New York Bar – Rest In Peace

The official end of the NY bar happened this week, to nobody’s real surprise. They had a closing party on Wed. night (Jan 5, 2011) and now it’s all over but some dismantling. If you need more than my word for it, note that AM Costa Rica, not known for its pro-mongering attitude, ran a full page story on it in the Jan 7 edition. Their story is good for some historical facts and I only have a few quibbles that don’t merit mentioning. The New York follows in the footsteps of numerous other gringo bars that went belly up, including the Irish Pub, Dos Gringos and Nashville South.

Those who have read the stories here have heard the place mentioned many times. Free Sex Can Cost You Plenty started there. The two Moochie stories started there. Likewise the Jenni Loca series. And my favorite story of all, the Pay or Not to Pay story was about a bartender from there. And there are a lot of other stories that will never be told here for various reasons. Suffice it to say the place was one of a kind and it will be missed.

I first went there in 2004 shortly after I moved to Costa Rica. At the time I was spending most of my barfly hours either at the Hotel Presidente’s bar or across the street at the (now defunct) Piano Bar. How innocent was I then? Well, I still wasn’t sure if all those unescorted women hanging out might be working. That’s how green I was. I was also green enough to be smitten by Neylin, the bartender at the NYB, and think I might have a shot with her (and think she was worth chasing).

After the close of the Piano Bar I gravitated to the NYB. My Spanish was still pretty limited and there was a place I could find people who spoke English to talk to. There were a number of cute bartenders working there besides Neylin… Gisela, Angie, Norma, Isabel… and plenty more as the years went by. I got to know plenty of the working girls there too and I ended up trying out most of those who appealed to me that frequented the place. Some of them I have seen many times, quite a few became friends while others were one and done.

I got to know a lot of the gringo regulars quite well. Some of them are guys I always enjoy talking to, some I can/could take or leave, and plenty of jackasses. But it was a San Jose version of Cheers, which, being San Jose, included a heapin’ helpin’ of hookkers. [sic]

I can say I know the (ex?) owner pretty well. He had a fondness for cigars, Flor de Cana rum, Johnny Cash and Whitney Houston. Although he lived in a makeshift apartment upstairs, he didn’t venture down all that often. When he did come down he might spend the night buying you drinks till sunrise, or he might get enraged and throw everybody in the bar out. Or he might just sit quietly puffing his cigar… you never knew.

As to why the bar closed, it boiled down to money. Eventually the expenses outran the revenue, to put it simply. Just why that occurred is open to speculation. Business was down from the days I first went there. The reason business was down is open to interpretation. Many business owners in the gulch will tell you that there are less gringo visitors than before. There is also increased competition from a couple of other gringo bars in the gulch that cater to the hard drinking expat crowd. Other theories probably have merit. I doubt it was just one thing, but after all has been said and done, the place is no more and not likely to reopen as a bar, although perhaps somebody with a lot of loose cash will decide they can make a go of it. I truly hope so, but I would be surprised.

I feel sad for myself and the other gringos who liked a place they could go in and find girls who would accompany them back to their homes for a modest fee and be their girlfriend of the hour (or half hour). I also feel very sad for the employees. Some of them will land jobs elsewhere soon, I imagine, while others may not. Costa Rica’s economy isn’t exactly booming nowadays and experienced bartenders or doormen are a dime a dozen.

But most of all I feel for the girls who worked there. For the most part, they worked the NYB because they didn’t feel they could compete in the Key Largo or Del Rey, where the pay scale is higher. Another reason is that they had repeat customers who hung out there. Guys who didn’t like spending over $50 for female companionship knew that there were always options in the NYB. Perhaps there weren’t many or those that were there were not quite on the ‘A’ list, but speaking from personal experience, there were some superstar performers there who may have lacked the outward appeal of their Del Rey counterparts, but whose performances were on a par with any in the known universe.

