“You could be a transgendered elephant walking in here and as long as you pay your check, you’re fine,” diner Lars Hoel told the Times yesterday during his last breakfast at Florent, the 24-hour French bistro that’s been a Meatpacking District institution for 23 years. The transgendered elephant refuge closed last night after the gay pride parade and a private party for staff and friends of owner Florent Morellet.
City Council Speaker Christinne Quinn, whose “companion” [Times’s term] Kim Catullo is Morellet’s longtime friend, stopped in for breakfast yesterday morning, and Morellet later joined Quinn, Mayor Bloomberg, and same-sex marriage advocate Governor David Paterson at the front of the parade.
The Times reports that as the last seating approached, “about eight nude dancers – men and women alike – gyrated in the front window.” Outside, the crowd gathered in the rain included the Hungry March Band and artist John Silver, who set up an easel and rendered Florent’s final hours on his canvas. Of course, as reported last week, the restaurant has gotten a reprieve of sorts: The landlord who had originally spurned Florent’s offer of $18,000 a month in rent has now decided to run the diner herself, under its former name, the R&L.
Read our interview with Florent Morellet here, and after the jump there’s a great NPR video chronicling some of the theatrics leading up to Florent’s end.