I’m so confused about the weather, and nowadays I’m at least six degrees of separation from Al Gore and have no chance of getting the truth, inconvenient or not. The sun is high in the sky but the temperature remains low, and I want the winter that really never was to turn into a spring of boundless possibilities. I don’t know what to wear and everyone I know is in Paris for Fashion Week, trying to find out for themselves. I guess it’s the worst time to go to Le Bain or Le Baron with all those Frenchies having gone home for the spectacle – or maybe not. Le Baron has The Virgins tonight and that might be fun.
These Fashion Weeks in those fashionable cities abroad take all the broads (er, models) for work and/or play and all the playboy types and such that follow them. It really strains the bottom line of joints that depend on the jet-set crowd for bottle bucks. It does mark the end of the winter doldrums and the spring will bring all the snowbirds back from their warm retreats. I am restless for the new season. Yesterday I spied crocus and other tough little buds rearing their little heads…ready, like me, for action.
Every spring needs a cleaning, but I’m sad to report that dear friend Billy LeRoy is cleaning up and out of his tent that has been the home of Billy’s Antiques on Houston Street for 30 years. There will be a couple of days of events to mark the end of an era of a place that often looked like a comedy of errors, but more than often was a place that dreams were made of. Over a couple or few decades, I have purchased tables and chairs, kitchen sinks, and mirrors for clubs I have been designing. It was at Billy’s that I bought that life-size Muhammad Ali bronze statue that stands in front of Snap Sports Bar. I would poke around Billy’s on most warm afternoons, chatting with friends that popped by for a chat. Regulars like Clayton Patterson, Paul Sevigny, Arthur Weinstein, and Anthony Haden-Guest would converse and bask in the unreal realness of it all. The place always seemed "semi-legal" – and that described many of the regulars anyway. If you needed a trunk or a stool, Billy would have a nice one. If you needed to know what was happening with a neighborhood storefront or missing friend, Billy had the scoop. The neighborhood has changed and Billy’s old clientele looking for a moderately-used end table or obscure oil painting for their tenement apartment have been replaced with yuppie scum buying their furniture brand new at Raymour & Flanigan. Many of the old characters have faded into the past and, with the closing of Billy’s, Nolita loses much of its character. This Friday, March 9th at 7pm until Saturday, March 10th at 7pm, the Billy’s crew will say farewell.
Lorraine Leckie, always the class of the place, will perform. There will be "eulogies, art, poetry, and film" and many other performances. It might go late. On Saturday afternoon, they’ll take down the tent. "In a gothic burial ceremony, the flesh and bones of Billy’s will be placed in a coffin that will remain on display until demolition day. In the week leading up to the event, our landlord, Tony Goldman, will invite renowned artist and visual poet RETNA to paint the legendary Bowery and Houston mural. In the absence of the tent, a tradition of thoughtful creativity will endure."