This is another once upon a time story so listen carefully…
Once upon a time, in 1976, I moved to Manhattan, NYC. My first apartment was on 65th between First and York Avenue. Two blocks south, at 1152 First Avenue, was a place folks called FRIDAY’S. It boasted a bright blue façade with red and white candy stripe awnings and accents.
The beer was fresh and cold and the food was inexpensive and lots and lots of eye candy.
It was a time when the business offices of New York City still needed large numbers of staff to function properly. Both First and Second Avenues in New York City, between 65th and 86th, had plenty of two bedroom apartments availablein the five to six story buildings that lined the Avenues and side streets. The influx of young folks staggered the restaurant, bar and pubs that once catered to an older generation. That soon changed with the likes of “Who’s On First”, Adam’s Apple, Dangerfield’s, Rathbone’s and “Friday’s”.
My guidebook at the time was a tome by David Yeadon and Roz Lewis called “The New York book of Bars, Pubs & Taverns.” Their story of the origins of FRIDAY’S follows:
“Friday’s, or to give the correct title T.G.I. (Thank God It’s …) Friday’s, is a landmark on the Manhattan singles scene. It opened in 1965, around the same time Maxwell’s Plum, and is still one of the most popular spots in the “meat rack” zone…
“The atmosphere is perhaps a little more restrained than in the old party days when gorilla-suited employees would bound across First Avenue stopping cars and literally drag their occupants in for the revelries, or when horse drawn chariots complete with Ben Hurs would reenact the famous chariot race around the block. But there is still life in the old place yet…”
(I can remember the later but not the former. And I know the reason why…)
“Alan Stillman, Ben Benson and Ernest Kalman, (Google those names for a history of restaurants in NYC from 1965-1975) the owners of Friday’s (also, Tuesday’s, Wednesday’s, and Thursday’s), are still confused over the success of the place.”
All I knew was that it was a great bar…
Where the original T.G.I. Friday’s was located… 1152 First Avenue, NYC