The Bottom Line: Legendary club can't pay the rent

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The Independent US

It could soon be the end of the line for the Bottom Line, a legendary music club in the West Village of Manhattan which faces imminent closure because it has been unable to keep up with its rent payments.

The demise of the Bottom Line, which has been host over three decades to Rock 'n Roll and jazz icons ranging from Lou Reed to John Lennon and Tony Bennett, may be sealed at a court hearing in New York this morning. The owner is New York University, which says it can no longer ignore the $185,000 (£112,000) owed to it in rent.

"I don't think there are any bad guys in this situation," said Allan Pepper, the club's co-owner. "I'd just like NYU to take off their landlord hat and put on their hat dedicated to the fabric of the community, to culture, to art."

Mr Pepper has been buried in e-mails of support since news broke that the club was on the verge of being shuttered. One to express his dismay was Nils Lofgren, a member of Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band, who said: "I've had so many great experiences through the years as a performer and as a spectator at the Bottom Line. It would be a shame if it ever closed"

As the club's landlord, however, the university says it can no longer ignore the unpaid rent on space that could be used as classrooms. "We have talked to them, written them, asked them to resolve this, and they didn't. The university has shown a considerable amount of patience," said spokesman John Beckman. He admitted the dispute hardly reflects well on the university. "In a David vs Goliath story, Goliath rarely comes out looking OK."

Some of the club's alumni are scrambling to organise a reunion benefit at the club. The effort is being spearheaded by writer Jimmy Webb, whose hits have included Up, Up and Away and Wichita Lineman.

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