Hey there, all….. I am indeed back from Downtown Beirut.
No, sillies, I don’t mean the long dormant Downtown Beirut pictured above circa 1990 (replete with tattered Cop Shoot Cop flyer affixed to its front door), I mean the formerly decimated area of the capital city of Lebanon, which I was coyly alluding to in a couple of the previous posts.
We only just got back late last night, so I’m a little bleary, but look for a full report soonest.
Back on the NYC tip, though, some of you will remember the old Downtown Beirut bar on First Avenue just north of East 9th Street (although, I want to say it had a brief incarnation somewhere else after it closed up in the mid-90’s). In any case, it was a loud, sludgy dive of a variety that basically just does not exist in New Yok City anymore, so-named after the hardest-hit neighborhoods of the former Paris of the Middle East during Lebanon’s civil war. Sure, it sounded menacing and suitably combative for the East Village's punky patrons of the late 80’s and early 90’s, but having now traveled to the definite article and heard first-hand stories of the bombing and the snipers and the rubble (elements thereof still visible in certain parts of the city), it was assuredly no joke.
Somewhat ironically, the actual downtown of Beirut today is a teeming mass of immaculate, modern development, although reminders of the city’s fractious history are never far from the surface.
Last I looked, the former site of New York City's Downtown Beirut was an Asian foot-rub joint called .... I shit ye not ..... Yu's On First.
More to come shortly.