I want to publicly thank all the people in Astoria that have been my friends, my employees and my customers. After 25 years, I have finally retired. This only to keep my epitaph from reading, "Here lies Karen, proud owner of the Dirty D." This I say only in jest, as I have made many friends and hopefully helped many friends over the years at the Desdemona. It was my extended family.
When I first bought the Desdemona from my father-in-law, it was under protest because I already owned one tavern and I thought that it was too big a challenge. Then I was told I would never make it there and that was the red flag in front of the bull. Known for my stubbornness and my independence I would have done it if it had killed me!
The first six months were hard ones. The buildings around me that are now being restored were inhabited by older retired gentlemen who liked their wine. To this day I still have the smell of cheap wine in my nostrils. Sometimes they would be at the door right at 7 in the morning. Do you have any idea what cheap wine smells like at 7 in the morning? The drugs were rampant in the neighborhood at that time also, but through it all, it was what gave me the insight into what real life is all about.
I learned in short time to love these people in Uppertown. They were friendly, fiercely loyal, some extremely intelligent and talented. I guess you might say I learned that good people sometimes have bad habits, but they are still good people. They will all be in my memory forever. I am sure that my "rules" at the bar made some angry, but they always showed me the deepest respect. I did turn it around in short order to be a place you could be comfortable.
Now there is a new owner there. Steve Allen from the Wet Dog is taking over where I left off. He wants to maintain the same atmosphere and has great ideas for his end of the neighborhood. I hope you will receive him as well as you me and show him the same respect.
A special thanks to Kim Olson and Neta Taylor and Linda Jaasko for seeing me through troubled times these last months. I couldn't have made it without them. And thanks to former employees that have gone other ways. I couldn't have made this trip alone. And it has been a long one.
My final tribute is to myself. I am giving myself something I have wanted for a long time. My maiden name. I will in the future be Karen Hahn. But both Karen Hahn and Karen Buckman will remember all of you. And once again, I thank you all so much. I will miss you.
KAREN HAHN BUCKMAN