Donovan, the singer/songwriter as soon as referred to as “the subsequent Dylan,” who Bob Dylan ridiculed on considered one of his European excursions, has a tune that goes:
“First there’s a mountain, then there isn’t a mountain, then there may be.”
It’s a reference to a Buddhist textual content and refers to enlightenment. One thing you imagine in is current, then it’s not, then it’s. Every little thing modifications. Some modifications are unavoidable and a few are disagreeable.
Modifications in my neighborhood instantly impact the way in which I stay my life.
And it’s actually arduous for me to simply accept change. However this time, I had no selection. The proof was proper in entrance of my eyes, though I wished to disregard it.
A “on the market” signal hanging in the appropriate hand window. Vida was gone.
A valued asset of the Stapleton group since 2003, Vida served up superb meals in a splendidly cozy environment, whereas Cesare Evora performed on the sound system. Native artwork embellished the partitions and lots of a joyful evening was spent there with household and buddies. Our good friend Silva owned and operated the restaurant. Joan and I celebrated our tenth anniversary inside its partitions.
Vida opened across the similar time as The Muddy Cup, signaling a revival to the realm that ultimately led to a few years of Van Duzer Days. The Cup’s homeowners, Jim and Rob, had been instantly answerable for my household transferring into the neighborhood. Jim knew our landlord, Joe, and organized for us to see the residence that has now been our house for the previous 17 years.
Shut proximity to each the Cup and Vida helped in our determination.
One evening, Jim, Rob, Joan, Silva and I stood within the vacant restaurant, well beyond closing time. Silva introduced out a bottle of wine and proposed a toast to us all. As we drank, a lightweight patina of snow fell. We gazed upon it wistfully. “Ain’t no one going to work tomorrow,” Rob declared. The truth is, no one did.
By the years, Vida had its ups and down. Severely restricted parking exterior the restaurant didn’t assist. Although the realm buzzed with exercise from the restaurant, the Cup and Martini Reds (which is now the Hop Shoppe), individuals didn’t come a lot to the neighborhood. To every their very own. And, their loss.
Silva generally complained that she wished to go away, that it was an excessive amount of working the restaurant, cooking and dealing with its monetary affairs. Then, she would change her thoughts and hard it out for an additional yr. We thought she all the time would.
This yr, we had been incorrect. This was the yr Silva made good on her promise and disappeared, leaving the shell of a storefront behind her.
Then once more, this yr, no one’s been proper about something. All bets are off. The one certain factor is uncertainty, and that may destroy an area enterprise quicker than you may say “pita bread.”
Occasions have been robust for Stapleton. The previous Cup is now a tattoo parlor. The previous Duzer Native seems to be to be re-opening beneath the identify Amira’s Cafe. So many new enterprises had been set to start earlier than the virus got here to city. Now, it’s largely wait and see.
However, my thoughts is on Vida, its promise and what it meant to this neighborhood. It completely will increase the standard of life in a group should you can stroll down the block to a good restaurant. Staten Island has no scarcity of nice locations to eat, however when it’s your neighborhood, your group, while you see your mates gathering at an area spot to eat or hear music or simply hang around, it means much more.
That sense of group will get you thru pandemics and catastrophes, good occasions and dangerous, hustle and hollowness. Every venue is a brick upon which different venues are constructed. And, when one brick disappears, the remainder topple and generally fall away.
What’s going to occur now’s anyone’s guess. The Coop, which is a bar subsequent door, may broaden. The storefront may keep vacant for awhile, as did the Cup. No matter occurs, the recollections of fine occasions inside Vida’s partitions is not going to fade. They, too, are bricks in a sequence of recollections.
I place confidence in Stapleton, in any other case I wouldn’t stay right here. On first look, it may appear unimpressive and perhaps even, to some of us, threatening. Stapleton does have a popularity, and a whole lot of it for unsavory issues. However the persons are what make a group, and the those that have made their house right here like Donna, Frankie and Dave, who’ve arrange companies like Joe and Ira and the a whole bunch of musicians who’ve come to play on the Cup, Martini’s, the Hop Shoppe and Duzer Native have made this a spot of heat and solace. Mountains could come and go, however recollections are perpetually.
Maintain these gray heads excessive!
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