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« Monday, July 26th, 2010—Bar 197 | Main | Sleepy Sunday »

Sunday, July 25th, 2010—Bar 196

Day 196—Saturday, July 24th, 2010
WCOU Radio a.k.a. Tile Bar (After a screening of Goodfellas at Theatre 80 St. Marks)

Friday I was perusing some local New York blogs and I came upon this post on the EV Grieve blog: Celebrating the 'GoodFellas' anniversary. It’s hard to believe it’s the 20th anniversary of the release of “Goodfellas”. To me “Goodfellas” is filmed somewhat in the same style as another Scorsese (often overlooked) gem, “After Hours.”  Both these film take you on an emotional roller coaster ride that have you laughing one minute and then causes your skin to crawl the next. So I was excited to learn that there was to be a special anniversary screening at Theatre 80 on St. Marks Place with a special guest appearance by Henry Hill, the former mobster who Ray Liotta portrays in the movie. So tonight instead of going out early for a cheeseburger, we’re going to the screening and then will venture out on a rare late-night Saturday bar crawl. Hey, what are you laughing at? You think this is funny? What am I a clown here to amuse you? Sometimes you don’t sound like you’re kidding. There’s people around.

Here's the Theatre.

Showtime is 6pm. As usual I'm early so we'll hang around outside till the doors open up.

And who shows up early as well but the real life inspiration for the film, Henry Hill. I gave the former Goodfella a shirt with the original designed "Boris" logo and he happily accepted it. And yeah, I was a little nervous standing out on the street with him, but luckily no one took pot shots at us.

The doors opened and the lobby quickly filled up.

Everyone who bought a ticket got an autographed program and there were other items for sale.

Including paintings by Henry Hill.

A painting of a rat, a gun and one of the first lines from the film.

Here's the inside of the theatre.

The stage and the screen.

And look some asshole has wandered up on the stage.

Whoops, that asshole is me. Okay, I'll take my seat now.

Lou Martini, Jr. opened up the festivities. He's a veteran New York actor and appeared in the last season of The Sopranos. He introduced Henry Hill.

Henry gave a brief talk before the film began.

He's a humble and charming guy and the crowd loved him. And now...showtime!

After the film Henry came back for a question and answer segment but first he brought up Fran McGee, a New York actress who was in the film. She's also appeared in Woody Allen's "Bullets Over Broadway" and is currently working on a film with her daughter titled, "Village Daughter, Village Mom."

Next Henry brought up Ed McDonald. Ed was the prosecuting attorney who put Henry and his family in the witness protection plan. And in a truly bizarre twist, he also played the prosecuting attorney in the film. It turns out that before they started filming, Ed met with some of Scorsese's production people and asked who was going to play him in the movie. They told him it wasn't cast, he jokingly told them that he'd do it and that led to a screen test and he ended up playing himself in the film.

The question and answer period was very entertaining. Henry said that while most everything in the film was true, the infamous "clown" scene was improvised and didn't happen in real life. When asked if he would do things differently if he had a second chance, he said he wouldn't choose the gangster life. He said he'd rather have been a greeter at WalMart than take that path again.

After the Q. and A. there was a spaghetti dinner in the lobby.

Here's Justin, Brian Niemietz and Henry's promoter, Artie. Brian is a writer for the NY Post and wrote an aricle about the American Gangster Museum which is in the theater. Check it out here: Hit Parade.

Here's Lou Martini, Jr. and Liz. Lou opened up the screening and is a veteran New York actor. Check out his website here: Lou Martini, Jr.

Here's Ed and Henry reminiscing.

As the party came to an end I said goodbye to Henry and headed out for bar number 196.

Most places were packed, but I found this place about a block away.

Not too crowded for a Saturday, so this is the place.

Robert the bartender serves up an ice cold Red Stripe.

While there's no sign outside, inside is a neon light inscribed with the words, WCOU Radio. It's also known as the Tile Bar due to the black and white tiled floor.

The sign hangs over the jukebox which has a varied selection of artists such as: Patsy Cline, Bob Dylan, Al Green, Theolonius Monk, Aretha Franklin and John Lee Hooker.

Tables and stools are arranged willy-nilly opposite the bar.

