Late last year, this site and others reported that the fate of Bill's Gay Nineties was in limbo, that the old former speakeasy and beloved Midtown bar had declared bankrupcy and was in dispute with its landlord, and that restauranteur John DeLucie (Crown, The Lion) was eyeing the spot.
There has been no official announcement from either the Bill's or DeLucie camps, but it does seem a changing of the guard is in the wind on W. 54th Street. A few days back, I heard from a friend with intimate knowledge of the matter that it is in fact a done deal: the building has been sold, and DeLucie will inherit the reins. That news was quickly followed by a message from a Lost City reader:
I am sad to report (you might know this), but it is now confirmed that the building housing Bill's has been sold and they intend to remodel the place. The owner is looking for places to move, but we all know how that works out. It doesn't.I am told the DeLucie plans to respect the space and its classic interior. Not that that makes the shift any easier to take.
The final closing may not happen for weeks or months, said the reader. In the meantime, I encourage all New Yorkers to enjoy this classic bar and crowd it with life and money every single night. It would be nice if its exit dragged on a year. Apparently, Bill's longtime greeter, Aldo Leone, has been working at the bar for 49 years. He's one year from celebrating a half century at the place.