Bluey goes home
Bluey se va a casa

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Bluey goes home

Bidding a fond farewell to an Inwood institution

Story and video by Sherry Mazzocchi

Photos by QPHOTONYC

Bluey, a familiar sight throughout northern Manhattan for the last three decades, will be laid to rest this coming weekend with a New Orleans-style funeral procession.

Bluey, a familiar sight throughout northern Manhattan for the last three decades, will be laid to rest this coming weekend with a New Orleans-style funeral procession.

Harry Ettling is going all out for his best friend’s funeral.

Bluey’s send-off includes a New Orleans-style funeral procession with an after-party at Piper’s Kilt.

The public is invited to the 1 p.m. service on Sat., August 4th.

Beginning at Dyckman and Seaman Avenues, friends, family members and jazz musicians will gather and then follow Harry and Bluey up Seaman Avenue.

When they reach 207th St., Ettling and friends will say a few words about Bluey. Then the tow truck will hook Bluey up and drive away, out of Harry’s life forever.

“It seemed like the natural thing to do when I decided to let Bluey go,” said Ettling.

Bluey is a 1982 Honda Civic.

After 30 years, and more than 170,000 miles, the car’s body is giving out.

After 30 years, and more than 170,000 miles, the car’s body is giving out.

Longtime Inwood resident Ettling bought him brand new in the fall of 1981.

A small boy who lived downstairs from Ettling called him Bluey and it stuck. Unlike most cars, Bluey is male.

His life has been long and adventurous. Soon after he was purchased, Bluey was parked on Fort Washington Avenue where he was hit by another car and totaled. The frame was bent, but a mechanic straightened him out and he recovered.

During the 1992 riots in northern Manhattan, Ettling and a friend found Bluey upside down in the street, surrounded by men ready to strip him bare.

When Ettling, a soft-spoken Arkansas native, informed them that Bluey was his car, they stopped. They even helped him turn the car right side up.

“I’ve always considered this car to be the most reliable friend I’ve ever had,” said Harry Ettling, Bluey’s owner.

“I’ve always considered this car to be the most reliable friend I’ve ever had,” said Harry Ettling, Bluey’s owner.

Bluey is not very blue at the moment.

The car is well known in northern Manhattan for its rust and general decrepitude.

“There isn’t a day that goes by where people stop and get their picture taken with it,” Ettling said. “It is a little striking visually.”

Bluey has more than 170,000 miles and has been remarkably dependable for the past 30 years.

“I’ve always considered this car to be the most reliable friend I’ve ever had,” Ettling said. “I’ve never had a friend that’s been there for me the way this car has through thick and thin.”

The motor runs well and the transmission is fine, but the body is giving out.  The license plate is held in place with wires. There are major rust spots. Part of the window frame on driver’s side door is missing.

He said the NYPD know and recognize him, but never stop him. New Jersey police have been known to say, “You’ve got a lot of nerve, driving that car.” Ettling thinks of it as a compliment and says, “Thank you.”

As the car has gotten older and more run down, people–usually complete strangers—feel free to offer a wide spectrum of reactions to Bluey.

“People will say, ‘Good for you!’ or they will get angry and ask, ‘Why do you keep driving that?’” he said.

Ettling stopped taking the car on long trips in 2003.

Ettling with Rosa Naparstek of Artists Unite; the group is helping to organize Bluey’s send-off.

Ettling with Rosa Naparstek of Artists Unite; the group is helping to organize Bluey’s send-off.

“It was never really the same after the Washington Heights riots,” he said.

If he needs a car for a long trip, he rents one. “I didn’t want to go someplace and have to call somebody and tell them I’d fallen through the floor of my car.”

Still, if the body were intact, Ettling said he would keep Bluey.

But-

“It’s time,” said Ettling’s friend, Steve Alcott. Alcott has known Bluey for 20 years.

He had a similar experience with a Plymouth Valiant that he loved but had to give up because the frame rusted in two.

Alcott said losing a car like Bluey is almost like losing a pet or a good friend.

“It’s better to send Bluey off in a dignified way rather than have the police tow him because they don’t like the way he looks.”

If it is any consolation for Ettling, Bluey won’t end up in a junkyard. He will be donated to a charitable organization and his parts will be sold as scrap.

“He’s an organ donor,” said Ettling. “He may live on in other cars. You never know.”

To hear Harry tell of his love for Bluey, please visit http://bit.ly/MT_053.

Bluey se va a casa

Despedida a una institución de Inwood

Historia y video por Sherry Mazzocchi

Fotos por QPHOTONYC

Bluey, a familiar sight throughout northern Manhattan for the last three decades, will be laid to rest this coming weekend with a New Orleans-style funeral procession.

Bluey, una familiar visión a través del Norte de Manhattan por las últimas tres décadas, será llevado a descansar en paz este próximo fin de semana.