Valentina was seated next to me and enjoying a drink at the bar.

Here's a shot from the other end of the bar.

The bar is well stocked and the prices are cheap here.

And there's free bar snacks!

I love free bar snacks!

Tony and Winnie were seated at the end of the bar and posed for the 365 camera.

As did, Andrew, James and Daniel. Cheers, guys!

Backward neon!

The clearest obligatory bathroom shot ever. Goodnight everybody!

Since there’s no sign outside, this bar is basically whatever you want to call it, but some call it WCOU Radio for the neon sign hanging over the jukebox and some call it the Tile Bar because of the black and white tiled floor which bring Cheap Trick to mind. Whatever you call it, it is what it is, an old school dive bar that’s been a fixture on the block since 1982. There’s no frills, just a long well-worn wooden bar, tables to the side and a jukebox in the back. Black and white photos hang on the wall and the front windows overlooks First Avenue in all its glory. The cliental is strictly neighborhood locals and while the jukebox is well-stocked, it’s volume level is kept at a conversational tone, making this a nice place to sit and chat with friends.

There’s a full bar here with a decent selection of draft and bottled beers and you won’t go broke drinking here. There’s a daily happy hour from 5pm to 8pm where almost every drink is just three bucks. This is an old school no gimmicks East Village tavern where the drinking is easy and it reminds you of bars from days gone by. A nice place where trendiness is kept at bay.

WCOU Radio a.k.a. Tile Bar
115 First Ave. (@7th St.)

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Reader Comments (28)

Fuck Yeah!
Henry Hill and the 365 Shirt!
Great Double Feature!

July 25, 2010 | Unregistered Commenter"Boris"

Seems like a very cool night, and a great reason to sleep in. How awesome that you met Henry and gave him a shirt. Nice simple bar and Robert is a cutie.

July 25, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterkari

Mama Mia wadda post! Film clips, history lesson, celebrities, real life ex-wiseguys, this installment deserves an award! You've got me hungry for some Italian tonight Marty, and I mean genuine Italian, not the Americanized stuff they serve at the Olive Garden.

July 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJaws the Cabbie

I agree with Jaws, classic fucking 365 post! I love the shot with you, Henry and the shirt that "Boris" designed! You're a funny guy, Marty!

July 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBarfly

The fact that you mentioned Scorsese's After Hours was unreal because I thought about that movie last night while watching Teri Garr in Firstborn. Teri Garr played the lonely waitress in After Hours and the bar scenes in that movie was great. Goodfellas is one for the ages, a classic and of course the scene with Pesci being told by Frank Vincent "now go home and get your fucking shine box" was great. The bar was really an after thought today as you got me thinking of those movies, which featured great bars. The Tile bar entrance was really cool with the small tile mosaics.

July 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAl

Oh yeah the Simpsons video was classic. Never seen that before and hearing them say "fuck" just seems so appropriate.

July 25, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterkari

This was really great...really great. Now I'm going to go get the papers...get the papers.

July 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJimmy Two Times

Goodfellas is a legendary flick! I thought it would over 20 years though?
Great Simpsons scene.
@ Jaws....I'm in NY November....tell me mor about this real authentic Italian! Where do I find it?

July 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTim Clack Downunder

@Tim Clack Downunder; Marty would be the one to ask...I live in Minnesota! Just not the Olive Garden...it's the T.G.I. Fridays of Italian food.

July 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJaws the Cabbie

I love both Goodfellas and "After Hours"
saw Griffon Dunne in an airport once and maai asked who he was and I could say was well he was in "After Hours" and his sister was in "Poltergeist."
I am sooo excited about the pic of you and Henry Hill
need to get that in the FB group..
I must have seen "Goodfellas" a dozen times the first month it came out.
Honestly it's my fave of all the Gangster films.
And I just love Ray Liotta, ha!
I play clips from it during my radio shows when i am on late at night.. well i certainly cant play them during the day now can i:)
well as much as I cuss on air maybe no one would notice or be offended:)

July 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterGidget

I can't believe this guy, Henry Hill, is still alive. A mob "associate" who ratted out 50+ mobsters -- when the heat got a little too hot for him. That's a coward in my book. There's nothing about this rat that is good. Loved the movie .... hated Henry Hill for being a deusch ...

