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Peter Walsh, Owner of Coogan’s Restaurant

Picture a room where the chairs and the barstools are all on top of the tables so that you can clean underneath except there’s no reason to put them down. Recently, I was saying to my business partner, ‘The bar is lonely. The chairs and tables are wondering when the key is going to turn to unlock the magic again’…That to me was very difficult to look at because I know that you have to put them on the floor for the place to be open. That was a very hard thing to see that.

We have so much going on. It’s a community thing. It’s not going to be healthy economically and my future but I’m going to figure something out. I’m 73 years old. I’ve never not worked in my life. I’ve always kept moving. My father used to always say, ‘Always be a moving target, young man. Always be a moving target.’ We all have to keep moving…”

Peter Walsh is one of the owners of Coogan’s Bar and Grill on 169th and Broadway in Washington Heights. If you’ve ever run a race at the Armory, attended Millrose Games or bore witness to the 5th Avenue Mile afterparty there, you know that Coogan’s is a runner’s bar – and there’s few of those that exist. However, Coogan’s is among the many businesses that have closed its doors due to the coronavirus outbreak. This is a place that just three years ago was on the verge of closing for good when rent was nearly raised by $40,000 a month. Runners and the Washington Heights community – especially members of We Run Upton were among those that helped raise awareness and save the bar. Peter thought the bar was done for then. Now even in these unprecedented times, he has hope that the bar can survive this pandemic. We discuss some of the bar’s history and the dystopian feeling of the last few weeks. You’ll very quickly be able to tell that Peter’s got lots of stories and this could’ve been a three-hour podcast filled with tales about track and field stars eating and drinking at Coogan’s but maybe we can save those for another time over a beer at the bar.

This is Runners of NYC. A podcast from CITIUS MAG. Hosts Leigh Anne Sharek and Chris Chavez look to bring you many of the untold stories behind luminaries and legends that make up New York City’s running culture. You can catch the latest episode of the podcast on iTunes so subscribe and leave a five-star review. We are also on Spotify!

Recommended Reading:

Welcome to Coogan’s, Where Everybody Knows the Runners’ Names (via

A Washington Heights Bar Closes Down, with Echoes for All Small Businesses (via The New Yorker)


Support for this episode comes from FICS NYC (206 West 23rd Street, 3rd Floor) a fitness recovery and wellness studio. FICS is among the many places that have had to close their doors due to the COVI-19 pandemic. The fitness inspired calibration recovery studio is still offering 15-minute virtual chiropractic consultations with Dr. Duma so that you can continue to stay healthy while you’re at home. She’s worked with runners of all levels and members of the U.S. Olympic fencing team so you’re in good hands. To schedule your appointment, you can call them at 646-241-4948 or email [email protected]. When they re-open you can use code RUNNERSOFNYC to get 20% off all services, packages and memberships (only for the first month). First-time users also get their choice of one modality for free on their initial visit. |

Please consider supporting our work. We want to continue pushing out the podcast on a bi-weekly basis and bring you quality audio for our guests. we’re simply asking for you to set aside a few dollars that might go toward a coffee or dollar slice to support our work. In return, we’ll do our best to put together exclusive episodes, interviews and maybe some video for those supporters. The NYC running community is awesome and we’d appreciate the assistance


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