Annex takes up one-fourth as much space as the Ohio-based museum, though the new outlet charges four dollars more for entry: $26, to Cleveland’s $22… Upon arriving, visitors receive high-end headsets, designed by Sennheiser, which blast songs keyed to wherever you stand. Position yourself in front of a Bob Gruen photo of Freddie Mercury, and a Queen song pours forth. Stand by Bruce Springsteen’s 1957 Chevy, and you hear car songs by the Boss.
Six distinct galleries make up the $9 million structure. They’re divided into categories, like “Roots & Influences,” which traces sounds that connect — say, Billie Holiday to Amy Winehouse. Another more loosely defined gallery calls itself “Moments to Movements” and features things like Madonna’s Gaultier bustier. Naturally, there’s a significant “Guitar Hero” section, complete with Jimi Hendrix’s fading, handwritten lyrics to “Purple Haze” and Angus Young’s crushed- velvet schoolboy suit. A “Poets” section contains some of the Annex’s rarest artifacts, including a never-before-heard 1961 recording of Bob Dylan
playing a private show in the Village.
To suit its setting, the Annex devotes major space to New York rock. Besides the CBGB installation, it boasts wigs sported by Debbie Harry and turntables used by Grandmaster Flash. A handbill from the Fillmore East advertises a show any classic-rock fan would kill to have seen: Traffic, Fairport Convention and Mott the Hoople playing the East Village venue in June 1970.
Highlighting the New York section is a 26-foot scale model of Manhattan. It’s lit up in 24 places that mark key locations in rock history, ranging from the site of the Mudd Club to the St. Marks Place building pictured on the cover of Led Zeppelin’s “Physical Graffiti.” Touchscreens tell the history of each site.
Special exhibits will rotate every six months. This first will be about the British Punk group The Clash.
If you sign up at rockannex.com you’ll have an opportunity to win tickets to a private preview night on December 1st.