Old-Timers Won’t Shut Up About Dan O’Connell and ‘Albany Machine’
By Quack Davis
Published November 15th, 2015
ALBANY – The City Council is considering a proposal to prohibit old men from annoying people with conversations about "the way things used to be" in Albany.
Under the bill, old men would be required to cease-and-desist anytime they make references to Albany politicians who have been dead for more than 20 years — as well as any beer companies that are no longer in existence.
The move is considered a pre-emptive strike to quiet a crew of codgers led by Redbeard McLougherty, 75, who grew up in South Albany during the age of Democratic party boss Daniel P. O’Connell, Mayor Erastus Corning and the political machine that dominated the capital city for generations.
Sources say McLougherty refuses to stop telling stories about old politics, much to the agony of his family, friends and neighbors.
"He's a fuckin' asshole," said Deborah Scars, McLougherty's daughter, who called the Smudge to complain about her father.
Scars said she was called by management at Wolf’s Biergarten in the city and asked to come down and get her father after he and his friend, Jacko McMurtry, 80, walked into the bar and promptly started to bore bartender Gary Shoebucks and other patrons to tears while looking over the beer menu.
“Back in my day, bar owners were required to serve Hedricks beer in their pubs if they knew what was good for ‘em? ” McMurtry is said to have told the bartender. “You see, back in ‘dem days, Dan O’Connell’s family ran Hedricks, so everyone had to drink the beer.”
“Yes, Jacko, I know,” the bartender replied, according to witnesses. “Now why don't you assholes leave me alone, OK?”
Then, upon spotting an off-duty police officer at the bar, McLougherty said:
“You remind me of one of the McMooligan brothers. You must be one of Patty or Joe’s kids, no? Any relation to the McMooligans of Robin Street?”
McMurtry cut in: "Or the O’Donnigans of Dove Street? The Madison Avenue Murphys?”
“In my day,” McLougherty reportedly continued, “Old Dan O’Connell and his boy, Erastus, they ran this town. You fellas ever hear about the time Legs Diamond was found not guilty in Troy and not breathing in Albany? Well, let me tell you –"
“Red, shut up!” the bartender finally screamed, after several customers started to complain. “Goddamn, I’m getting sick and tired of you and your stories. No one gives a rat’s ass!”
City Council President Eggis Lautner said the obstacle that could keep the bill from passing is the legal concern that it would violate the men’s First Amendment right to free speech.
"However, the people and brand of beer that are the subject of that protected speech are long dead," Lautner said. "And pretty soon, so too will be these old men."