|The Rawhide: soon to be turned into
another high-rise, Starbucks, Duane Reade, bank, |
Pinkberry, 16 Handles, cupcake store or all of the above.
Why am I sad about the closing of a bar I haven't been to in years?
Why am I sad about the closing of a bar where, the last time I went there, I was robbed?
Why am I sad about the closing of a bar whose customers I regularly warned to hold onto their wallets?
Maybe it's because it will probably be turned into another high-rise, Starbucks, Duane Reade, bank, Pinkberry, 16 Handles, cupcake store or all of the above.
Maybe it's because its closing symbolizes the latest step in the homogenization, gentrification and Cleveland-ization of New York City.
Maybe it's because it's the latest example of the cruel calculus of capitalism.
Are those the only two choices in the zero-sum game of our New Economy: crime-filled wastelands or Disney-fied shopping malls?
I walked into the Rawhide on its last day of business in late afternoon, laden with shopping bags from Dave's Army Navy store and Bed Bath & Beyond, for a last glimpse. Inside it was pitch black and crowded, but I could see that they had already started to dismantle the bar in preparation for its closing. The pool table was gone, as were the pinball machines and, of course, the iconic motorcycle which used to hang above the pool table had already been auctioned off.
I walked back out into the bright sunlight. It was too depressing, the years rushing past.
I walked back onto the newly heterosexualized sidewalks of Eighth Avenue, with its generic high-rises, its double-wide strollers and its kids on scooters and for a second I wondered, “Am I a part of the problem?”
So I walked over to Hudson River Park with my modern-day comforts of choice, a cup of coffee and a blueberry muffin, and wrote this story.