Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Back to Bill's

The New York Times recently published "Making It Clubby," an interview with the decorator of the new Bill's, formerly Bill's Gay 90s. (The place opens next week.) A reader also sent in a bunch of photos some weeks back showing the state of poor, old Bill's in between the gutting and the redo. So, photos interspersed with quotes from the article:

"Her specialty is taking a space with New York history and breathing life into it by buffing up old surfaces and adding cool touches."

"the five-story 1890s brownstone had gone shabby in recent years, and the taps slowed to a trickle before the place closed nine months ago. 'It wasn’t living up to its potential,' said the decorator."

"'Often with restaurants, they don’t have a long life,' Ms. Sharpe said, taking a seat in a brown leather banquette upstairs. 'My job is to give them a classic aspect so people will come back.'"

Let's remember the real story of what happened here, shall we?
  • Bill's Gay 90s was not shabby at all when the landlord refused to renew their lease this past spring--it had an already clubby, old-world atmosphere that was earned, a collection of antiques and real history amassed over a near-century of existence. 
  • It didn't need to be given a classic "aspect," because it was an authentic classic.
  • Business was brisk--the place breathed with life every night. 
  • The restaurant had enjoyed an exceptionally long life, thriving since 1924. It lived up to its potential and then some. 
  • And it didn't close--it was pushed out. As the owner wrote on the website, "Our landlord refused to renew our lease and after an 88 year run, we were forced to close." 
One more loss in the breakneck "race to acquire New York’s oldest, most storied properties." Let's hope this trend dies before we lose all of our greatest places.

the new Bill's

Bill's Vanishes
Bill's Carted Away
Bill's Gay 90s
Bill's in Boardwalk Empire


David said...

I'm pretty disgusted by this whole thing. I'm sure this woman never set foot in the place before it was given the boot and here she is preaching about making spaces authentic and classic.

randall said...

a dose of revisionist history along with hyper-gentrification. Actually quite amazing to see if it didn't hit so close to home.

@David - no way she was ever in there, it was way to declasse and pedestrian...what with the Monkey Bar right across the street.

The NYT should write a correction. Clearly no fact checking went on with this. Whoever does PR for that place now should be ashamed.

everettsville said...

The luxury experience economy is built on fiction. It's propaganda, lying, misinformation and ignorance that keeps it hopping...

...and then there's that whole head-on-a-stick trophy thing that Jeremiah talks about.

Thanks, New York Times, for your contribution to this fiction.

Grade "A" Fancy said...

As a wise magazine once said, "Bleeccch!"
Absolutely in agreement with David. This article is entirely appalling, which is not surprising given that it's in the fashion section. New = Good = Money. No matter who it f*cks over. (But isn't the taxidermy fad passé at this point?)

Anonymous said...

This makes one think of George Velonikis' defense of his horrible redo of Washington Square Park. He insists " It was old!". So are the Borghese Gardens.
What it needed was a to the "T" restoration and he made it into some fey nightmare funded by the Wash. Sq Hotel and other nearby businesses (NYU?) that wanted it to be something other than what it was. Now condo owners nearby can feel good about the park, since it is as gauche and nouveau riche looking as they.

Marty Wombacher said...

I really hope karma slaps DeLucie and everyone involved in this right in the face. Barbara, the owner and the daughter of the founding owner told me that she offered to pay the same rent that DeLucie is paying and they refused. My wish is that everyone in New York throws an egg at the place on their opening night.

Ms. said...

Better to know the truth behind the facade, hidden under the hype--to smell the blood on the bricks, see the tears in the eyes of those who've been bullied and bounced. Better to feel for the facts than dream along with the polished fantasy.

glamma said...

that decorator should be ashamed of themself for spewing such utter bullsh*t. what a crock of garbage! i bet they dont even buy it themself, god.

Anonymous said...

I'll autherentificate her. She can buff up my surfaces and add cool touches anytime. Club this.

Shawn said...

I ripped the new "Bills" in the NYT article. Please do that as well so all the NYT readers can see what a scumbag the new owner is, and the landlord, who is worse.

To hell with the new "Bill's."

I just wish Barbara would hurry up and open a new Bill's Gay Nineties so there is a midtown piano bar that I can frequent!

mch said...

I've been looking for your comment on the hapless (to be polite) NYT's

Same spirit. Journalism as promotion of real estate developers' interests.Bloomsberg's NYC. (Cf. Staten Island, Rockaways, Jersey Shore.)

Jeremiah Moss said...

thanks mch, i'll read it. but at first glance...ugh.