Slaughter on Third Avenue

or The Heartbreak of Landloriditis

A true blue original is gone. It opened in 1952 and, spawning dozens of imitators, practically invented its own genre of NYC bar, but suddenly the original 710 Third Avenue Blarney Stone is no more, my friends.

It was the last of its breed. In its later years the working class shot-and-a-beer joint welcomed craft beers but that changed nothing; cheap drinks, good food in quantity from the steam tray or grill and a horse race on the TV were what the regulars favored. The light was too bright, and the rock music blared, but somehow you stood it — any other way it wouldn't be the Blarney Stone.

The ink is not even dry (the ink may not even be mixed) on our latest Herb Lester map, a guide to some of our town's favorite grog shops, and here we have one more rewrite, one more heartbreak, one more greed-induced blow, making the city a little less interesting for the sake of … what? A buck? Progress? We can't figure it, and the people responsible will never be able to explain it to us.

The gates came down and an ominous “under renovation” sign went up about a month ago, but we had hope, since the nearby Muldoon’s was actually being renovated. But then there was a note for the tenants of 710 Third regarding keys from the “new owners,” and the NY Real Estate Journal reported the property had been sold to the troubled McSam Hotel Group. That the plug was pulled on the Blarney by the new owners was confirmed by the affable lunchtime bartender at Muldoon’s, where the scent of new varnish lingers, but doesn't discourage the customers.

We’ve really not yet recovered from this and here comes one more thing to make your blood boil, for yet another Duane Reade is soon to bully Third Avenue, this time at what was Avenue, a ladies’ wear shop, in the highrise on the northeast corner of Third Avenue and 44th. This will make five outposts of the chain in four blocks. Not only is there another across from Grand Central at 42nd & Lexington but one can stand at the corner of Third and 42nd, across from the CVS, and have your left eyeball on the Third & 41st location and the right on the one at Third & 43rd. Really, what else could we want from Fun City?

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We took a longer look at the glory that is the Blarney Stone in this back issue of Grade "A" Fancy. Read it and find out why this closing really is tragic.

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