ODE TO APT 78

As vintage Major Lazer blared through the speakers and a hundred-plus sweaty hands carried my tiny body from middle table twerk-and-dive to a safe landing by the swinging kitchen doors, I laughed to myself, "What the f*ck is this place?“ 

The magical nook, nestled in the heart of Washington Heights, was Apt 78; the self-appointed “laid-back lounge” I had no idea would become the framework for much of my twenties. 

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Owner Jose Morales is not only the heart of it’s inception, but a cultural patriarch and an inspiration to all. Not many can attest to successfully sodding the ground that tried to bury them up, but Jose—as we all know him— stands in a lush field that grew from the concrete on Broadway Avenue. 

Hearts all over New York City shattered early Tuesday morning as they read Jose’s caption below his closing announcement Instagram post. 

Jose explains that “the constant battling with [the NYPD] took away the fun and passion” he once had. In the same breath, Jose says there is not much else he could accomplish at Apt 78 and that he wants to play a role in the changing of the community. He proceeds to thank everyone from past employees, to participating organizations, press and customers, but I think I speak for the masses when I say I want to thank him

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…For establishing a judgement-free safe haven in a community that’s never seen something quite like it 

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…For welcoming every patron alike - from the regulars who walk through the wooden doors every weekend, to the tourists from Ghana that “read about how cool it was online”

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…For incubating the start of DJ careers on Tuesday, but having Pete Rock spin on a Wednesday and Major Lazer tear the place down on a Saturday

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…For responding to our every beck and call when the bouncer told us the space was at capacity and we didn’t want to leave

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…For the Sunday my parents told me, “you’re undoubtedly our child,” after dancing ourselves dizzy to live tipico at  Que Lo Que

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…For building the wooden deck where I met the love of my life after the legendary Apt 78 Block Party

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…For letting me dance on tables for not one, but three of my most memorable birthday celebrations

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…For the notorious middle table; a place for laughs, tears and crowd-dives 

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…For the anomaly that is the Apt 78 sangria and the nights we cursed its existence, but visited hours later to “cure our hangovers” with some more

…For giving us a place where we felt part of something bigger. A place where we could host our events, wander in off the street for some grub, dance until it hurt and celebrate life.  

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Thank you to Jose Morales, his partners, family and staff for helping make a monumental mark on the Uptown community. 

This isn’t an epilogue, but a forward to a story only partially written. To many more years of breaking barriers, freedom of artistic expression, warm nights and cold drinks…

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An Ode to Apt 78.