Flynn’s Garden Inn holds event to support home-grown director in Oscars tonight
By Bill Parry
It seems Oscar Night is not the big deal it used to be in neighborhood bars and restaurants. Some places like Saints and Sinners and The Courtyard ignore the event, while others use it merely to promote drink specials.
However, two bars/restaurants are making a real night of it.
Flynn’s Garden Inn is putting on a free buffet with jambalaya as well as cajun chicken ‘n ribs. The pub is putting on the event to root for Benh Zeitlin, the young director of Beasts of the Southern Wild, a film nominated for four Academy Awards including Best Director and Best Picture.
“When I read about Benh being born on 46th St. and raised on 48th St.,” said owner Paul Flynn, “I thought this kid’s the biggest thing to come out of the Gardens since James Caan.” The owner is very much aware that his bar is a hangout for people in the entertainment industry saying, “It’s a no-brainer considering my nighttime regulars.”
His manager Gerry Ryan noticed it, too. “Every night people ask me to switch over to Turner Classics. If they don’t work at Kaufman or Silvercup, they’re freelancers working in film or television,” said Ryan.
Independent filmmaker Tommy Turner is a regular customer at Flynn’s, “When I first started coming here it was an old man’s bar,” he said. However, “it’s changed in the last year or so. When I do a project I know I can come here any given night and put a crew together. Sound engineers, editors, writers and even makeup artists.”
Benh Zetlin himself is aware of the event at Flynn’s, according to his mother Amanda Dargan. “I told Benh and he’s delighted – Sunnyside has always had a special place in his heart.” Dargan added, “We’re all getting a kick out of the gathering at Flynns.”
Dargan and her husband Steve Zeitlin have other plans on Sunday evening, “We’ll be sitting in the balcony with the other parents and some of the crew, including former Sunnyside resident and co-editor of the film, Crockett Doob.”
Meanwhile, The Dog and Duck will host an event that will feature an Oscar-focused trivia contest hosted by quizmaster “Dan the Man,” and they’ll also have a pool, according to the owner, Padraig Connolly.
But most establishments are taking a low key approach.
“We like to put our arms around any event,” said Stephen Murphy, the manager of Murphy’s Bar, who said that the bar will have drink specials. “The Academy awards are still very popular with our customers,” he added, and the event fills the void between the Super Bowl and St. Patrick’s Day.
McGuinness’s will also have Oscar Night. Owner John Reilly said, “Most folks watch it at home these days, but we try to entice them with drink specials.” Riley added that they do an Oscar pool with Sidetracks.
Mary Flannery, of Sidetracks, has run the pool for the last 25 years but thinks this will be the last. “I just don’t think people care about the movies anymore,” said Flannery, “I don’t know if it’s the Internet or Netflix. The interest just isn’t there anymore.” The pool used to have well over a hundred entrants every year, but now it’s half that.