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November 10, 2013


Dan O

I decided to google search for the Blue Willow as I saw a friend today , whom I haven't seen since we hung out at the Blue Willow. I too returned (like a decade ago while on a business trip) and found some sort of offensive clothing store. I used to be kind of a regular. Bartenders name was Amy...and there was a HUGE grand Piano in one of the back rooms (there were several AND a labyrinthine basement) Word was Mr. R. Diniro had a few parties there...I did crash some. Anyway, I fancied myself a songwriter and for SOME reason Amy let me hang in the back and play, play, play.
The interior had, what 30' pressed tin ceiling...lots of persian rugs, antique (ish) furniture, an AWESOME was so very stylish, cavernous and comfortable at the same time. Historic and it is a crying fucking shame that it isn't still there.

Jim Yansick

It was very sweet you went looking for the blue willow, I think the first time I did was early 90s. I did eventually realize it was gone. The city was still cool then. Time Square was just one big titty bar, and the village felt almost other worldly. Now in a sinister way it's very Disney!
Yes Darlin the city has changed now, but few spots are still left amid the new rubble.
I still have the poster to each man hanging in my music room, a place devoted to just music listening. It's the one poster that has not come down in spite of comments that do not support the concepts that Friday and Wilde presented to the arts. I do enlightened them as best can. I followed Friday from just about day one as vp, meeting him in a record shop in early 80s, then seeing the exquisite over the top performance at Carnegie, saw in between, always a highly intense art performance, simply orgasmic.So if you think about what you went searching for and the title to the setting of the album it seems appropriate. Each man doth kill...that which he loves!
Cowards with a kiss, brave men with real estate...perhaps that is backwards but you get my drift ... Sentimentality is often devoured by those in a position to just take it away, the wise hold onto it in their hearts always! The blue willow will always live on in your mind and heart!

Lisa Guliani

I used to work in the penthouse of 644 Broadway. My boss, Martin Fine, owned the building, and his restaurant, The Blue Willow, was located on the ground floor. His real estate/law offices were situated in the penthouse suite. The office staff used to eat and drink at Blue Willow, and we also printed up their menus. We got to know the restaurant staff pretty well. It was a wonderful, eclectic restaurant.

Robert DeNiro held a party for his father, I think it was, at the restaurant one year.

The penthouse, where I worked, was furnished with all the antiques my boss had bought. IHe used to bring women up there - models - and in the mornings, we'd find glasses with residual alcoholic drinks still in them, or small roaches of the joints that had been smoked the previous night.

It was a strange place to work and a strange man to work for, but it was one hell of an experience during my time there.
I worked there in my 18th year.

It saddens me to see that it's gone now.
It was a fine old building and Blue Willow had an undeniable ambience in those days. It will remain as it was, in my memory box.

Nothing stays the same, does it...

~ Lisa G.


great writeup. i went to Blue Willow with my girlfriend on our first date on February 18, 1989. was a great place, spacious, great food, wonderful staff, tin ceiling. the evening light through those huge picture windows made everyone look like a star. i remember having a delicious foie gras ravioli in broth. sadly, the place closed a few years later along with several other neighborhood favorites of ours - Poppolini's, Hayashi, West 4th St. Saloon and of course Riverrun down in what would eventually be known as Tribeca.

But it's not all bad news - we're now married and it's 24 years later.

Good times!

Damien Bentley

What a magnificent write-up and I have to say I loved the comments from others as well, almost just as much as I enjoyed the article; This is one heck of a weird album, it's the sort of album you just live with... if that makes any sense[!?] I am just as nostalgic about this album today as I was years ago, the feeling hasn't changed oddly enough! Frankly, it's my least favourite Gavin Friday album musically, yet I still adore it for the artistic/poetic Oscar Wilde-like quality it possesses... and I think the biggest thing for me is that it's like a timeless time-capsule in and of itself... it's just sort of silently there, austerely sticking out like a sore thumb... in the background of my memory! The grainy, mysterious Anton Corbijn photography has just about every bit to do with it as the music itself does. That's what sticks out most in my mind; the photos that accompany the liner notes in the booklet. As an avid album collecter, I used to pore over the liner notes repeatedly, revisiting them when the mood dragged me back to them, as if to see if I could find the mystery within suddenly revealed... you know whn you can't remember something... and you say to yourself 'ok, forget it, i'l go do something else, it'll come to me later perhaps!', well this album has that exact effect on me, for whatever reason! My story and connection with discovering Gavin Friday is a strange one; I had followed the VIRGIN PRUNES on and off since somehow aquiring the 'IF I DIE, I DIE' Cassette Tape way back when, and after that any time I saw any sort of Virgin Prunes release on cassette, vinyl or CD, i simply snatched it up without a 2nd thought... I think that happened because I was listening to other things like Depeche Mode [Black Celebration], early-Ministry, Christian Death and Alien Sex Fiend I think it was back then. So, I just new this weird band called the Virgin Prunes that way! Years later, when I got into U2, I learned about Gavin Friday and then retraced the connecting dots and realized it was the same bloke, in a completely different guise... so then I got into GAVIN FRIDAY as a solo artist in his own right, and as much as I love U2, Gavin Friday suits my style and artistic weirdness much better perhaps... so, for me Gavin Friday has just always been there, with me... I have bought 'Each Man Kills The Thing He Loves' at least twice, 'Adam & Eve', twice, 'Shag Tobacco' twice... anytime I noticed a diffrent cover or different release version, I snatched it up and I'm proud to say I was thrilled to find his glorious recent album, on special order mind you, from a record store in Hong Kong... so for me Gavin Friday follows me around internationally, wherever I may be and on whatever side of this planet I happen to be on at the time... and somehow, it's a rather consoling, comforting feeling that brings me great solace, I'm happy to say!;)

Susan Abbott Wofford

It's so interesting to have found this page. I was having fond memories of a spot that a friend and I stumbled across in the early-mid '80's called The Blue Willow. I will always remember how at home I felt there, we were young girls visiting NYC from the South. I've got a trip to NYC coming up soon and was going to take my own "young girls" to experience this lovely place. I hate to hear that it's gone, but glad to know so many others out there enjoyed it as much as I did.


Just reading this now, as December 9th 1989 was the day I met my husband to be at a a Christmas party at the Blue Willow. It was the best place and it’s so sad that it’s gone. We had a few really cool parties there and hung out there a lot, always just the best place. We remember the Nlur Willow every year on this day and thank it and everyone there who helped bring us together that fateful night on December 9 so long ago💜thank you blue willow and thanks for this great article 🙏🏼


I was just searching for images of the Blue Willow. I remember it had a very large was painted a soft dusty gray blue and covered with gilt edge mirrors. I remember being so in love with the very romantic look of the place. Had cellphones with cameras existed back then that beautiful wall would have been the background of selfies. I was also looking for The Big Kahuna surf bar that was located further down the block.

Jeff Kehlert

The Blue Willow, AM-PM, Two-Eleven (2-11), Pizza Piazza, Top of the Sixes, The Bar at the Top of the Beekman, Danceteria, La Fondue, J.G. Mellon, Odeon, Richieu of London, and so many other great places of the 1980s.

Modern English I Melt With You, Ah-ha Take on Me, Joe Jackson Stepping Out, Yazoo Don't Go, Billy Idol White Wedding, China Crisis, Talk Talk, Duran Duran, The Fixx, Human League, The Police, Flock of Seagulls, Fisher Z, Soft Cell, ....Wow!

We would go into Manhatten at 10 pm on a Saturday and, sometimes, leave at 8am on Monday after hopping from bar to club to bar..... a different time. Wow!

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