Longtime New York club owner and nightlife fixture Don Hill died Thursday at the age of 66. He ran the Greenwich Street nightclub that bears his name for 18 years, along with '80s rock dive the Cat Club.
Don's eponymous nightclub served as an incubator for many scenes over the years -- including MisShapes, Squeezebox and Tiswas -- and also as an essental spot for the city's scenesters to see and be seen (and photographed). The Cat Club, near Union Square, filled a similar role for the New York rock and metal scenes of the '80s and early '90s.
His two clubs were and are quintessential New York venues: Small, loud, very rock and roll, and more than a little sleazy, ideal for impromptu guest appearances and showcases for bands on the rise (the clubs also played host to untold thousands of drunken makeout sessions). Like Hilly Kristal, Alan Pepper and other legendary NYC club owners, Hill was a low-key but integral presence in the scenes he helped to grow.
"Don Hill was a rock 'n roll legend who was adored by everyone in the business and everyone he touched," Nur Khan, a co-owner of the club Don Hill's, told WNYC. "He was a dear friend of mine for over 20 years. I am honored and proud to carry on his legacy. Don and his constant presence at the club will be dearly missed by us all."