I’ve talked to quite a few of them, and they are all distraught. Where can the go? How will they ever make enough to pay rent? Try as I might, I can’t think of good alternatives. The Poas is friendly and has a gringo clientele, but it’s very small. Joe B’s doesn’t want girls in there hustling their customers for drinks and cigarettes. Papi’s… I don’t know what the attitude is towards non-paying customers of the working girl persuasion. Baja Beach is very Tico nowadays and not on the circut. Sportsmens seems somewhat restrictive, as the girls have to have some sort of card to work there, they tell me. I hear the Dunn Inn may soon be ready to give the Del Rey some competition. We’ll see.

But the girls will miss the place and so will a lot of gringos. Such as yours truly. Oh well. Asi es la vida.

Lingerie Model !acx DWP 2c Clyde Cover ACX 2  !t Clyde 1 !t Clyde Heads South !t Clyde 3 Cover !t Clyde Complete Cover !t DWP 1 Sexy African Woman in front of Hotel Door

Comments

  1. david strecker says:

    Great article Tom – had a lot of good times there – always stopped in for a nightcap on the way home – just a sign of the times – not as many gringos make the trip and when they do they just don't spend like they used to- cheaper to sit at the Del Rey milk a cold one and watch the girls, I remember when Ticos and Gringos hung together, doesn't seem to be that way now.

  2. Patt Dunn said it in the 90s, businesses based on tourism alone would not survive in downtown San Jose. The Piano Bar, New York Bar and the Nashvillle are good examples of the shift.

  3. Very good article – well written, as always. I always enjoy what you write.

    I stopped in whenever I was in SJ – but I can't help feeling that the place always seemed as if it was dying – and I guess it was.

    The owner had zero management skills – and to paraphrase a line from the movie "Animal House" "….drunk and stupid is no way to go through life, son" Running a bar and being your own best customer is going to result in disaster.

    Yes, a number of gringo venues have closed over the years, but in large part that has to be due to the way they were managed or mis managed – I always thought that with all the BS at the DelRey, given its location, size, etc, the NY Bar could have been a contender. I wish it had been, because for MANY reasons, I'm not a fan of the DelRey.

    Please post when (if) you know where the girls have landed – would not surprise me if some end up at the Dunn Inn, but I kind of get the impression Boyd wants another Sportsmans, or a smaller version of the DelRay vs another NY Bar.

  4. thomasobrien says:

    I plan to go visit the Dunn and see how it's coming along. What Boyd has told me sounds good and I wish him success. I'll talk to my lady friends and see where they end up, and post here.

  5. You forgot to mention Josseling at the NYB. She was a cutie 🙂

    • thomasobrien says:

      Joselyn is now the mother of a baby boy and happily living with her gringo boyfriend, a very nice guy. They seem very happy together.

      • Bill from CO says:

        Good job Tom on the info, You know the ex-bartenders from the NYB. I've been to CR a few times in the last couple of years in search of an ex-bartender at NYB (Gisela) you know anything about her whereabouts. I heard she left CR and came back, but where does she work. Whats going on with her?

        • thomasobrien says:

          As far as I know Gisela no longer works as a bartender. I saw her downtown maybe 6 months ago, just walking. You might stop in Joe B's and ask Hazel if she knows where to find Gisela. Hazel works at Joe B's now. Isabel works there too and she might know. Mike, the manager, or his wife Martha might also know. Good luck.

  6. blunt3force3trauma says:

    What happened to Yorleny?

  7. DMac20011 says:

    Great blog. I'm coming in to San Jose and looking for a bar to basically relax during the day with a few cold ones and admire the ladies without the price or intensity of the del Rey. Thoughts?

    • thomasobrien says:

      During the day, I like Joe B and Karen's down the hill from the Presidente. Papi's (former Dos Gringos) is another decent choice. Bar Poas is another place. However, none of those places will necessarily have many working girls, or any at all. Joe B's is good if you want to talk to gringos. The girls that worked the NY bar haven't really found a new home, but they try all of the above mentioned places hoping to find a customer. Some work days, others nights.

      • DMac20011 says:

        Appreciate it and keep up the great work on the site. I really enjoy it. Looking forward to the next trip.

