Do you recall your first drink?
What was it, Beer, wine, or whiskey?
Where was it? Who bought it for you?
Remember when the legal drinking age was 18?
If you were under age (yeah, we drank waaaaaaaay before we were 18), you had an older person buy it for you. It could be at the bodega on 8th avenue (Windsor or 15th street). Maybe it was Kalamoes on the parkside. Or possibly it was 16th and 10th where you were 16 or 17 and the owner wanted that quick sale before he closed. Maybe you snuck it out of your house like the night I snuck a bottle of Gin out and hid it in my gym bag.
“Goin to my basketball game ma!” I recall shouting out to my mother as she watched television in her bedroom as I walked out the apartment door.
Sneaking it was like Mission ‘Possible’. I don’t think I ever got caught. There is a great story floating around the neighborhood how a certain coach from the neighborhood caught some of his athletes drinking in the park and dumped out all their drinks? Anyone care to share that one?
Friday and Saturday nights were the norm. Scrounge up some loot and hand over your cash to someone from the neighborhood who didn’t mind buying your stuff for you.
I recall a friend of mine who will go nameless used to have his older brother buy our Wild Irish Rose from the liquor store on 16th street.
Man were we crazy!
Don’t believe me? Here is a post/comment form Paulie R a few months back:
I remember the very first time going to Farrell’s, “I had just turned 18” ;). I walked up to Hoolie thinking he was going to throw me out because I requested 12 containers of Bud (little did he know they were for all my underage Juvenile delinquent friends waiting across the street). Let me say this, he did not bat an eye!
At around midnight, when it was time to go home you would chew some gum or suck on about 10 lifesavers so your breath wouldn’t smell.
It was like a National Holiday when you turned 18, you could now ‘stand’ at the bar at Farrell’s and have a glass of beer. Better yet, you can get a Container to go. Walk out the front door, chest puffed out and a big smile on your mug.
As a teenager there was usually four things you wanted to do growing up in Windsor Terrace; Play in the major leagues, make the NBA, become a fireman or a cop and last but not least, have a drink at Farrell’s.
The year was 1981, I was 17 years old. I counted down the days until I turned 18. It was like the countdown at Times Square during New Year’s eve with Dick Clark.
I could taste the cold bud on tap. I could see Hooley or even Eddie Mills pouring my glass, placing it on the bar and taking my five dollar bill, and putting the change down in front of me.
I used to dream of standing at that bar while I walked past Farrell’s thousands of times staring into the huge window to see who was tending bar.
Hooley and Eddie always knew how old you were too, so you weren’t getting served until you were officially 18.
“Few more months Red” is what Eddie used to say to me.
Then one day, it was like a nightmare. My drinking world came crashing down.
Someone decided to change the legal drinking age from 18 to 19. Right before my 18th birthday!
It was dreadful.
After the change, Eddie Mills used to point at me and laugh whenever I’d walk by, ‘HA-HA, ONE MORE YEAR!’