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The Dust Is Gone

The “clean” wishbones hanging at McSorley’s Old Ale House in the East Village, NYC

On a quiet April morning this past weekend, a sad event took place at the legendary McSorley’s Old Ale House. If you have been to McSorley’s down in the East Village, you may have noticed the chandelier above the beer taps…you know, the one that had inches of dust on it and numerous wishbones, also caked with layers of dust accumulated over the years.  You know you were always curious but didn’t dare go near them. It wasn’t the most appetizing sight, but it was part of the charm and legend of this old ale house. Well, this past weekend the NYC Health Department forced the hand of the proprietor of McSorley’s:

So, with heavy heart, the proprietor, Matthew Maher, 70, climbed up a small ladder. With curatorial care, he took down the two-dozen dust-cocooned wishbones dangling on an old gas lamp above the storied bar counter. He removed the clouds of gray from each bone. Then he placed every one of the bones, save for those that crumbled at his touch, back onto the gas lamp, where, in the context of this dark and wonderful establishment, they are not merely the scrap remains of poultry, but holy relics

NY Times

So the dust is gone, but the wishbones remain. Mr. Maher treated the dust with reverence, placing it all in a bag and taking it home with him to archive it as another relic of the McSorley’s legacy. But again, on a broader scale, a tiny bit of the story and uniqueness of NYC has been taken away.

Photo via NY Times

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