Join Word Up in celebrating the launch of Last Call at Coogan's: The Life and Death of a Neighborhood Bar about the uniquely inspiring story of a beloved neighborhood bar that united the communities it served. Author Jon Michaud will be in conversation with Coogan's former owner Peter Walsh to share stories and images about the Washington Heights staple. The conversation will be held at Recirculation, a project of Word Up, with a Q&A and signing to follow.
“Michaud biographizes the alehouse with both objectivity and heart, welcoming the reader into this space where a starry-eyed motley crew of business partners managed to rise above the area’s addiction and disease to make community.”
—Kia Corthron, author of Moon and the Mars
This event is a $5 suggested donation ticket with 100 max attendees. Please register in advance.
Recirculation, a project of Word Up Community Bookshop, is located at 876 Riverside Drive (near 160th St.) in Washington Heights, NYC. You can take the 1 train to 157th St., A/C train to 163rd St., and the M4 and M5 to Broadway and 159/160th.
Coogan’s Bar and Restaurant opened in New York City’s Washington Heights in 1985 and closed its doors for good in the pandemic spring of 2020. Sometimes called Uptown City Hall, it became a staple of neighborhood life during its 35 years in operation—a place of safety and a bulwark against prejudice in a multi-ethnic, majority-immigrant community undergoing rapid change.
Last Call at Coogan’s by Jon Michaud tells the story of this beloved saloon, from the challenging years of the late 80's and early 90's, when Washington Heights suffered from the highest crime rate in the city, to the 2010’s, when gentrification pushed out longtime residents and nearly closed Coogan's itself; only a massive community mobilization including local politicians and Lin-Manuel Miranda kept the doors open.
This book touches on many serious issues facing the country today: race relations, policing, gentrification, and the COVID-19 pandemic. Along the way, readers will meet the bar’s owners and an array of its most colorful regulars, such as an aspiring actor from Kentucky who dreams of bringing a theater company to Washington Heights, a television reporter who loves karaoke, and a Puerto Rican community board manager who falls in love with an Irish cop from the local precinct. At its core, this is the story of one small business, the people who worked there, the customers they served, and the community they all called home.
Jon Michaud is the Collection Management Librarian at the Millburn Free Public Library. His debut novel When Tito Loved Clara (Algonquin) was named a best book of the year by The Barnes & Noble Review and was a finalist for the Writer’s Center First Novel Prize. Michaud was the head librarian at The New Yorker from 2003-2012 and the head librarian at the Center for Fiction from 2015-2017. His writing has appeared in The New Yorker, The Washington Post, Tin House, LitHub, CrimeReads, and numerous other publications. The recipient of a 2022 fellowship from the New Jersey Council on the Arts, Michaud lives in Maplewood, NJ with his wife and two sons. An American citizen, he was nonetheless the Irish junior javelin champion in 1983.
Peter Mallon Walsh is the former owner of the legendary New York City watering hole Coogans’s. He has a degree in history from Marist College and a Diploma in Anglo-Irish Literature from Trinity, Dublin. He has attended Queen Mary College and the School of Oriental and African Studies in London and served in the US Army with the 7th Psychological Operations.. His book 12 Passports And A Stowaway is a collection of poetry from expats living in Ireland. Married to Suzanne Clifton Walsh, he is the father of Conor, Alice, and Dana and resides in Water Mill, New York. Currently he performs spoken word with the Hamptons Jazz Festival and provides historical research for the Bridgehampton Museum.
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ACCESSIBILITY: Recirculation is a wheelchair-accessible space with one ramp from the street level down to the store. Most of the shelves are on wheels and can be moved to provide additional access. The bathrooms are not yet ADA compliant and do not yet have a changing table but are gender neutral. The events are mic’d for sound and videos are captioned when possible. Free ASL interpretation is available for most programs upon request. Please email email@example.com to request interpretation as early as possible. If you have specific questions about the space or how an event can be made more accessible to you, please do not hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.