Take Your Money & Throw It Into the Hudson River
When I first got into this racket back in 1996 I was living in Alphabet City on Ave. C and 9th St. There was one bar on Ave. C back then - 9C. The bartending staff was welcoming and well versed in the craft of the cocktail, but the place was just a divey juke joint that built up a legendary Monday night bluegrass jam. It was my living-room. The owner, Kenny Nye was often at the bar and, I came to realize later, gave the place that 'thing' that can make a good place great: Owner Operated. The vibe in any establishment should trickle down from the top, as long as the top isn't several rungs up on a corporate management ladder. Kenny was a good-humored guy, but he also didn't take any shit and he ran a great place. I told Kenny once I would like to own my own place someday. He told to me I should take my money and "throw it into the East River." But I didn't have any money. I was lucky if I had two nickels to rub together back then and I was still learning my way in this business. My Own Place seemed as likely as winning the lottery. Kenny went on to sell 9C in 2003 and focus on human kind's other precious liquid: coffee. He founded Ninth Street Espresso in 2001 and now pulls the best espresso in Manhattan. Coffee's been good to Kenny.
Back then I was budding New York bartender from Los Angeles, CA. A million martinis and 14 years later, I'm a small business owner in the Hudson Valley. The budget for the Birdsall House is small. We don't have much money for marketing, but a website and word of mouth has been very effective in a small town like Peekskill. Everyone we talk to seems genuinely excited for us to open. John and I are building this place out on our own, and though the bones of the place are solid and the bar and booths were in place when we arrived, there is still LOADS of dirty work to do here. But it's satisfying work. Stressful and nerve-racking at times? Yes. Tough on the family life? Absolutely. All things considered, we are ecstatic to be building this place in Peekskill and for this project we are happily going to throw or money (and future) into this Hudson River town.