Chuck Close’s Favorite Restaurant Ended the Crack Epidemic Twenty Years Before It Started

The artist Chuck Close spoke out strongly in favor of a new Il Buco last night at a meeting of Community Board 2, Grub Street reports. In fact, he was so in favor of the new branch that he actually misremembered how bad the neighborhood was before it had restaurants.

“Bars and restaurants saved our neighborhood,” he said, adding that Bond Street was “the biggest crack street in lower Manhattan” when he first arrived in the late sixties. “The gutters were welling over with crack vials and broken glass from car windows that had been broken into. Restaurants and bars kept our streets lit and populated.”

Not that the thought of crack in the Greenwich Village of the ‘60s isn’t amusing – “Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M. (feat. Ke$ha),” etc. – but crack wasn’t invented until the 1980s. Mr. Close, a local, is said to frequently lunch at Il Buco so you can forgive him if he did stretch the truth for the sake of some variety. Though, if he’s looking to expand his repertoire, we heard that the tacos at Pinche singlehandedly got rid of the homeless down there.

Update 7/14 Just received the following anonymous voicemail, presented in full below.

“Yes, Dan Duray, I attended the meeting where Chuck Close spoke. He’s not a friend and neither is Il Buco but in no way did he mean that the crack epidemic started in the late Sixties — I think the item that you’re referring to in Grub Street probably just had a grammatical or syntactical error I mean he arrived in the area in the late Sixties but he didn’t mean to imply that that’s when the crack problem started. I take it you were not there so I hope you can correct your item. Thanks!”

Update 7/14 p.m. Mr. Close’s studio manager just wrote with the following clarification:

Mr. Close asked me to write and let you know that he moved to SoHo in the late 1960s. He then moved to Bond Street in 1988, and that is when the street was full of crack vials.
Chuck Close’s Favorite Restaurant Ended the Crack Epidemic Twenty Years Before It Started