I pretty much knew that bad shit was going down as I was drifting off to sleep... a helicopter was hovering within earshot, which is never a good sign. Today being a lovely day, and my day off, I decided to take a leisurely stroll in the neighborhood, running casual errands. I popped into a pizzeria on Katonah Avenue, on the other side of the Bronx border and saw on the local TV news that a three-alarm fire tore through two businesses a couple of blocks south of my location. After my lunch, I walked down to assess the damage, Emerald Pharmacy and Behan's Pub were gutted.
As far as I can tell, Behan's was named after brilliant author, playwright, and convicted IRA member Brendan Behan, but I never confirmed my hunch because, if one wishes to keep one's well-formed noggin attached to one's shoulders in this neighborhood, one does not bring up topics tangential to The Troubles. On one occasion, my old friend and former housemate SeanO, a loquacious and curious fellow, was admonished by a bartender, "If you're going to keep asking questions, I'm going to have to ask you to leave."
In order to get the local scuttlebutt, I popped into The Rambling House for a couple of pints and the scoop. I have to confess that I love drinking when it's bright out, because it feels so licentious. There was no real news about the fire, but two pints of Goose Island went down very smoothly.
As I wended my way up Katonah Avenue to the Yonkers border, I ran into my upstairs neighbor Mo, and we briefly discussed the fire before coming to a parting of the ways. As she took the left hand turn, she told me, "I hate to love you and leave you." I gave the only logical response, "As long as you love me, I can bear the parting." Mo's a good gal, with a quick but understated wit.
As far as the fate of Behan's Pub goes, there were some guys already beginning the interior demolition. The neighborhood being home to countless individuals in the building trades, I have no doubt that it will be back in business soon. As a tribute to Behan's Pub, and Behan himself, how about a song from Brendan Behan's first, and best known, play The Quare Fellow? Here's The Auld Triangle, written by Dominic Behan for his brother Brendan's play:
Here's wishing best of luck to the business owners who suffered loss because of this fire.