04 August 2011

Here's Your Hat

The Gonzalez y Gonzalez hat on lower Broadway is gone. For many years a mid-Village neon beacon, here's all that's left. Kinda interesting to see the undercarriage of the whole contraption. But where'd it go?


Ed said...

I loved the hat, but I would also go there to listen and sometimes dance to the salsa bands they had in the 1990s. I stopped going when the place got too crowded. Its not the most important restaurant closing of the year, but its important for me since I had memories there.

One way the geography of the city has changed is that fun places -and I don't mean sleazy but the sort of goofiness represented by Gonzalez y Gonzalez has been pushed out to the landmarks. Its all high end or touristy between 2nd and 8th Avenues.

Alex said...

The undercarriage used to be the whole sign - I worked across the street during the summer of '86 when the neon was brand new and the place was called Bar Lui.

The undulating wave was all blue neon and instead of mexican stripes the whole thing was either dark grey or maybe painted like a piano keyboard - I could be wrong about the piano bit, but I clearly remember thinking the sign looked like a keyboard to me anyway.

Back then the neighborhood had already gone through a first wave of gentrification, so there we some non-chain upscale-ish clothing stores & Canal Jeans mixed in with older Hasidic run places that sold sheets, and a huge stationary store called Tanner-Durso where we had an account. Nothing like the mega-mall it is now, although the older people I worked with complained that the neighborhood had been over commercialized /ruined.

Bar Lui was very self-consciously hip in that downtown 80's way - it served food, and maybe had live music - I thought the place was way too cool for me, so I only went in once or twice, but loved the facade. The first time I saw the giant hat, I thought "What the hell - they ruined it."

Little Earthquake said...

Good place for salsa dancing - but as Ed said it got crowded.

Manhattan needs more latin dance halls. Brooks - you should do a piece on the Spanish Benevolent Society and "Little Spain."

bowery boy said...

We used to go to Bar Lui at 2am after waiting tables at Greene St. Rest' and Soho Kitchen & Bar. Lui's hook was its block-long bar. We'd drink there until 4am when the Zodiac would open on Houston & Mercer Sts. Leave there at 10am with the sun hitting us in the face, ugh, and then go right back and serve sunday brunch. Oh, the waiter's life in nyc!