The day they tore ol' Casey's down...

Friday, April 11, 2014

The day they tore ol' Casey's down...

blue note

...there were no bells ringing or people singing "Na, la, na, la, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na...."

Born around 1962 as the new "Bridle Path," in 1974 Tony Galgano, Skip Schmedes and Richie Murphy formed the first of their many partnerships in the retail liquor trade and re-opened the place as Wilson's Garage, a name which had caught Richie's attention in the then contemporary Robert Redford version of "The Great Gatsby."

A set from the 1974 version of "The Great Gatsby"

It was the first of a number of successful and otherwise bar/club ventures the trio undertook based on the premise that the extraordinarily handsome Skip would draw the girls (and where the girls go...), Richie, a three year starter at forward for the Holy Cross basketball team whose sports celebrity would draw police and firemen, and Tony, who had the retail liquor experience to keep the place running.

Wilson's Garage was successful from the jump, and wildly so when they added The Fabulous Greaseband as a Wed­nes­day night attraction1, and as a Sunday evening2 staple, Alive 'N Kickin' who parlayed a 1970 hit, "Tighter & Tighter" (#7 on the charts) into a 40+ year career as a popular club band.

Much later on... can't pin-point the exact date... it was decided that Wilson's was out and a new identity was needed, thus was Casey's Dance Hall & Saloon launched, and while it had it's moments, it never quite caught on the way its predecessor had.

But then, Club Marakesh and Scarlett's were gone as well, along with the '70s and '80s!

Long live Wilson's and Casey's! We almost certainly won't see its like again.

  1. Within a year, other clubs in the area had stopped trying to compete with Wilson's for Wednesday nights.
  2. As as added attraction, free pizza was carried over from Baby Moon.


1. Spencer Fink said...

Saw the "Wicked Wilson Pickett" at Wilson's. He and his band played the hits and then went across the street hung with Mr Patterson. Unfortunatly his play list was too short and the night at Wilson's ended way before "the Midnight Hour."

I vaguely remember that, Spence... but I think it was pre-Wilson's, when Mary was still operating The Bridle Path. Pickett showed up... inebriated and two hours late... and played a very short set. I remember that customers were "unruly" out of frustration.
– Dean

2. Coach K said...

...I first met Richie Murphy in the very early '70s. After he made his way over the 59th Street Bridge on a Friday night in a big-ass Bonneville, or it might have been a Caddy, he would make his way into the Irish section of Queens to pick up my sister and give her a ride to the "Hamptons." Upon my mother's command, I would bring her bags to the curb as that "nice guy from the city was bringing her out to the 'Island.'" He'd open the door for her and see she was in safely, I would throw the bags in the trunk and he would slam down the hood. We'd slap hands and end it with a "later kid," "later Murph." He'd than hang a screeching U-turn on 30th Avenue and head off into the night not unlike Dean Moriarty in the final pages of Kerouac's masterwork.

Aside from the fact that I was eulogizing Wilson's/Casey's, not Murphy, nice recollection! Knowing what a fan you are of the college game, did you ever see him on the court of the Crusaders?
– Dean

3. Coach K said...

...never. Legend has it that he scored 999 points in his college career, one short of the sacred 1,000 point mark.

Tha's not legend, ol' son, tha's fact! Murphy averaged 14.7 points per game in his 999 point career, notable then, barely a blip in this generation.

The actual legend is that there was a girl with an early mini-skirt in the third row behind the basket when Murph was shooting the front end of an one-and-one in the fourth quarter of his final game, and....

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