When it comes to live music in New York City, one of the few venues left for such entertainment is The Cutting Room, a place where it is still possible to hear vocalists and bands while enjoying a fine supper at one of 250 well-ordered tables. Since re-opening its new location on East 32nd Street between Park and Madison, one of NYC’s biggest Live Music staples has built on a decade of history that includes some of today’s top performers. With the summer in full swing, The Cutting Room’s schedule of amazing talent will hopefully make it their biggest season to date!
The Cutting Room is keeping alive a New York tradition of live music that began even before the Swing Era, with the Supper Clubs of old, and continued through the Rock N Roll generation and beyond.
Steve Walter is the manager and prime owner, and the actor Chris Noth is an investor. “He gets the fan mail, I get the bills,” Walter jokes in an interview. But Walter is serious about his club, the music, and keeping alive New York as a place of real, honest-to-goodness live music.
Over the years, The Cutting Room has hosted some of the biggest names in music: Neil Young, Donovan, Buddy Miles, Judy Collins, Mary Wilson of the Supremes, Alanis Morrisette. Alexa Ray Joel made her debut at The Cutting Room, while her proud parents, Christie Brinkley and Billy Joel, looked on.
The Cutting Room’s current location, at 44 East 32nd Street, is its second incarnation. It has been there since January, 2013. The venue is larger, with a bigger kitchen, more tables, better acoustics and larger food selections. The Cutting Room opened in November, 1999, on West 24th Street.
But Walter acknowledges the city is different than the one he started in almost two decades ago. Many of the live clubs have been driven out by astronomically high New York rents. A younger generation is now more interested in computerized music and DJs. The Internet has also taken its toll, with free music for all.
So how does The Cutting Room keep its doors open?
“It’s events and parties and the generation that still likes live sound,” said Walter, a guitarist from his youth who was graduated from the famous Berklee College of Music in Boston. “The corporate events, the food, and the music keeps them coming,” he said.
The Cutting Room has also begun serving Sunday brunches, a virtual religion in New York.
His 7,000-square-foot venue with its 18-foot high ceilings makes for excellent acoustics, which is something not too many other places can boast of anymore. “That’s why we’re still getting the top talent,” Walter said. “There’ not much else like us around these days.”
Walter, who grew up in Asbury Park, N.J., and was highly-successful in selling womens’ garments before opening his music club, said he is trying to keep alive the edge that New York City had decades ago.
“Sometimes I feel like a blacksmith,” he said, referring to an antiquated trade. But those feelings vaporize when some of his talent takes to the stage and the audience feels the music. He recalls fondly when Joan Rivers stood brought the crowd to its knees with her sharp jabs at New York society and the crazy life in the Big Apple. And, there was the time in April, 2001, when Sheryl Crow made an unadvertised appearance with Kid Rock.
The Cutting Room does not intend to be among them. “We’ll be here, keeping the lights on and letting the live music flow,” Walter said. “We keep getting the major talent.”
This coming summer, The Cutting Room is opening its doors to an insane amount of great talent, that has will leave any type of music fan happy inside its iconic and amazing location. Don’t just take my word for it. For all detailed information about The Cutting Room and its schedule, check out their official site.