...we slipped off a barstool together a few times back in the early '70s while imbibing in a pre-Magic's Pub then known as Shotwell's Pump.
Jimmy Breslin, who died today from pneumonia, age 88, used to Summer in Quiogue in the late '60s/early '70s, and liked to get his drinking done at 112 Main Street.
They were good afternoons, as he was an eminently listenable raconteur... the rhythms of his Ozone Park-accented speech were those of his writing even if his words weren't, evidence for me that he worked diligently on his columns and books.
We talked "shop" on occasion, and among other things he provided me with a valuable primer on New York Times vs. Sullivan, of considerable interest at the time as I was being sued for libel by a little old lady who I'd called "The Wicked Witch of East Quogue" in The Moniebogue Press.
Never quite sure how he got to Shotwell's... he never learned to drive... but he invariably left the same way, his wife Rosemary would arrive, settle in next to him for a drink, join the conversation, then drive him home for dinnner.
I last saw saw Jimmy was at the memorial service for his former brother-in-law Don Noonan at the Bath & Tennis Club in 2008.
He'd gotten quieter in his advancing age, but then who of us hasn't?
Thanks, Jimmy, for showing us all how it should be done.
His daughter Rosemary used to cover the disco scene for The Daily News. She wrote weekly reviews of clubs on LI and in NYC. She passed at an early age after a long illness. He wrote her obituary in Newsday. It has been called a masterpiece, if an obituary can be such a thing.
I hadn't read his column on the passing of his daughter in over a decade... it's tough to read without choking up.