We knew it was coming: The end of an era in Chicopee.
The wrecking crew will start to take down a Memorial Drive landmark next week. Past and present employees gathered Friday night for one last good-bye to the Hu Ke Lau.
“It’s absolutely sad to see this go,” said Michael Wilk. “This was my first job.”
Like so many others, Chicopee police officer Michael Wilk has fond memories of the Hu Ke Lau. Wilk was among a select few friends and past employees invited to lift one last glass Friday.
An emotional time for owner Andy Yee, who told 22News, “Today is uh….it’s the last day because we gave our family key to Associated Building Wreckers today. Which signifies that the demolition has been…confirmed.”
The Hu Ke Lau closed April 6, 53 years to the day after it opened in 1965.
Mike Wilk worked here as a teenager, busing tables, washing dishes and running the lights for the Polynesian show.
“Working for the Yee family was one of the best experiences I ever had…. growing up,” Wilk said.
Countless western Massachusetts residents have fond memories of the Hu Ke Lau; some even stopping to snap a selfie there, before the wrecking ball levels the building.
But the story’s not over yet.
Yee added, “Ya know, and stay tuned. There’s gonna be another chapter of the Hu Ke Lau someday soon.”
The demolition of the Hu Ke Lau building is scheduled to start Tuesday.