The New York Optimist
October 2008
Reforestation
by Tola Brennan






When you walk inside Goodbye Blue Monday (a name
taken from the alternate title of a Kurt Vonnegut novel)
it looks a bit like every other coffee shop/venue; but
after a few minutes, you start noticing the differences.
The piles of aging books, dilapidated lamps, sculpted
mirrors and silkscreened t-shirts seem to be chosen in
slightly better taste than usual. This effect is
accentuated when you make your way into the
outlandish little back-yard filled with half finished
sculptures, paintings, chairs, and various other strange
things. The back-yard functions as a second stage, a
sculpture studio, and a multi-purpose art space. The
owner, Steve Trimboli, had some things to say about
the space he’s gradually constructed in that grey area
between Williamsburg and Bushwick.
“This has all been a very organic process.” Steve says, as he explains how the space went from being a an empty warehouse to its current incarnation. “After
three or four years, I started putting shelves and cabinets up and I started to define the place as like a living room.” Steve has personally found all the chairs,
couches, and other pieces of furniture that create the atmosphere. The space has been adding on dimensions as the years go by, starting as an antique shop and
coffee house, adding the two stages, and most recently adding a theater. “I let anything happen here” -- Steve describes his intent for the space -- “It’s freeform
booking. There’s jazz, folk, pop, some other jazz, some rock & roll. I don’t listen to anything first, I just book everything. Everything gets a shot, and there’s no
one else who does that.”
“This place is very adventurous. We got some sort of award last year from the Village Voice for being the best place to hear new music. We’ve had performances
of Shakespeare. We had a film festival here. We do everything.” This conglomeration hasn’t been immediate, “When I first came here this place was empty.
There were crack houses down the block. I knew the neighborhood was going to change, and now it has to some extent. We have young artists moving into the
area, local kids come by the place.” Steve continues, “This place is just starting to pay itself off and function on its own.”
Goodbye Blue Monday seems to indeed be rather remote. However, it is mostly the impression of distance that keeps many people from other parts of the city
from making the trek. It’s a couple blocks (1087 Broadway to be exact) from the J and M train stop Myrtle-Broadway. Both of the trains have picked up in speed
and scope, anticipating and reacting to the expansion of Williamsburg. A place like Goodbye Blue Monday is actually about ten minutes from Manhattan. They
have live music pretty much every night and a nice cozy atmosphere, which is markedly absent from a chic and unfriendly café or an overpriced bar. Goodbye
Blue Monday is indeed a very apt name.