The first time saxophonist Blaise Siwula played at ABC No Rio - the vaguely anarchistic quasi-legal Lower East Side building where he’s run a Sunday night improv series for the last eight years - was in 1990. At the time, he recalled, it was a run-down
building in a questionable neighborhood.
“They didn’t really have walls then,” he said. “There was a hole in the floor and leaks everywhere, but people would show up. It was pretty tough in those days. Dealers would stand outside the door and shout names of drugs. Nowadays there’s restaurants and French boutiques.”
Back then, few would have predicted the changes the neighborhood has seen in the last few years. And if renovations in the building itself have been
comparatively modest, even fewer might have
predicted the changes the building will undergo by next year.