Sometimes our trash can be intangible things we leave behind, like memories and moments. COVID-19 has forever changed New York City, and for places like the Barcelona Bar on 8th Avenue, time stopped just before St. Patrick’s Day 2020 and never started again. Not yet, at least. The months of neglect seem to be taking a toll on this oasis of cheap shots and countless smiles, drunken breakups, and delayed human endeavors.
This narrow dark space and window fettered with homemade signs are so full of hope, anticipation, and energy. Surely, the people closing out this bar at 4am on St. Patrick’s Day would be a living Tom Waits song, a boozy morass of depressing comedy and heartfelt conversations stepping onto the sidewalk and into the night like children boarding a school bus. Their stories are now being lived out somewhere else, perhaps with someone else. But their history is here, and it is part of our history – New Yorkers moving on with life while still stuck in time.