The TV screens were all tuned to Times Square, with a beaming Ryan Seacrest & a million-strong crowd, but no-one at Timboo's wished to be anywhere else than right there at the corner of Fifth & 11th. According to earlier reports this was to be its last night, but as with many lingering, end-of-the-run institutions, this was a fluid date. It was up & running today, & may still stay open a few more weeks. It was the last New Year's Eve, at any rate. Free food abounded & at midnight, plastic glasses of champagne were dispensed. We wore our party hats. While most of the crowd was long-time local, newer customers were treated well. The couple of blonde young women whose annoying,self-absorbed dance moves kept nudging them into their neighbors were forgiven, & the tall young man with the cardboard tiara & beads was mercifully left in peace. As the juke-box played a stream of oldies (Michael Jackson, Frankie Valli, Stones, Al Green) the postal worker next to me, a black plastic topper perched on his head, turned to discussing Sylvia Plath, & seethed with hatred for Ted Hughes. Later, outside, Bobby Booras (the Boo of Timboo's) talked about the last forty years, about there being a dozen or more bars close by when he started, and the way the local owners helped each other out. Now it would be down to Jackie's (a pale reflection of its earlier self) & Smith's, which might or might not be around much longer. I asked Bobby about Whitey's ashes, which, as he had requested, had been kept behind the bar but were no longer there, and he said they'd been claimed by family a while back. He talked about the endless Department of Health demands inflicted on businesses these days (even on bars that served no food) & the different way that problems were resolved back in the day. He was sanguine about the future, and ready for a new boat and a lot of fishing.
With Timboo's almost gone, one more piece of the old South Slope fades away.