Florence took me here I guess in 1976 for a drink. What I remember, so vaguely through exhaustion and booze, was, so that we could have an enjoyable time, I got her a bit drunk on scotch - that being her drink of choice outside the house (the house drink being watered down sherry). I probably had scotch too. We stood leaning against the bar all the way in the back.
I think, again through the haze of exhaustion and booze, that at that time having been recently invited out of her home, I was living up the street and new to the neighborhood. And one night after a screaming match on the phone with my sister about how one would identify the sexuality of our mother, I stormed down to this bar and ordered the second drink I knew about. Rye. Doubles. And got very very drunk. A very very nice man made sure I got home without being killed along the way. After all this was Second Avenue in the mid 70's. When New York was New York and filmmakers were in school preparing to make films about it.
My two visits to this bar gave me a place to go in the neighborhood. I knew no one else, nothing else, was so alone, working as a housekeeper, baby taker-carer, cleaning girl. But now I knew this bar. So I started walking in a lot. And soon the guys behind the bar knew my name and soon I knew the names of their friends and soon we hung out outside the bar and one bartender was my roommate for a while and everyone who lived with me those years were regulars at the bar and when I finally figured out how to not be a domestic but be a college student I did my homework at that bar and if I wanted to introduce my hope for love to my family, I didn't take them to my parents. I took them to the bar because that bar was home.
MY PRIVATE CONEY presents IT WAS HER NEW YORK, the short stories that accompany the work-in-progress video and photo collection of the same name (myprivateconey.com - media link - IT WAS HER NEW YORK). The stories and the media explore the tender rubble that holds both my mother, Florence's and New York's soul as one disappears into old age and the other into gentrification. All are real observations and/or experiences with very little tall-tale telling.
Except when it makes the story better.
Please visit myprivateconey.com for additional information and sample works.