Florent

New York, New York, USA

Closed 2008

The Disappointed Tourist: Florent, Ellen Harvey, 2021. Oil and acrylic on Gessoboard, 18 x 24″ (46 x 61 cm). Photograph: Etienne Frossard.

Florent was a all-night restaurant that was opened in 1985 in the old R & L diner in the Meat Packing District by Florent Morellet, the youngest son of the conceptual artist François Morellet. Florent became a downtown institution known for its mix of transgender prostitutes, tourists, artists, locals, and celebrities. Led by the openly gay and HIV-positive Morellet, Florent also served as a social hub during the AIDs epidemic, in particular operating as an informal cafeteria for Poz magazine, which started publishing in 1994, the year Mr. Morellet’s partner died from AIDs. Rent increases led to the closing of Florent in 2008. I apologize for not knowing who took the photograph on which this is based.

I was really happy when this was submitted, as this is where I met my husband. Ellen Harvey

This was a late night icon and such an important part of New York’s history during the AIDs crisis. Anon.