Sunday, November 7, 2021

RIP Gary Auslander

Gary Auslander, a local hospitality veteran and longtime resident of First Street, died on Oct. 31. According to a Facebook post by his son Isaac, Auslander suffered a heart attack. 

His friends and loved ones are gathering this evening at 6 at the Lazy Llama Coffee Bar, 72 E. First St., west of First Avenue, to celebrate his life and share stories. 

Auslander's projects included Cajun favorite Baby Jake's on First Avenue and Baby Jupiter on Orchard Street.
He is survived by his wife Susan and sons Jake, Issac and Eli. 


H/T Dave on 7th; Baby Jake's photo from 1997 by Dave Buchwald.


Pennys herb co said...

Auslander family❤️
Neighborhood school family💥
Eat village resident since 1971👨‍🌾

Daniel said...

I was so sorry to hear this news. Gary was a super nice guy and a real presence on East 1st Street. Although I didn't know him well enough to call him a friend, we always said hello when we bumped into one another (which, I imagine, was true for hundreds of other East Villagers).

I've not seen much online about Gary in the way of obits, and the ones I have seen focus on Baby Jupiters which, I guess, was the place that most people knew him for. But, for me and so many of my peers, First Street Café was the place. Located in the space that's now the Lazy Llama, Gary created a warm and welcoming space for the ever-shifting community of artists, musicians, and otherwise interested and interesting folks living in the East Village. It was cheap, they played great music, and you could hang around for hours talking. It just felt good to be in there. To say it was 'modest' would be an understatement: in terms of the food, my memory is that any hot dishes - and they had hot food - were warmed in a tiny toaster oven in the miniscule space behind the counter (much smaller than it is now!). There was art on the walls - in fact the first time I showed my photos was there - and the occasional live music thing. It was, in in just about every way, perfect (and yes, I remember: the service could be, uh, variable, but even that was never such a big problem. I mean, where did any of us have to be?).

In extraordinary neighborhoods like the East Village, there are places (and moments in time) that make a difference. Places where communities are formed and plans - personal and otherwise, large and small - are made. Places that play a role in what a neighborhood is and what it becomes. And of course there's a long history of those kinds of places down here. But I'm going to raise a glass to Gary and the Café because, for a moment - my moment as a 25 year old musician in a new city - First Street Café was the center of this fantastic neighborhood. I miss it still.

Cheers, Gary.

Dave on 7th said...

Gary was an original. A true OG East Vilager who left a lasting legacy in his three sons.

Anonymous said...

Man, I still miss that blackened catfish poboy.
God speed, good sir.
Condolences and best wishes to his family.