  8. DIAMOND DAVE says:

    i allaways enjoyed the ray was treated very well by the food severs & security bar tenders and working girls i just felt at home their

  9. QUE DOLOR Y QUE TRISTEZA!!! AHORA ME ENTERO QUE SIEMPRE SI LO CERRARON, SE SUPONIA QUE IBA A SER HASTA MUCHO DESPUES, QUE PASO? POR QUE ACELERARON LOS HECHOS? YA NO PUDE REGRESAR PARA VOLVER A VERLOS…DESDE MEXICO MIS SALUDOS Y MIS MEJORES DESESOS PARA: NEYLIN, NATALIA, ANA KAREN (ARGENTINA TIERRA HERMOSA, QUE BELLEZAS HACES), KARIME, DAYANA, DORIS, CAMILITA, MONICA, JENNY, AZUL, DANA, AFRICA, CHERRY, BOMBON, RENATITA, PARA MI GUERITA HERMOSA KATY (VIVA VENEZUELA), PERO PRINCIPALMENTE PARA YORLENI, MI HERMOSA YORLENI, QUE ME MANDO DE REGRESO A MEXICO CON SOLO EL 10% DE MI CORAZON…(APENAS PARA SOBREVIVIR) PARA LA JEFA MAYOR (LA DOÑA) PARA GUERITO QUE SIEMPRE ESTABA CUIDANDO LA ENTRADA DEL NEW YORK, SIN OLVIDAR AL GRAN JEFE ROSS, UN SALUDO A LA DISTANCIA Y PARA AQUELLAS NIÑAS QUE CONOCI Y TRATE EN ESE FABULOSO LUGAR, Y QUE ESCAPAN A MI MEMORIA POR NOMBRE MAS NO POR HECHOS…QUE HICIERON MIS NOCHES INOLVIDABLES EN LA BARRA DEL NEW YORK Y LAS HORAS POSTERIORES… SALUD!!!

  10. What happened to Yorleny?

  11. QUE DOLOR Y QUE TRISTEZA!!! AHORA ME ENTERO QUE SIEMPRE SI LO CERRARON, SE SUPONIA QUE IBA A SER HASTA MUCHO DESPUES, QUE PASO? POR QUE ACELERARON LOS HECHOS? YA NO PUDE REGRESAR PARA VOLVER A VERLOS…DESDE MEXICO MIS SALUDOS Y MIS MEJORES DESESOS PARA: NEYLIN, NATALIA, ANA KAREN (ARGENTINA TIERRA HERMOSA, QUE BELLEZAS HACES), KARIME, DAYANA, DORIS, CAMILITA, MONICA, JENNY, AZUL, DANA, AFRICA, CHERRY, BOMBON, RENATITA, PARA MI GUERITA HERMOSA KATY (VIVA VENEZUELA), PERO PRINCIPALMENTE PARA YORLENI, MI HERMOSA YORLENI, QUE ME MANDO DE REGRESO A MEXICO CON SOLO EL 10% DE MI CORAZON…(APENAS PARA SOBREVIVIR) PARA LA JEFA MAYOR (LA DOÑA) PARA GUERITO QUE SIEMPRE ESTABA CUIDANDO LA ENTRADA DEL NEW YORK, SIN OLVIDAR AL GRAN JEFE ROSS, UN SALUDO A LA DISTANCIA Y PARA AQUELLAS NIÑAS QUE CONOCI Y TRATE EN ESE FABULOSO LUGAR, Y QUE ESCAPAN A MI MEMORIA POR NOMBRE MAS NO POR HECHOS…QUE HICIERON MIS NOCHES INOLVIDABLES EN LA BARRA DEL NEW YORK Y LAS HORAS POSTERIORES… SALUD!!!

  12. XENIA KELLY says:

    Me llamo Xenia Kelly vivo e Italia desde hace 26 anos, yo estoy buscando el propietario del bar New York Richard Arthur,me gustaria hacerle una entrevista, no se si todavia esta vivo, si puedo aver un telefono una direcion para poder escrivir si alguien sabe come me puedo poner en contato con lui, me pueden escriovir xenia maria .kelly@faswebnet.it

  13. Sorry to hear the news about the NYB. I remember when it was at the original location. Richard, if you can read this, Stan is in bad shape. I'll try and call you. Best to Marguerita. Tim

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