Bargemusic in New York City

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Bargemusic, formally known as Bargemusic, Ltd. is a classical music venue and cultural icon


Olga Bloom founded Bargemusic in 1977, following the transformation of the coffee barge into a music hall in that same year, and the programming has evolved over time while not losing the intimacy of the performance space, which some compare to a floating living room.

"Actually, we're practicing great economy of motion here," said Bloom in 1990. "Water exerts a universal pull on humanity. People commune with nature here, to a degree. They even see a soaring seagull occasionally, and I have my scraggly, brave pines on the deck. We also offer an unmistakably warm social occasion. Our audiences are small - we can hold 140, but I usually try to cut off at 130 - so even though they don't know each other, they speak to each other readily during the intermissions. They are sharing values. And they are experiencing a noble performance of great music. All in one visit." It took hundreds of gallons of water into its bilge when a pipe feeding water into it snapped due to freezing weather. Listing, it began taking on seawater through a crack in its side. A repair crew pumped more than 1,500 gallons of water out of the bilge before it started to level.[1]


Like many organizations in Lower Manhattan and throughout New York City, Bargemusic's attendance suffered after 9/11 and that caused questions about its continued existence. To make money, Bloom and Bargemusic have rented the barge out for weddings and solicited donations from foundations, corporations, and individuals.

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