Langan’s had a backdoor, which while sounding exclusive, was just an emergency exit to the housing above it, 150 West 47th street. The exit also conveniently shared the laundry room downstairs, so one could drop off sundries, pop up to the bar, time a beverage to go dry said chore, and hop back home, after another few pints at the corner stool, without ever confronting the natural elements.
Also by the exit door was the women’s bathroom. Depending on the time of sun still setting on what some would call day of the week, would be freshly powdered peroxide blonde Fox News ladies. The pity quip at the bar would be that it really was too bad that cocaine didn’t come in any shade of Sephora's Pantone.
“I’m not worried about Johnny Rotten, can we keep an eye on the weather girls, please.”
But as any proper pub, the staff had a stiff Irish upper lip, some of whom who would crash in the spare bed upstairs at yours truly, to shorten the commute back and forth to the Bronx, and hence emotionally buffer the yet another three-day-long-now double shift — or what we call the New York Standard Time For People Who Work in F&B Unlike You in The Fake Job and Fake Hair So Can You Please Fuck Off, it was 4AM An Hour Ago. I’d help lock the door and go pull myself a pint while the What Is Wrong With People Decompression set in for said friends, finally sitting.
A blessed ritual between the coke walk and the fuck off was the New York Post Sports Section reviewing proofs for the morning, before getting the all clear to go to print. Drunk enough to come up with the right... or edit a better headline; how much shame, how much bite? But the numbers always added up, a testimony to sports journalists everywhere. After all, we only had the glass etching of Steve Dunleavy next to me in that corner, judging when he wasn’t in person, for otherwise we would tango to the Monday night piano man, gin and tonics deep. We have both (as far as I know) managed to come out of the demise of an establishment, somewhat unscathed, with two unbroken hips. That’s something to be said about a proper pub: enjoy, do not destroy. The Pub.
And so as much as we braced against time, night by night, one pint after three, the inevitable happened — Friends got Married. Friends got Green Cards. Friends got Citizenships. Friends got Progeny. Friends moved to Real Neighbourhoods.
Friends got Outpriced. What brought us to compete here in New York is what makes us move on by an ounce of winning -- we do not have time for the heartbreak or mourning or pity -- and simply carry the fuck on.
Here's to you, Langan's. Thank you for all the pints.