24 February 2011

Hickey's Bar Owner Dies After Death of Hickey's

While we're on the subject of New York's dive bar genocide, let's talk about Hickey's.

That this long-standing tavern on 33rd Street recently gave up the ghost has been already reported. But the story gets sadder. As owner Jim Hickey was preparing to turn in his keys to the bar he had run for 44 years, and close up for the last time last month, he collapsed and had to be rushed to the hospital. He died on Feb. 7. He was 75.

Hickey was forced to leave because the landlord had hiked up the rent, and the bar owner couldn't afford the new price.

According to DNAinfo: "'Everyone thought he collapsed because [losing the place] just overwhelmed him,' said James Donovan, 47, a long-time bartender at the Blarney Rock pub that had stood next door to Hickey's for more than 40 years. Friends and colleagues later learned that doctors found Hickey was suffering from late-stage colon cancer. Matty Burke, 58, who said he had stopped by Hickey’s nearly every day for the past 20 years, said that, for Hickey, losing the bar meant losing everything. 'That killed him,' said Burke, who has since relocated to the Blarney Rock along with a handful of other Hickey's regulars driven from the now-gutted space next door. 'It was his baby. That was his life,' Burke added."

The space is set to be taken over by Salt & Pepper, the take-out restaurant next door. Manager Mohammed Ilyas said he plans to expand his restaurant, which will re-open on March 1. A reader rells me the place has been gutted, and old bar (seen below) stripped away.

No comment from the landlord in the article. Natch.

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