Nightlife Legend Don Hill Passes Away

by Mara Siegler · April 1, 2011

New York nightlife legend Don Hill passed away last night. He was known for supporting the New York rock scene and played host to all types of people for over twenty years at the now defunct '80's East Village dive The Cat Club and his eponymous Greenwich Street bar.

Don was a nightly fixture- hanging near the corner of the bar, walking through the crowd, standing outside near the smokers, always quietly looking on.

Some on Twitter say he died at home, while others are claiming he passed at the hospital around 7 p.m. last evening. Those who knew and worked with him are exuding their lament:

@murray_hill: Saddened to hear about NYC nightlife legend Don Hill. End of an era. A stand-up guy through & through.

@thelittleidiot (Moby): "My friend don hill has passed away. He was such a gracious and decent man. Its the end of an era. We will miss you, don. Goodbye."

@TheRealMissGuy: RIP Don Hill. Nicest person in nightlife history & my friend xx

@THEMISSHAPES: "RIP DON HILL...a true nyc legend, mentor & friend. we will forever remember ur kindness, generosity, humor, support & above all our many."

@marfa_lights: "RIP our dear friend Don Hill. The kindest, most real and decent guy in this business. A true gentleman. We'll really miss you Don."

@_KILLCODE_"We lost one of NYC's best today..Don Hill R.I.P ...where ever he is now is def'n more happening and rockin than before he arrived!"

@vivaruiz: RIP Don Hill . So many nights playing around under your benevolent eye. A generous and real nice guy. Love.

Brooklyn Vegan offers additional commentary and an accurate account about Don from "American Hardcore" author Steven Blush (previous employee at Don Hill's).

[Above, Nur Khan with Don Hill]

I first went to Don Hill's in 2006 to take part in the Misshapes frenzy. And then I went back again and again and again. It felt, like so few places in New York, like something was happening, like that something mattered. It was nights of drinking and dancing and blacking out and struggling to remember any of it in the morning, but somehow it was important for no other reason than we were young and could embrace that moment at Don's in a way we, for some unidentifiable reason, couldn't elsewhere. The feeling was there when it reopened this past September during Fashion Week with a slew of rock shows.

I keep going back weekend after weekend. I wasn't around for CBGBs, many claim the East Village is dead, and Brooklyn tends to feel less authentic by the day-but Don Hill's has always felt real. There will be a memorial service for the man behind it all tonight at the club on 511 Greenwich Street. Bebe Buell says, "Don's actual memorial will be the biggest coming together of all the people he has helped+supported-those of us who loved him+knew him well."

[Image Via]