NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A Financial District bar that had become a part of the fabric of the neighborhood in some of the city’s darkest days was set to close its doors for good on Friday night.
As CBS 2’s Don Champion reported, Suspenders Bar and Restaurant, at 111 Broadway between Pine and Thames streets, was not only a place where spirits were poured freely, but also a place where spirits were lifted.
Owners Bill Ahearn — a former FDNY lieutenant — and Pete Galindo get choked up talking about those times.
“I’m embarrassed,” Galindo said. “I’m sorry.”
In the days following the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks, the bar — only steps from ground zero — because a place where volunteers and firemen took breaks and even slept.
“People come in and sleep on the ground to look for your friends — you never forget it,” Ahearn said. “We put them in here – they were sleeping in the back but we were feeding them.”
Ever since, the faces of fallen firefighters have hung on the wall. After the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, the bar became a haven for nearby workers.
“We put them in lines and said, ‘Wash your face in the bathroom, get on this line, call your wife at home, tell her that you’re safe, and hang up that phone, and please don’t take more than 30 seconds because there’s a guy behind you,” Ahearn said.
But now, after all the memories — and visits by dignitaries — last call has come for Suspenders.
After 27 years in the same location, the building’s owner refused to negotiate a new lease.
“We saw a little bit of light at the end of the tunnel — right now, we’re seeing with the buses and tourists,” Galindo said, “and we’re leaving.”
But patrons said the memories will live on.
“Some things you just can’t overcome,” said patron Harry Ahearn.
“These were firemen who were helping people their whole life, and after 9/11, they opened these doors to the workers who were working here and digging,” said patron Ellen Berry.
As for what is next, the owners said they are not quite sure. But they know one thing — there won’t be another place like Suspenders.
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