Goggla/Gog Log had warned me. Developers had bought that whole stretch of 14th Street and were going to raze everything and that meant the Blarney Cove too.
I had passed the Cove for years, but never went in. It wasn't my neighborhood bar - I went to a dive on St. Marks until an unfortunate incident. (Hint: don't have a personal spat with the bartender of a bar you call home for three decades because then you can't really hang out there anymore.)
Besides, the Cove seemed like a place a girl like me might not fit in. Those guys were having shots at 8 in morning and I was getting too old for those kinds of pissing contests.
On top of that, besides getting too old for hangovers, I had gotten too broke for rounds. I just couldn't justify a $5 to $8 drink when the Warehouse on Broadway had a big bottle of whatever it was for just a couple of bucks more.
So, I'd pass it. Wistfully. I knew it was neighborhood, but too shy, too old, too broke, too busy. A lot of toooos. Goggla told me, nah it's great. Go in. So, I promised I would.
Another week had been survived, the cheap treat of dinner not cooked by either of us was finished and I said to the Mariner, let's go to the bargain store on 14th to get socks. All ours had big holes and I knew we could get a dozen for maybe $6.99.
But, the further east we got the worse things look. It was like Close Encounters of the Third Kind when Richard Dreyfuss slips into the restricted area and all these dead cows are lying around.
Every store was empty with 'For Rent' or 'Going Out Of Business'. The cheap place was gone. 40 years of buying necessary and unnecessary affordable shit, gone.
We got socks from the guy in a stall on the ground floor of a tenement (renovated for sure) who told us the developers couldn't buy the tenement from the landlord, but eventually they'd win - they always do. Meanwhile, he had a dozen socks for $5.00 even.
We started walking west and passed the Cove. "Is it still open?" I asked. We peeked in and saw Christmas lights still twinkling and a baseball game on both TVs.
"If it's the Yankees...."
"Go find out..."
They changed one of the TVs to the Mets game, we got Rolling Rocks in big ass glasses because the Pabst only came in tall boys, the guy at the end of the bar played every version of every baseball song on the jukebox for us, including a song about being a Mets fan which really should be listed as a mental disorder in the diagnostic book and we watched the Mets play the Marlins.
I asked the bartender when they'd be closing. "End of June." she said. "It's sad."
Then a couple of more regulars came in, she spoke to everyone, everyone spoke to everyone and I said to the Mariner, "Well, if we were the kind of people who went to bars, not hermetic writers who stayed by ourselves all the time, this would be a good bar for us."
The 6th inning came and something said it would not turn out well. The beers were $3 each.
"Leave a big tip," I told the Mariner.
After all, they're closing and we don't know if we're going to get another chance, before the end of June, to say goodbye to a bar that, if we weren't too old, too broke, too hermetic, we'd go to. ** Related Posts:
MY PRIVATE CONEY presents IT WAS HER NEW YORK, the short stories that accompany the work-in-progress video and photo collection of the same name (myprivateconey.com - media link - IT WAS HER NEW YORK). The stories and the media explore the tender rubble that holds both my mother, Florence's and New York's soul as one disappears into old age and the other into gentrification. All are real observations and/or experiences with very little tall-tale telling.
Except when it makes the story better.
Please visit myprivateconey.com for additional information and sample works.