By Sherry Mazzocchi
Special to DNAinfo.com New York
To some, Bluey was just the rotting carcass of a car that's been rusting on Inwood's streets for years.
To others, the beaten up 1982 Honda Civic was an uptown institution. And the vehicle's legions of fans turned out in their dozens this weekend to give the motor a send-off to the scrap heap in the sky.
Inwood resident Harry Ettling bought the car new just over 30 years ago. Parked on Fort Washington Ave., it survived being slightly crushed during the 1992 Washington Heights riots, and was involved in several accidents.
But the rusting hulk started up every time, Ettling said at a New Orleans-style "funeral" on Saturday, complete with a police escort and a marching band.
“Bluey was the most reliable friend I’ve ever had,” Ettling said in a eulogy before leading a funeral procession up Seaman Ave. to 207th St., where the car was met by a tow truck.
Neighbors were sad to see the old car go. Inwood resident Nancy Preston said that, even though she often vied for the same parking spot, she will miss Bluey.
“Every time I’d see it, I’d just kind of chuckle,” she said. “We’re always looking for that car. “
“I love that little car, “ said Pilar Lopez, who lives across the street from Ettling. “I take pictures of it all the time. I’m going to miss it.”
Before his best friend drove off forever, Ettling thanked friends, neighbors and his mechanic, Dirk Neal, for attending.
“Without Dirk, none of you would be here today,” Ettling said to the crowd.
After the service, friends and neighbors mourned Bluey at the Piper’s Kilt. Manager Mike Bowe said this was the pub’s first ever car funeral party.
He also knew Bluey personally, and said, “He’s occupied my spot when I was looking for one.”
Ettling said it would take awhile to absorb the full impact of Bluey’s loss. The night before, he sat in the car and thanked it for all it’s done over the years.
“How do you thank a friend like that?” he said. “It’s going to hit me at some point, I’m sure.”