Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Trip Down Memory Lane

I was sorting through some boxes in the garage the other day, and came across a few small baskets. I pulled one out and immediately took a trip down memory lane.

What was in there - you ask?

Was it old letters? Journals? Diaries? Photographs?

Nope, nope, nope and nope.



Yes. Matchbooks.

I used to collect them. Every now and then I still do, but they're a rare find these days, with all the no-smoking laws and whatnot. Or maybe it's just that I don't get out quite as much as I used to? [Oh, hush! I know that's probably it!] Either way, it was a stroll down memory lane like you'd never imagine.

And now, today, I got an email from a friend of mine with the saddest news. One of our favorite old bars is closing its doors. If you've ever been to NYC you've surely seen a bar like The Stoned Crow. But if you haven't been TO The Stoned Crow, well - you can't imagine what you're missing.

I'm so sad. I told my husband and he said that he would seriously consider driving up to New York just to raise one last glass there. They're closing after New Year's Eve, so if you're going to be in NYC over the coming week or two, check it out here. I can't even believe they have a website! Geez, times sure have changed, huh?

Anyway, I took a look through my stash of matchbooks, and don't see one from there, but I can picture it clearly. Yellow with the bar's name on front. I'm sure I have one stashed away somewhere. I'd surely grabbed enough of them over the years. Funny thing is, I don't even smoke. And I've never have been a smoker. But I've definitely taken a drag or two from a friend around the pool table, grabbed a few tootsie roll pops from Betty while she sat and watched us play, and lifted many a glass of cider at the old place.

I had breakups end there - running out onto the street and into a rehash of the past, hid from the ex-boyfriend as he dared walk in with the new girlfriend, talked the future with my not yet boyfriend (who ultimately became my husband), cried many a drunken tear, watched a friend meet his future wife, ate way too much popcorn at the bar, done a few too many shots and put back way too many beverages to count.

It's the end of an era, and I'm not even within 500 miles of the joint, haven't been for years. My husband and I spent one of our last nights out with the same old friend who told me about the closing before relocating to NC. Many a farewell party was held there, along with many a reunion. These are the moments life is made of.

Makes me peek at my matchbook collection and rethink using them up. They're just small ways for to remember stopping in at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, many trips to Serendipty 3 for frozen hot chocolates in Manhattan, Baluchi's for Indian food (lawd, how I miss Indian food!) and some random New York City bars like Telephone Bar and Grill, Mustangs or another old favorite, Polly Esther's. Ever been to the one on the Upper East Side? I used to live like two steps away from there. The convenience of Manhattan living when you've had one too many.

Anyway, that's where my mind is today. I was thinking about a matchbook post, and when I heard the news about the old bar closing its doors, I figured, what better way to pay tribute. So, to Betty and the crew at The Stoned Crow, I raise a glass to all of you. I'll remember those nights forever -- even the ones I forgot long ago!

**Those bartenders were generous. And some were kind of hot. Whew.**


I'm linking up today with Shell's Pour Your Heart Out over at Things I Can't Say. I'm just too lazy to grab the button right now.


  1. So many fond memories :-) We still have a pack of matches from the restaurant where Paul and I had our first date, and also one from the place we stayed on our honeymoon. Aside from that we never collected them, but those 2 were special.

  2. I haven't been able to part with our matchbook collection either... I've tried, but always change my mind.

  3. Love it when something brings me back. Sounds like that place is full of important parts of your history. Visiting from Shell's.

  4. Aw, I wish you could go there one last time!

  5. I was thinking about this the other day as I was desperately trying to find something in my apartment to light some candles with, I thought to myself, what ever happened to those things came in handy back in the day...oh well, got to roll with the times I guess...

  6. I never thought to collect matchbooks. How fun it would be to look back on.

  7. What a bummer! I remember when our Favourite pub closed. It held a lot of memories of celebration, laughter and first kiss with the tall blonde boy who would become my husband happened there.
    Sigh...good times

  8. Awww, what a lovely post. It always makes me melancholy when something like this happens - it does feel like the end of an era. There are places that feel like part of us, part of our history, and when they disappear it makes it that much more real that it's all in the past.

    This was a lovely tribute.

    Merry Christmas!


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