I have to say, I wasn’t expecting much from a dive bar outside an L-train stop in Williamsburg. Those of you who read my previous articles may understand how any time I spend in Billyburg is filled with pure, unadulterated hatred for my surroundings. This night was no exception. Cole had picked The Subway Bar for our anniversary party purely on the thematic resonance of its name, so neither of us knew what it would be like until we got there. We’d had trouble getting people together in the past, even when free drinks were in the cards, so I was curious to see the turn-out for our big event.
Cole and I had been walking around plastering stickers on light poles with Alan (recently falsely accused of a terrible crime), and we actually got to our own party five minutes late. That would have been embarrassing, of course, if anybody else was there. As it was, we managed to score the sweet (read: poorly constructed and dirty) front table, so we could see all the friends of Realcity march in. I ordered a PBR and a shot because Yelp told me it would be five bucks. Nine dollars lighter(!) It wouldn’t have been a problem if the waitress hadn’t shot me a look for interrupting her TV time, or if she had seemed anything but put off by our presence. I slouched into my surprisingly unsteady booth seat.
We chatted for a while about the décor of the bar, what was on TV — something about killer sharks — and how incredible FX’s Archer is. An hour passed with nary a single person entering. We shrugged it off because it was Friday and people had to go home to change, wanted to stay out late, etc. We ordered more beer (forgoing what must be a $7 shot this time) and continued to wait. I went outside for a cigarette or two. When I came inside, the conversation got a little surlier. Bitter jokes were made about hipsters, people on Reddit and how often our loved ones mispronounce Realcity (it rhymes with reality, Mom).
Nearly an hour and a half had gone by, and nobody showed up. We’d run out of things to talk about (and places to put stickers) and were getting tired of spending money on relatively expensive beers. With a few sighs and one, “Seriously, fuck everybody,” we decided to close it up. Out of all the people involved in Realcity since its inception, and the hard workers who contributed to the Subway Issue, I guess there was just no steam left to blow off. For a magazine whose purpose is to bring people together from widely separate bubbles, this felt especially strange.
Epilogue: As we were leaving, writer and friend-of-the-magazine Jarrod showed up with his lovely lady friend, Amanda. We moseyed over to Alligator Lounge, hung out with some more wonderful people and got very drunk and very full on free pizza. Overall, it turned out to be a fantastic night.