Montero's Bar announced on their Facebook page yesterday the sad passing of matriarch Pilar Montero:
"Pilar passed away Saturday night and will be missed dearly by her family and friends. On Tuesday, January 17th, there will be a one-day viewing at Raccuglia & Son Funeral Home, which is located at 323 Court Street at Sackett Street from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m... Please feel free to pass this information on to others. We welcome you to share your memories of Pilar here, on our Facebook Page. We at Montero's thank you for the love and support."
photo: Fred Conrad, NY Times
Pilar and her husband, Joseph, opened Montero's on Brooklyn's Atlantic Avenue in 1947. It was once a haven for longshoremen and sailors--some of whom still find their way here during Fleet Week every year.
Reported the Times in 1995, Pilar "was born on West 11th Street in Greenwich Village and first came to Brooklyn as a little girl on the ferry on which her father worked." She recalled meeting her husband to blogger Lisa Leland, "When we met he was on a sea-going tug because there was a war going on." Says Leland, "In her youth, Pilar was a performing ballerina in her family's native Spain."
She and Joseph ran the bar together through the years, hosting a few luminaries, including (by legend) the King of Denmark. They rented a room upstairs to author Frank McCourt. According to McCourt's memoir Teacher Man, Pilar liked him because he "wasn't like the rest of the Irishers, who wanted to fight fight fight."
After Joseph retired to Spain in the 1990s and passed away, Pilar remained at her usual post, on a stool at the bar's corner, where she was well-known and loved by the regulars.
Said the Times of Pilar in 2006, "She is a human time machine, saying things like, 'Max Schmeling was a good-looking man' with such authority that you have no reason to doubt her."