R.I.P to the most infamous McDonalds in all of New York City. If your from the N.Y.C., you know which one I'm talking about: The West 4th Street and 6th Avenue location. In the first week of 2021, Time Out magazine was the first to report this COVID, casualty of this long standing McDonalds location. Since the news broke of it's demise, former patrons have been paying their respects all over Twitter. The enter at your own risk, late-night, hotspot for the drunk and bleary, as well as the overwhelmed NYU student, was a local favorite.
Years before going viral was a thing, cell phone footage made the rounds on YouTube of a 2011 incident in which a McDonalds employee beat the crap out of two belligerent women, who went over, and around the counter, to attack the employee. This incident made headlines, yet there are many stories that haven't. People from all over the city are bidding adieu and telling tales of their personal, and bizarre experiences at the notorious location. One Twitter user deemed it: "One of the most unpredictable McD's in the five boroughs." Another wrote: "The scariest McDonalds!" They weren't kidding.
I experienced my first shoot-out at this location. Many moons before the 2011 beating incident, I acquired my first apartment on Thompson Street, between Bleecker and Houston. This Mickey D's was my local haunt. I was working at Kim's Underground, a well known village hot spot for film buffs. My co-worker, Kevin, was a recent graduate of U.C. Santa Cruz and grew up in the mid-west. He'd been living in the city for less than six months with his boyfriend, and was newly excited about acquiring an internship at Interview magazine. Living in New York City was a dream come true for Kevin. His wide-eyed, innocent, perspective on the city that never sleeps enamored me. We became fast friends.
One night, after our shift ended, we decided to take in an urban comedy that was getting rave reviews. After the film, we were starving and decided to walk to the nearest McDonalds on West 3rd Street above 6th Avenue. It was after 11p.m., and once we received our order, we went to the second level to nosh. Less than ten minutes later we heard a commotion from down below. Our table was near the railing and gave us a clear view of the cashiers and service counter. We got up from our seats and quickly looked over the railing to see a guy going ballistic, yelling, furiously at someone. We couldn't see the other person he was arguing with; at this point, it didn't matter. He lifted up his beige hoodie and brandished a gun that was tucked between his jeans. That's when all hell broke loose: The entire first floor ran out the front door. Kevin and I simultaneously leaned back and quickly hid under the table. We couldn't make a run for it, as the stairs would lead us directly to the gunman.
I kept my cool and said a silent prayer. Kevin was a wreck; he began to cry. My heart went out to him. He was no longer this cool, west-coast transplant. He turned into this scared, little, kid from suburbia and New York City just slapped him in the face. It was obvious he'd never seen this side of the city. Being born and raised here, I've experienced worse taking public transportation. I immediately went into protection mode and tried to calm him down. I assured him we would be fine, we were not going to lose our lives over a Big Mac! Suddenly, it was quiet. The fracas continued down the street as the gunman went after his prey. I told him that it was safe for us to leave, but he didn't believe me. I assured him that we had to get out of there and go in the opposite direction of the melee. As we exited in haste, Kevin was in a daze. I walked him to the train, gave him a hug and asked if he was all right. He nodded his head, but I knew better.
Kevin popped his New York cheery that night. He wanted the glam-fantasy of what he thought New York City should be, not the harsh reality of what it actually is. He would never be the same. Kevin was officially a New Yorker.