Stefan Lutak: 1920-2009
Some of my first bar hanging/drinking experiences were at the Holiday bar on st. marks place back in 1978. Stefan was there and always nice to me. Not so much everyone else. I had fun and some very dramatic moments there. Screaming stupid drama. Very sad to hear Stefan has passed. I am sad to report that Stefan Lutak, long-time proprietor of the Holiday Cocktail Lounge, has passed away. -julie wilson
For those who wish to pay their respects to Mr. Lutak, there will be a viewing on Sunday at Peter Jarema from 2:00 - 5:00 and from 7:00 - 9:00 (an appropriate choice--the funeral home is a neighborhood survivor since 1906).
Stefan Lutak was born in Ukraine in 1920. During World War II, he fought with the Soviet Army. Remembering Stalingrad he recalled to the NY Press, "The winter was terrible. The ice came from your mouth. We were sleeping in the snow, nothing to eat. Two, three, four days, a whole week with empty stomach. Kitchen? Gone! They killed the horses. Then they killed the cooks. We ate leaves, and in November the leaves were gone."
Stefan arrived by boat in New York City in 1949. He played soccer. With his wife he opened the Holiday on St. Marks Place in 1965. He served drinks to Allen Ginsberg and W.H. Auden. His bar became a favorite all across the city. The New York Times called it one of the best dives in town, "an eloquent rejoinder to a slick, rich, ever-changing city."
When Stefan took ill recently, the bar was closed for weeks and people were worried about its fate. We got some hope back when the beloved dive opened again. Now, with its captain gone, who knows what will become of the place?
This comes from Jermiahs vanishing New York
one of my favorite blogs about the New York I love and miss