Everyone knows someone who was lost to the COVID-19 outbreak. Some of us take a moment to pay homage to a lost loved one, friend or neighbor. We reflect on what their passing means to us.
The human loss has been staggering. Another kind of loss has begun to show signs of what will shape our future.
In a Facebook post on May 7, word spread about the loss of a place where many residents in Queens spent their holidays, family celebrations and casual nights out. The news was heartbreaking.
The loss of Woodhaven House, owned and operated by John Cregan and John Gallagher, was one of the last truly iconic Irish pubs in New York.
My family spent many occasions at Woodhaven House. It was our go-to place for most of our dining. The Facebook post said the pandemic made it financially impossible to attempt a reopening.
After 16 years of serving the community, the loss is a devastating reminder of the toll placed on the shoulders of restaurant owners all across America.
Woodhaven House became more than a restaurant and pub to all who entered its doors. Cregan and Gallagher entertained charity events and gave of themselves in a way that made them friends to all who needed a place where every one knew your name. The staff was without equal in any establishment of the same type.
When we look back on this invisible enemy, we will face changes we cannot yet fully comprehend. There will be the loss of people, places and things that cannot be replaced.
The loss of people is by far the worst kind of tragedy. But the loss of a place we considered essential to our life will leave a hole in our hearts filled with memories of times we shared with family and friends.
As a longtime resident of Queens, there have been iconic restaurants lost in the past. Some were sold and made in to apartment buildings, others were replaced by establishments selling fast food or a different retail businesses.
In their wake, left behind are the memories we will always hold dear to our hearts.
Woodhaven House was a staple of the community, and it will not be the only casualty of this war. When we regain our footing, after the all-clear has been sounded, we will see that not all battlefields are covered in debris.
Our battlefield will be filled with empty buildings and stores, places that we seemingly took for granted, believing they would always be there. They were our beacons of light during storms in our life and rays of sunshine when we celebrated living.
To all who have lost a loved one, a place we would have gathered to toast to their memory has joined them on the green pastures of yesterday. May the road rise up to welcome them all in a better place.
Craig Schwab is an author and resident of Glendale.