The music was terrible, as it has lately been anytime I have bothered go to Sugarland on a Friday. The fog machines and lasers were doing their best to compensate but the dance floor was still empty. Everyone was crowded at the front of the bar, far from the dance floor. There was a two hour open bar happening and I had drink after drink, talked and did not talk with a group of SVA students. My mind kept wandering. Green lasers kept racing across surfaces and I thought about time, specifically the years I have spent in New York. It was the 4th anniversary of this particular bar and on Sunday night, I spent a similar evening at its sister bar, Metropolitan, when that bar celebrated its 9th anniversary.
I have been in New York now for eight and a half years. My first apartment that I signed a lease to was just a couple blocks from Metropolitan and I lived there for a few years, oftentimes spending several nights a week at Metropolitan. I met a boy at that bar that I had my first New York relationship with. That didn't end so well and I threw myself at him every time I continued to see him at Metropolitan, perhaps started going to this particular bar even more after this, the hope of seeing him, of going home with him if I could manage to say the right things, be charming or desperate enough.
I have hooked up with countless boys from that bar, done lines of coke in its bathroom, spent many summer Sunday afternoons on its back patio getting sloppier and sloppier. I have also now at this point in my life calmed down quite a bit from those early years of mine in New York, settled down in many senses of the phrase. My trips to the bar have become less and less frequent. It is weird to think that my time in New York and Metropolitan's coincides so closely.
I don't know where I am going with any of these thoughts. I am not sure where one ever intends to go when they start strolling down memory lane looking at boarded up windows that they once used to live in. But that's what was happening last evening. I didn't really know anyone other than Jacob and his SVA friends. I thought about when Sugarland first opened, how I was there for that. Smoking on the roof patio last night, I could see a tall unoccupied condo building that Sugarland was now in the shadow of. That did not used to be there. When the bar first opened, the Williamsburg real estate bubble was popping and everything around this bar looked bombed out, razed lots, half finished construction projects. Apparently the money has now come back for big condo projects. This building was a depressing sight to see, obstructing a view of the night sky that used to be fairly unobstructed.
Jacob at one point asked about the mural of Domino Sugar Factory at the front of the bar, wondering why it was in the bar. I was a little blown away that he didn't know the building's history and its relationship to this neighborhood, that it was less than a decade ago still an operational factory, that its closure in 2004 (a year after I moved here) was a very potent symbol of Williamsburg's manufacturing decline, that what had once been an active industrial waterfront was no longer, that the bar took its name from this, that it was a cutesy reference to this part of Williamsburg's history that had only recently come to a close.
My mind wandered even more so now, this brief retelling of the neighborhood's recent history throwing about green lasers all over other surfaces of my mind, things briefly illuminated, memories of beds and boys and shit jobs and hungover mornings and bike rides and endless slices of pizza.
The open bar ended. The music was still shit. The dance floor was still empty. Jacob was too drunk for his own good. We went to Anna Maria's and had some slices before hopping on the train home.