Many outside the New York area may not recognize the name the Half king bar, but the local hang out, just at the foot of the High line in Chelsea, has been home to authors and photographers who have gathered to share their work for close to two decades.
The local hang out with notable owners, Sebastian Junger, Author of Tribe and a Perfect Storm , Nanette Burstein, American film and television director and Scott Anderson, war correspondent and Novelist, is closing its doors this January after 18 years of companionship to their Chelsea neighbors.
Their closing came as a surprise to many, but like many popular attractions in the area, high rent prices and a reduction in the flow of tourism has forced many to reconsider their future. The Half King is just one of many businesses to close its doors with many following suite this year as the face of New York and business in the area change.
Their closing will leave many wondering how a business that has catered to local artists, authors and photographers will be replaced, and if you ask the staff they will tell you it wont be, but if you visit the bar you will see that their exit is imminent and it leaves a lump in your throat to watch this establishment give up it’s roots to be replaced by the unknown.
On Friday January 18th, 2019, the bar will host its farewell party and close its doors 9 days later and if you look to chalkboard over the bar, it counts the days down like an approaching New Year, but there will not be any celebration when this establishment leaves us.
As the days count down for the Half King I will make one last visit in hopes of running into Junger, Burstein or Anderson, as they too bid farewell to a home they built for artists near and far, but the legacy they leave behind will be difficult to replace… but one thing is certain, the lasting impression the Half King has made on this Chelsea neighborhood will be felt for years to come.