b'A Place WorthRememberingJon Michaud shows why a neighborhood bar matteredBY ELLEN DONKERW ashington Heights maysionals, blue collar workers, politicians and cops all not be the part of Man- felt at home at Coogans. hattanthatpeopleinMaplewood resident Jon Michaud, who consid-our neck of the woodsers himself to have a keen eye for a good neighbor-routinelyvisit,buthood bar, made the first of many visits starting in chances are many of us1998 with his future brother-in-law. He explains, have spent time there.My wife is a child of Dominican immigrants, and Situated in the northernmost area of the borough, itCooganswasastaplepartoftheirsociallives.I is home to Columbia University, Fort Tryon Park andquickly saw that it wasnt just another bar, but that it the Cloisters, the Fort Washington Avenue Armorywas a special place.(where CHSs student athletes participate in winterIt seems fitting, then, that Michaud has written track events) and New York-Presbyterian Hospital.a book about the saloon, titled Last Call at Coogans. The area was also home to Coogans, a legendaryThe Life and Death of a Neighborhood Bar.saloon on Broadway and 169 thStreet, that closed itsOver the years, Michaud watched how Coogans doors in 2021 after 35 years of business. Consid- became a gathering place for the community. He ered a fixture of Washington Heights, an area thatsays, Variety is one of the things that drew me to had undergone major demographic changes in priorthe story, because it wasnt just a story about a bar. decadesshifting from a middle-class white popula- It was a story about all these different groups in the tion of Irish and Jewish descent to a multi-ethnic,community, who used that bar as a place to connect mostly Dominican neighborhoodit brought to- with each other. gether people from all walks of life. Families, profes- Michaud was first inspired to write a piece about 18/ matters magazine / summer 2023'