Mother Monster is home. After an uncharacteristic, if brief, retreat from the limelight, Lady Gaga reclaimed her place atop pop culture this week with the early release of her new single, “Applause.” Little Monsters will have to wait until November 11th to buy the new Gaga LP, “ARTPOP.” In the meantime, they can retrace Gaga’s New York City footsteps by applauding the pop star’s favorite old haunts.
The Bitter End
147 Bleecker Street
Bruce Springsteen famously cut his teeth at his venerable, if faded, remnant of Bleecker Street’s musical—forgive me—glory days. A pre-Gaga Stefani Germanott more recently built on the joint’s mystique with a 2006 performance as frontwoman of her eponymous band. The clothes, makeup and theatrics: minimal. The song, in a sign of things to come: “Hollywood.”
Welcome to the Johnsons
123 Rivington Street
Just two years ago, Lady Gaga broke away from the glam Fashion Week after party circuit to pop into this retro-grungy and perma-smelly Lower East Side rec room. Her roots at Johnsons, which despite a gentrified LES still boasts one of the city best happy hours, run deep: she (repeatedly) dated owner and musician Luc Carl.
768 Fifth Avenue
Little Monsters may feel like big fish out of water above 14th street. But Gaga devotees should consider classing it up a bit for a stop at this famed hotel, even if it’s in the midst of a long, awkward condo conversion. Back in 2010, Gaga pulled off a three-song semi-secret show at the once-stodgy Oak Room (at the time trying to pull in 20somethings; now out of commission while undergoing another transformation).
(The Former) St. Jerome’s
155 Rivington Street
St. Jerome’s is the LES rock (and, it must be said, coke) bar most closely associated with the nascent Mother Monster. In the umpteenth sign that the neighborhood’s rise to riches paralleled Gaga’s, St. Jerome’s—another Luc Carl joint—closed back in May. A café specializing in small plate sausages and dried fruit, of all things, is reportedly on the way. Little Monsters can light a votive candle outside in memory of Lady Starlight (an old Friend of Gaga) and Gaga herself who, in The Village Voice’s words “shook her ass as a go-go dancer before she turned into whatever it is that she is now.”
158 Ludlow Street
The indie rockers who once viewed a gig at this Ludlow Street standby as a breakthrough may have their sights set on Brooklyn these days. Still, in his forthcoming book Rivington Was Ours: Lady Gaga, the Lower East Side, and the Prime of Our Lives, author and Gaga consort Brendan Jay Sullivan describes the thrill an ascendant Gaga felt in playing here for the first time.
176 Stanton Street
The nondescript tees, sweatshirts and beanies sold at this boutique might bore outré Gaga fanatics. But Mother lived just upstairs in this tenement building during her formative years, making this address, no matter the current tenant, a required stop on any Gaga pilgrimage.
70 West 68th Street
A Daily News restaurant critic likened Joe “Mr. Gaga” Germanotta’s Upper West Side red sauce joint to “the worst thing since herpes.” The Department of Health has given similarly scathing reviews, leading to a Twitter rant by Germanotta. But this is still a Little Monster’s best chance of spotting Gaga relatives in the (demurely clothed) flesh. Plus, it’s near Gaga’s childhood home.
317 E. Houston Street
The neon and chrome exterior of this anachronistic gem beckon all. But Gaga tunes were once banned from the jukebox, making Parkside an oasis for the exhausted Little Monster (or his otherwise patient, non-converted date) or perhaps a good place to stage a protest.