Dozens of Inwood residents filled the streets in a mournful procession for one of the New York neighbourhood’s beloved old timers. Harry Ettling’s 1982 Honda Civic. The rustbucket known throughout the neighbourhood as “Bluey” (despite the almost complete lack of original sky blue paint) finally went to the great car park in the sky on Saturday with the odometer showing more than 170,000 miles.
Ettling donned a suit and top hat to lead the funeral march where his pride and joy was loaded onto a flatbed truck for its last ride — to the junkyard. A bouquet of flowers adorned Bluey's discoloured hood. "Everybody in the neighbourhood knows this car," Ettling said. "People have come up to me and said, 'Ever since I was a little toddler, I've been seeing this car on the street.'
"And that's a beautiful thing. I think in that way, Bluey's influence and his impact on the neighbourhood and his memory, if not him, will certainly live on for many years to come, if not, forever." Along the way, the car became increasingly decrepit — and increasingly beloved. "It became a neighbourhood icon,” he said. “There wasn't a day that went by that some kids didn't stop by and get their picture taken by my car."
Mr Ettling speaks fondly of Bluey prior to the funeral here.
One major issue finally drove Bluey off the road: "I was afraid my feet would go through the floor from the rust," Ettling said. After a Dixieland band performed, New Orleans-style, Bluey was loaded onto the truck and Ettling's neighbours headed to the local bar for a final tribute to an old friend.