*UPDATE: McSorley's responds on Facebook:
A few weeks ago, our artist friend Randy Hage went by McSorley's to take some photos (perhaps a new miniature is in the works).
He reported back with some startling news: "There were about 4 or 5 guys out front in a group and one off to the side. The guy to the side asked me why I was taking photos of the place. He said that he was the owner of the building and had been trying hard to sell the place. Said he was tired of the city and wanted to move up to Albany."
I've tried, but have not been able to confirm this information (I'll leave that to those blessed with press credentials and writing staffs). There's no "for sale" sign on the building and I can't find a listing, either. Maybe it was a joke? Or is that wishful thinking?
Still, I would not be surprised. Though the pub still packs in the crowds (go early if you want to enjoy the place), the city hasn't been kind to McSorley's lately.
In 2011, the New York City Health Department forced McSorley's to clean the famous dust from the ancient wishbones that have dangled above the bar since doughboys left them there for luck in World War I. Bloomberg's henchmen also banned Minnie, the McSorley's cat, from the bar where she and her many predecessors have reigned from the beginning.
As Dan Barry put it in his article about these assaults on the bar's traditions: "old New York and new New York remain in conflict, and old New York is losing."
The building and business are owned by Matthew Maher. He started as a barman in 1964 and took over in 1977, so it's no wonder he's tired. But if Mr. Maher sells and heads to Albany, what will become of our storied ale house?
In a time when cold-hearted, trendy restaurateurs are taking over the city's classic spots to theme-park the past and cash in on nostalgia, let's hope the high-end, velvet-rope sharks aren't circling. I don't want my "McSorley's Bed & Breakfast" nightmare to come true.
Bill's Gay 90s