June 30, 2008
Tears and Remembrance as NYC’s Florent Restaurant Closes
On Sunday, June 29, Florent—the well-loved diner in Manhattan’s Meatpacking District—closed its doors for the final time, The New York Times reports (nytimes.com, 6/30).
The restaurant was opened 23 years ago by HIV-positive French restaurateur Florent Morellet, who recorded his changing CD4 cell count on the menu board. Over the last few months, supporters have flocked in to say their farewells to the diner that has stood as a symbol for gay rights and open acceptance for all in the trendy Manhattan neighborhood.
“We’re going to miss it so very, very much,” Manoli Wetherell, an engineer for National Public Radio, told the Times. “It always sounds like a party here, so festive, with lovely conversation and people chatting and laughing. And even when it’s crazy busy, you always feel special.”
Her husband, Lars Hoel, added, “You could be a transgendered elephant walking in here. As long as you pay your check, you’re fine.”
Click here to read about POZ’s long relationship with the restaurant—home of the magazine’s historic 10th-anniversary cover shoot, for which dozens of HIV-positive people posed nude to symbolize their open life with the virus.
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