Where everybody knows your name

F's has closed. Three weeks ago I walked by, and the lights, both interior and exterior were off. There was a sign that said "Closed for renovation." I though "What the hell are they renovating?" The whole allure of F's is that it is a dive. You don't have to worry about what you are wearing. You don't have to worry about your behavior. As long as you don't set anything on fire ( including other patrons), you are a stellar customer. I figured that more likely F's got flagged on some health code violation.

It's been three weeks now, and no activity, no sign of F's ever re-opening. The bartenders weren't even informed of the closing. ( Which has to suck-you show up to work and find that work no longer exists) I was sad that the bar would close down without letting any of us know. After all, there are people from F's that I never bothered to ask for a number. They woudl turn up again eventually-the bartender Justin who knew more about archetypal psychology than any other person I know ( he turned me onto some very good books)-bouncer Joe who has an autistic son and lovely daughter and was always good for a pep talk (he was also willing to bring me "hot latin lovers" on request-I never accepted choosing to forage for myself)-Jerry the actor and Alex the writer-Patrick the heartbroken-Kevin the requisite obnoxious Irish bartender-Michael the NYPD detective, who bought me a drink once for explaining comma usage to him-Jay the karoake king-Mark who taught me to drink a glass of water between every drink right before he quit drinking for good-even crazy drunken Mike the only stockbroker I know who admits he can't figure out his cable bill. I met a lot of good friends through F's-Jim the photographer and Ursula the fashion consultant.

It would have been nice to have one last big hurrah. F's was the place that saved me really from many nights of crying alone in my apartment. For a while, it was the only place I could do work. I would go to F's with big stacks of papers and grade with a big pint of hard cider sitting in front of me. It was a safe place to go when I wanted to leave my apartment, and none of my friends were about. It's not like there aren't other bars in NYC to take its place, but the closing of F's is definately a landmark moment. It is the same age I am. Established in 1974, F's and I share a birth year, which also makes its demise a little sadder.

But it might end up being a good thing. It will push me to explore other places, or maybe revisit old places in the village, now that the weather is nicer.

Still, I'll miss it.

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