Monday, November 8, 2010

New York Dive

Back in 2007, I interviewed Reed Korach about his film New York Lost. Now Reed is back with a second project, New York Dive, chronicling the life and the loss of New York City's favorite dive bars. Still in progress, it will be a feature-length film and Reed hopes to finish by early 2011.

He and his co-director and cinematographer John Brunetti were inspired to make the film by a visit to Rudy's in Hell's Kitchen. Said Reed, "I realized this was one of the last real bars left in Manhattan that has a variety of real New York characters. There was a fight outside...and this prompted us to see what was going on. We were greeted by the sounds of Metallica's 'Enter the Sandman,' and roasting hot dogs and cheap beers. It was like a godsend compared to the $7 beers next door. It was like traveling back in time."

at Rudy's in Hell's Kitchen

In the film, a Rudy's regular says, "It would be devastating if one day they're closing the place, and you know when the lease it out, then Starbucks coming in, with a lot of money, and then you have all this plastic shit coming in, one after another, and nobody needs these fucking stores... it becomes too much Yuppietown."

But dive bars do close, as we know, and Yuppietown sweeps into their place. Recently, Ruby's of Coney Island was given the boot after 76 years on the boardwalk. Reed and Brunetti feature Ruby's in their film, talking to one regular who's been drinking at Ruby's for 69 years.

Old-time regular at Ruby's in Coney Island

They also visit the Navy Yard Cocktail Lounge, Holland Bar, J. Mac's, Superdive ("totally fake" say the filmmakers), and Max Fish. "We also filmed quite a few yuppie bars on the LES to differentiate between the two atmospheres." A yuppie bar is definitely not a dive.

On film, a regular at the Holland Bar defines the "dive" as "a cheap bar, not painted up to look good and shit. You get good drinks for the price of your money." And as the bartender says, "I have the real New Yorkers here, not your la-di-da-la-la-la."

at the Holland Bar

At the (possibly 100-year-old) Navy Yard Cocktail Lounge in Brooklyn, which is currently being demolished, a gal explains, "people come here, some people need somebody actually to sit and talk, it's not just all about the dancing and feeling up on nobody. Some people just need that common, you know, communication."

That common communication is exactly what you find at a dive bar. What will happen when they are all washed away and replaced with Shake Shacks and artisanal cupcake shops?

The Navy Yard

The filmmakers both agree, "It would be a real punch in the stomach" to see more of the city's beloved dives disappear. "These are the places that portray what the real New York is all about, in my opinion--life-long New Yorkers and sociable people, unlike today's generation."

View the extended trailers for New York Dive here and here.

Ruby's son-in-law, sharing memories

More dives on VNY:
Jimmy's Corner
Holiday Cocktail Lounge (rescued)
P&G (relocated)
Blarney Cove
Mars Bar
Holland Bar (rescued)
Dick's (vanished)
George's (vanished)


Carol Gardens said...

Best dive ever: the old Siberia located in the subway station. (I was recently getting out of an art gallery opening on the Upper East Side and got major props for leading people through the fancy to the Subways Inn, another good one.)

Rachel said...

"Not your La-Di-Da-La-La-La."
Love that. Says it all.

SeñorDolor said...

During the late 80s I had the opportunity to be introduced to some classic dive bars by the rock and roll crowd I hung out with. The Dugout, located alongside The Variety Theater (also gone) and McGovern's bar on 14th St (now renovated to an unrecognizable state) truly were NYC icons in my mind. Here is a shot I took of the bar and its bartender during one trip there, circa 1987 or so.

blue glass said...

holiday on saint marks place is still, mostly, an real old time bar.
stephen ran it for as long as i can remember, and locals, old and young filled the place.
i believe stephen's family now runs it.

Jeremiah Moss said...

amazing photos, SenorDolor, thanks for sharing the link. i've been trying to find a photo of the Dugout, to no avail.

Anonymous said...

I like to hang out at Flannerys, on 14th Just west of 7th ave. Classic Irish dive bar w/ a great jukebox, cheap drinks, unpretentious crowd of regulars and live music on weekends (avoid that if you dont like packed crowds)

Marty Wombacher said...

I can't wait to see this film. I hope they included The Mars Bar.

Grand St. said...

Ah, Flannery's. Used to live near there in the 90s when the Knicks were hot. One Tues. night, a buddy of mine and I were watching the game there on a big projection screen on the back wall, and just as the 3rd quarter was set to begin (at about 9 PM), the screen was raised. We asked the bartender what the heck was going on, and he replied "Irish dance night."

Indeed, and at that moment, a crowd of folks in traditional dress entered and a DJ began spinning reels. No more Knicks. My buddy and I ran to another joint to catch the 2nd half.

Susan May Tell said...

happened on this case you aren't familiar with it -

Sean said...

Ah, Flannery's, though I'd hardly call it a true dive bar.
Real dive bars hardly have TVs, let alone large projection screens! Nor would they have fair colleens coming in to dance.

Back in the 80s, during the IRA Hunger Strike by Bobby Sands and 9 other martyrs, the mid-Manhattan unit of Irish Northern Aid (INA, rhymes with IRA) would meet in the back there to plot the overthrow of the British presence in Northern Ireland. I guess Flannery was a sympathizer. A little bit of history

Anyway, I always thought Flannery's was an Irish bar, and not a dive bar.

I guess what I call a 'dive bar', others would call a 'bucket of blood'.

Has anyone been to Murphy's aks "Irene's" in Greenpoint? Old man Murphy disappeared. He owed some gamblers money. Irene took it over.
There is no name to let you know.

Old-time Gpt locals rule there.
Hipsters are unwelcome, and fights among the locals happen, only to see them shake hands and buy back a little later.

I won't say what else goes on.