Letters and Emails

From Betty Ochs to Rockaway Memories, Dated March 16, 2011:

Dear Marty,

The pictures of Irishtown are wonderful, especially the top one on page 12 (what became of McGuire Bar). My late husband is the Normie Ochs that you mentioned in the caption. He and basketball legends Al and Dick McGuire were childhood friends, and remained friends for all their lives.

It was a unique area, and we Rockawayites will always have our memories. My husband's family owned a deli/grocery store on Beach 109th Street, diagonally across from McGuires. Of course, in the winter they were virtually the only family there.

Summer weekends, my dad played the piano at Smyth's. I believe it was on Beach 87th Street. I know that Smyth's wasn't located on the few streets that were technically known as Irishtown, yet it was still considered a part of it.

Smyth's Bar located on the corner of Rockaway Beach Blvd. and Beach 90th Street. Circa 1958. Photo Credit: Tom Stenger Collection

By the time this picture was taken around 1958, Smyth's was all boarded up. My father had already departed Rockaway and moved to Florida. While there he became a cocktail pianist who used the professional name of Mickey O'Toole. However, his real name was Sidney Lipson, obviously not Irish. We found this to be quite ironic. But, if he was happy with it....so be it.

Thank you so much for this unexpected treat.

Yours truly,
Betty Ochs

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