T.G.I.Friday's to NYC: We're one of the locals

By Nicole Bode on October 29, 2009 11:53pm | Updated on September 3, 2009 1:05pm

Ubiquitous chain restaurant T.G.I.Friday's is defending its NYC street cred — reminding locals it got its start right here in Manhattan.

In what might come as a shock to those who oppose the franchise's move to Union Square, founder Alan Stillman opened the first Friday's at 1152 First Ave. at 63rd St. back in 1965, according to the New York Post.

Stillman was reputedly looking for a way to mingle with the stewardesses who lived in the area.

"Alan had the idea that a great way to meet stewardesses would be to open up a saloon where all the stewardesses lived. All those fancy apartment buildings on Sutton Place in the '60s were 'stew zoos' -- like 10 girls in an apartment,"  restaurateur Ben Benson tells the Post.

The co-ed watering hole was credited with being part of the 60's sexual revolution.

"Those were the days when people would meet each other in a bar and be in bed together an hour later," Zagat Survey publisher Tim Zagat told the Post.

The tavern chic was the same back then, with red-and-white striped awning, Tiffany lamps and sawdust on the floor.

According to the Post, Stillman came up with the chain's now-famous name when he fell into a snowdrift during a ski trip in Vermont.

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