Rudy's is in trouble. If you have a taste for the finer things in life, you probably have never been to Rudy's in Hell's Kitchen. If you like cheap warm beer, cold (and cheaper) women, and free hot dogs, then you probably have spent an evening or two there. And if you expected anything less when walking past the man-size anthropomorphic pig, you don't get out much.
Things are slow to change at Rudy's, which first opened in 1933, but change they do. Vicki, the red-headed bartender who acted as den mother (and even grandmother) to the regulars passed away a few years back. And the place stopped its practice of hanging dirtbags behind the bar (actual baggies full of dirt, not the patrons). Then just a couple of years ago the bar gave into the digital age, adding a flatscreen TV where no TV had ever been, and shortley after that the jazz-filled jukebox was yanked in favor of one of those snazzy digi ones. The new one doesn't even have the Steely Dan song "Black Cow" that has the line, "Saw you in Rudy's/You were very high."
The harshest blow yet came this year when the Department of Buildings shut down its popular backyard. And now a report from the L magazine says that the bar may have to close because of lost revenue (or at least stop giving away hot dogs, which is unthinkable).
But this is a city of action, and the civic-minded have come to the rescue with a petition you should sign. The alternative is actually having to call the neighborhood Clinton Hill, because that is the fate of nabes that lose their giant pigs.