NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A legendary New York music club is closing down after 45 years of turning out the hits.

Kenny’s Castaways gave several rock acts their big breaks back in the club’s heyday. Bruce Springsteen played some of his first New York City shows at the venue on Bleecker Street.

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WCBS 880’s Peter Haskell reports

But the economy has hit Kenny’s Castaways hard, said co-owner Maria Kenny.

“To meet that mortgage every month was sort of a struggle,” Kenny told WCBS 880’s Peter Haskell. “It’s very bittersweet for us, of course, because I grew up here.”

“You either don’t pay this because you’ve got to pay that and every month it was getting harder and harder to keep it going,” Kenny told Haskell.

Kenny’s father moved the club from its uptown location to Greenwich Village in 1976.

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Willie Nile and the Smithereens are headlining the free farewell show Monday night.

“Kenny’s Castaways was the first place that the Smithereens ever played in New York City,” Smithereens lead singer Pat DiNizio told Haskell. “It’s not a happy day but we’re very happy to be here.”

DiNizio said the band would not have gotten off the ground if not for Kenny’s Castaways.

“They supported us and encouraged us and kept us working for six years,” until the band got a record deal, DiNizio told Haskell.

Nile was signed to Arista Records in 1980 after record executive Clive Davis saw his set at the club.

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