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A rousing finish for a trusted (and rusted) friend

A rousing finish for a trusted (and rusted) friend

Story and video by Sherry Mazzocchi

Photos by QPHOTONYC


Harry Ettling led a New Orleans-style funeral for his friend, the 1982 Honda Civic named “Bluey.”
Harry Ettling led a New Orleans-style funeral for his friend, the 1982 Honda Civic named “Bluey.”

Bluey no longer graces Inwood streets.

The formerly blue 1982 Honda Civic had a dignified send-off Saturday afternoon.

Owner Harry Ettling arranged a New Orleans-style funeral for his most trusted and rusted friend.

“It’s time,” Ettling said. The car ran perfectly, but the body was giving out.

A police car led the cortege up Seaman Avenue to 207th Street.

Bluey was followed by a marching band and dozens of Inwood friends and neighbors.

At 207th Street, a tow truck waited to haul Bluey to the great beyond.

Bluey is possibly the most recognized car north of Dyckman Street.

Its light blue body is splotched with rust and spotted with holes. As the car aged, its northern Manhattan fan club just kept getting bigger.

Jay Garcia and his son Brian walked by the car every morning on the way to school.

“My son grew up with that car,” he said. “That was the running joke—that it was still going.  Every time we’d see it, we’d get happy. We called it the cancer car.”

Islem Good first encountered the car 12 years while she was still dating her now-husband Frank.

“Secretly, we didn’t call it Bluey,” Frank said. “We called it the rustbucket.”

Once, while driving north along Route 208 in New Jersey, Ettling and Bluey passed the couple.

A canoe was tied to Bluey’s roof.

“The canoe was bigger than the car,” Frank said.

“It really was hilarious,” said Islem. “I couldn’t believe that it could take the weight.”

Neighbors also praised Ettling for bringing the community together with the event. “He’s a great neighbor,” said John Lamont.  “And look at what he’s done for us all by doing this today.”

Before the car was towed away, Ettling gave a brief eulogy. He praised Dirk Neal, Bluey’s long time mechanic.

“He—and my funds—have kept this car running for 30 years,” he told the cheering crowd.

Ettling said he wasn’t a religious person, but he believed everyone has an impact on the world.

“Like ripples in a pond—it goes on infinitely,” he said. “In that way, no one truly leaves because their resonance keeps going.”…

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