In a possible sure sign of the dying soul of New York City, Holland Bar—dive of dives, hell hole of Times Square past, hard-drinking haven, irony-free zone—has been gutted. If it is gone for good (and this is not a certainty—see below), it follows its brother in gritty Ninth Avenue degeneratacy, Bellevue Bar, into history. If Ray Milland in "The Lost Weekend" were alive today, where would he drink!?
The beloved dump used to be inside the Holland Welfare Hotel in 42nd—hence the name. It only moved to its present location in 1987. Legend has it that jazz great DexterGordon was a regular. The liquor was rotgut, but the beers were good. And everything was cheap.
But there's a possible silver lining. I called around and learned this from the owner of the nearby Manganaro's HeroBoy: "There's a possibility that it may reopen in the spring. The landlord is making some renovations, but if you look in you'll notice that while some stuff has been ripped out, other things have been left. I think the owner and the landlord are trying to come to an agreement."
So there's hope.
The phone has been disconnected. A job action filed with the DOB on Oct. 30 by one Harry H. Hong describes the work this way: "INSTALL EXHAUST HOOD FOR AN EXISTING DELI STORE ["Deli Store"?] ON 1ST FLOOR. INSTALL METAL CHIMNEY FROM 1ST FLOOR ROOF TO 5TH FLOOR ROOF. NO CHANGE IN USE, EGRESS AND OCCUPANCY." I called Hong's office and they didn't know what was going on with the space.
Hong filed another job on Oct. 24 to "REMOVE EXISTING WOOD BEAMS AND REPLACE WITH NEW STEEL BEAMS AND METAL DECK CONCRETE FOR 1ST FLOOR RIGHT FRONT STORE. INSTALL FIRE RATED SHEETROCK ON CELLAR AND 1ST FLOOR CEILING."
The owner of the building is listed as one Eleben Yau Mei Wong, who seems to have bought the property in 2007. Norman Daskefsky used to own the bar. Maybe still does.