Stories From Nick’s: Joel Schiavone

I was the owner of Your Father's Mustache, who purchased Nick's in November of 1962. We opened just prior to Christmas and stayed open for about 10 years, closing in late 1971.

Listen to Joel tell his story

When I was a college student in the '50s, a trip to New York was not complete without a visit to Nick's in the Village. My memories of those early experiences are not significant. Aside from the two bands, can't remember much of anything as you might expect from an awe-struck 18-year-old in New York for the 2nd or 3rd time.

Two stories about Nick's: First—as someone has already told you—the walls were lined with pictures of every jazz great in the world. Usually small 8 x 10 framed pictures all over the entranceway and into the front of the club. These were purchased by me, and I dutifully put them in a number of boxes for safekeeping. Within a couple of days, Jay Rongetti—son of Nick—appeared, and asked if he could have the photos. As they had no real value at the time, and as he asked, I gave them to him, and they disappeared down 7th Avenue. I have no idea where these are now, but I assume descendents of the Rongetti family still have them.

Second memory—there was a big banner on the front marquee which said "Sol Yaged Appearing." Sure enough, within a couple of days, Sol appeared and asked if he could have his banner. He also left with his treasure, reminding all of us that his was the last band to appear on 7th Avenue and 10th Street.

I have lots of photos of the Your Father's Mustache club, which—except for the red walls—were the same as with Nick's. The bar was not changed. The dark oak frames on the walls, the columns doors, etc. were all incorporated into our venue.

Joel Schiavone


Joel Schiavone plays banjo with the Galvanized Jazz Band. He’s been a nightclub owner and is currently in real estate.