July 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterGENE

@GENE: It was interesting meeting him and hearing his side of it. It didn't get just a little hot for him, he and his family were going to get killed if he didn't turn people in. The people he turned in were going to whack him in or out of prison due to the fact he got busted making drug deals, ultimately it was self-defense. He's not proud of what he's done, but he did what he had to do to survive. He saved his family and has lectured kids about making the right choices in life. He's not a saint, but who is? He admits he fucked up his life and made huge mistakes, I give him credit for that. It was a situation of turning in psycho killers or letting them kill him and his wife and kids. These weren't nice people he turned in, they were cold-blooded killers that shot people in the back and he admits that he wasn't a nice person back then either and that he regrets it with all his heart.

July 25, 2010 | Registered Commenter365 Beers

@Gidget: Ray Liotta is married to a woman from Peoria and people have told me that when he's in town he's a real nice guy. A good fella if you will.

July 25, 2010 | Registered Commenter365 Beers

@Marty .... I understand what you're saying ... but it was the life he chose ... they were not selling Girl Scout cookies. The Mob is not a pretty business - and I think he knew that. The worst thing you can do is rat out people, and that's what he did -- you're supposed to keep your mouth shut. Don't do the crime - if you can't do the time. He was warned to not sell drugs -- and he did it anyway. and ... the Lufthansa robbery did not do him any favors either. These things are what got him in trouble - and got him & his family in danger. If he plays the part of "good associate" ... he doesn't have these issues --- and he doesn't have to rat everyone out to save his own ass ...

July 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterGENE

@Tim Clack Downunder:

Try this place:



July 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterGENE

Having never seen Goodfellas, most of what's been said up there is pretty much lost on me. I do like Fran's cowboy hat. Quite a bit, in fact. And that spaghetti looks delish. I'm anxious to read up on "the clown scene" because when you mentioned it, it reminded me of the clown scene in Married to the Mob and now I wonder if that was a direct rip-off, er homage, from/to this flick. I did see After Hours and even though it was so weird it made me feel sick most of the way through, the pay-off for having watched it made the journey worth it. Like going over the hills and through the woods to grandma's. Or muscling your way through a 12-pack of Wiedemann's. In any event, I'm glad you had fun. And I'm super glad that you didn't caption that photo of the dude out front with "Hi Asshole!" From the looks of him, that might have gotten you popped. As far as the bar itself goes, looks like a great place filled with happy people and peanuts - a stellar combination. I'd be interested to hear if there ever actually was a WCOU Radio and if it maybe operated from this site way back when? In the meantime, I shall while away the time chuckling at how much it looks like you're trapped inside that bathroom mirror, trying to get out. And, for the record, next time I remodel my master bath, I'm going to make it look exactly like this bar's exterior.

July 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBiff

Goodfellas is one of my favorite movies. I am so glad that you had the opportunity to attend the screening and meet the real Henry Hill. How very cool!

WCOU Radio looks like a very interesting bar full of fun loving and friendly people. My kind of place!!

July 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTiki Bar Susie

@GENE: I'll send you an email, my friend, I don't want to turn the comments section here into a debate.

July 26, 2010 | Registered Commenter365 Beers

wow, this was one of your best ever. i love the movie goodfellas and would've loved to have been there for the questions with henry hill. he must be one interesting person. awesome!

July 26, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterrita r.

Sorry everyone ! I got carried away today ! Must be the 109 degree heat today in Afghanistan :(

July 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterGENE

@GENE: No worries, I'll send you an email soon, try and beat the heat (like Henry Hill did, har har har!)

July 26, 2010 | Registered Commenter365 Beers

a great addition to the crawl...once again everything has pretty much been said...except damn where the last 20 years go?...KOC


July 26, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterraginrr

Oh man, I love the movie Goodfellas. Its one of those few films I can watch Over and Over! I cant believe you met the REAL Henry Hill! Wow. I'm surprised he's not still in hiding! I don't think I would ever come out in public again if I were him!!

July 26, 2010 | Unregistered Commentermeleah rebeccah

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