Bargemusic in New York City
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.
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.