Harry Ettling está haciendo todo por el funeral de su mejor amigo, incluyendo una procesión funeral al estilo de Nueva Orleans con una fiesta después en Piper’s Kilt.

El público está invitado al servicio de la 1:00 p.m. el sábado, 4 de agosto.

Comenzando en las Avenidas Dyckman y Seaman, amigos, miembros de la familia y músicos de jazz se reunirán y seguirán a Harry and Bluey por la Avenida Seaman.

Cuando lleguen a la Calle 207, Ettling y amigos dirán unas breves palabras acerca de Bluey. Entonces la grúa llegará a la Calle 207 y se irá, fuera de la vida de Harry para siempre.

“Parecía la cosa más natural cuando decidí dejar ir a Bluey”, dijo Ettling. Bluey es un Honda Civic del 1982.

Ettling, residente de Inwood por mucho tiempo lo compró nuevo en el otoño del 1981.

Un pequeño niño que vivía debajo de Ettling lo llamaba Bluey y así se quedo. A diferencia de la mayoría de los autos, Bluey es hombre.

After 30 years, and more than 170,000 miles, the car’s body is giving out.

Después de 30 anos, y mas de 170,000 millas, la caja del carro ya esta cayendo a pedazos.

Su vida ha sido larga y aventurera. Justo luego de ser comprado, Bluey fue estacionado en la Avenida Fort Washington donde fue chocado totalmente por otro auto. El marco se dobló, pero un mecánico lo enderezó y se recuperó.

Durante los disturbios del 1992 en el Alto Manhattan, Ettling y un amigo encontraron a Bluey boca abajo en la calle, rodeado de hombres listos para descuartizarlo.

Cuando Ettling, un oriundo de Arkansas de suave hablar les informó que Bluey era su auto, se detuvieron. Hasta lo ayudaron a virarlo de vuelta.

Al momento Bluey no es muy azul.

“I’ve always considered this car to be the most reliable friend I’ve ever had,” said Harry Ettling, Bluey’s owner.

“Siempre consideré este auto como el amigo más confiable que haya tenido”, dijo Harry Ettling, dueño de Bluey.

El auto es bien conocido en el Norte de Manhattan por su moho y decrepitud general. “No pasa un día sin que alguien pase y se detenga a tomarse una foto con el”, dijo Ettling. “Es un poco llamativo visualmente”.

Bluey tiene más de 170,000 millas y ha sido extraordinariamente confiable por los pasados 30 años.

“Siempre consideré este auto como el amigo más confiable que haya tenido”, dijo Ettling. “Nunca he tenido un amigo que haya estado ahí conmigo de la manera que lo hizo este auto”.

El motor corre bien y la transmisión está bien, pero la caja ya no puede más. La tablilla está colocada en su lugar con alambre. Hay grandes pedazos de moho. Falta parte del marco de la ventana en el lado del conductor.

Dijo que el NYPD sabe y lo reconoce, pero nunca lo detienen. La policía de New Jersey ha dicho, “usted tiene pantalones, conduciendo ese auto”. Ettling piensa de ello como un cumplido y dice, “Gracias”.

Según el auto ha envejecido y ha corrido más, los vecinos – normalmente extraños – se sienten libres de ofrecer reacciones acerca de Bluey.

“La gente dice, ‘muy bien por ti’, o se molestan y preguntan, ¿Por qué continuas conduciendo eso’”?, dijo el.

Ettling paró de llevar el auto a largos viajes en el 2003.

“Nunca fue el mismo luego de los disturbios de Washington Heights”, dijo el.

Ettling with Rosa Naparstek of Artists Unite; the group is helping to organize Bluey’s send-off.

Ettling con Rosa Naparstek del grupo Artists Unite, que esta organizando la despedida de Bluey con una procesión funeral al estilo de Nueva Orleans.

Si necesitaba un auto para viajes largos, rentaba uno. “No quería ir a un lugar y tener que llamar a alguien y decirle que me estaba cayendo por el piso de mi auto”.

Aunque dijo que si la carrocería estuviera intacta se quedaría con Bluey.

Pero – “Es tiempo”, dijo el amigo de Ettling, Steve Alcott. Alcott ha conocido a Bluey por 20 años. El tuvo una experiencia similar con un Plymouth Valiant que amaba pero tuvo que dejarlo ir porque la carrocería estaba mohosa.

Alcott dijo que el perder un auto como Bluey es casi como perder una mascota o un buen amigo.

“Es mejor enviar a Bluey de una manera digna en lugar de que la policía lo remolque porque no le gusta de la manera que se ve”.

Si es de alguna consolación para Ettling, Bluey no terminara en un garaje de chatarra. Será donado a una organización de caridad y sus partes serán vendidas como chatarra.

“Esto es un donante de órganos”, dijo Ettling. “Podría vivir en otros autos. Tu nunca sabes”.

Para escuchar a Harry hablar de su amor por Bluey, visite http://bit.ly/MT_053