Farewell, Fedora’s

I stopped in at Fedora’s tonight to pay my respects to a New York institution. Fedora’s will close its doors after Sunday, and New York City will loose a little of its luster.

Fedora’s is (until Sunday) nothing fancy, but everything special. It is presided over by Fedora herself: aged but enduringly charismatic, and tonight—as every night she makes an appearance—her entrance was greeting with applause, because she is a star. Not the kind who headlines movies or rock shows, but a star nonetheless.

I will say some things even though I am in no position to say anything about Fedora’s because—and this breaks my heart—I only went there a few times. I remember reading before I went there the first time that it was a gay bar full of regulars, and I somehow got the idea I wouldn’t have been welcome. I couldn’t have been more wrong, and I have rarely felt so welcomed anywhere.

Fedora’s has everything that matters: warmth and welcome, casual acceptance and lively history, neighborhood roots and enduring style. It’s the kind of place where you can’t help but engage in conversations with people sitting next to you at the small bar, you can’t help but bicker with the bartenders (and please forgive any typos or grammatical mistakes—G., that second gin & tonic was a doozy), and you can’t leave without a smile on your face. You can’t build that or decorate it in; you can only inspire it if you are the right kind of person.

Fedora certainly deserves a rest after all these years, so I can’t say I’m sorry to see her choose to close the place up, and I’m not a fan of eulogies, obituaries, or dirges (and make no mistake, Fedora herself is very much alive—she even had the temerity to thank me when I acknowledged her on the way out), because I would rather celebrate what continues to be good rather than waste too much time on what has gone. So I will just take a moment now to raise a glass in celebration of goodwill, of history, and of the passage of time, and in acknowledgment of missed opportunities. May I learn from my mistakes.

Mostly, though, I would like to thank Fedora for creating such a remarkable place that in just a few visits taught me what a place should be, if you know what I mean. I think it must have inspired more extraordinary places (how could it not?)—not in the same place or doing things the same way, but extraordinary all the same. So all that is left is for me to seek them out and remember not to take them for granted.



This entry was posted on Thursday, July 22nd, 2010 and is filed under miscellany, urbanism. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.
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