My Father’s Place in Roslyn Reopening 30 Years Later
Nearly 30 years after the closure of the original My Father’s Place in New York’s Roslyn village, the venue’s founder Michael “Eppy” Epstein is working on a new room to give young acts a place to cut their teeth.
The 200-capacity room will be part of a hotel, so it will take the name My Father’s Place At The Roslyn Hotel. The venue is in same neighborhood where the original dive, which held about 300-400 on any given night, gave a platform to upstarts like
Billy Joel, Bruce Springsteen, Eddie Murphy, The Police, Madonna, and The Ramones.
“I’m trying to bring a little less sadness by giving people a place to go to hear new music as well as old music. Jazz, rock, blues, comedy, reggae,” Epstein told Pollstar. “If you’re a young band and you’re looking to be helped, I will try to help you. If you can bring some people in, we’ll promote you and we’ll give you great sound, great lights.”
The room is expected to open around springtime next year, though no date has been locked in yet. Epstein said he has invested heavily into details like seating and food & beverage to make sure that older patrons can enjoy the experience, even as he says most of the booking will be oriented toward younger bands.
After his call with Pollstar, Epstein said he would spend the rest of the day buying talent for July, August and September. While Epstein acknowledged he doesn’t know a lot about booking hip hop or country shows, his success originally came from being open to trying new things.
In addition to baby bands and up-and-comers, Epstein said he does plan on inviting artists who got their start at the original MFP to perform at private events, but he doesn’t plan on promoting those and they will be invitation only. He said fans from the olden days can connect with him to be notified of visits from now-established artists in the intimate room.
The original My Father’s Place opened with a performance from Richie Havens in 1971 and closed due to an increasingly familiar story, Epstein said: developers bought land surrounding the venue and made it increasingly difficult to do business.
“There was a group of shopping center developers. They wanted to build a shopping center and I was in the way,” he said. “They stopped me from operating. … They told me not to [host shows] until we straightened out our legal problems.”
“I was putting so much money down on deposits. That’s the bank, all your money is there in the booking agency’s account and you don’t get it back until the band plays.”
“Tower of Power was an expensive act at that time. So I figured I’d play them and get some of my money back. And they arrested me. … I spent 8-9 months paying rent, insurance and taxes on the building, depleting my money. I finally said ‘I can’t do this anymore’ and I had to let it die.”
For the new venture, Epstein said he isn’t concerned about bringing young, potentially rowdy foot traffic into the swank area surrounding the hotel in Roslyn, as he thinks it will benefit the surrounding businesses. A big advantage of having the room in the hotel, he said, is that it is close to public transportation and it provides several floors of parking in a neighborhood where places to put your vehicle are scarce.
The industry vet repeatedly emphasized that he is not trying to have a “last hurrah,” or celebrate previous success, but rather he is trying to help develop younger bands and give them a space to find an audience.
“I think we can heal the world with music,” he said. “And that’s what I want to bring across with this little club, is to start the healing process. We’ve got a lot of work to do.”