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Hart staying alive in Brooklyn

By
CAROL VECCHIONE

NEW YORK -- A patron at the Old Pump Inn where Gary Hart chugged a mug of beer during a campaign stop Tuesday claims the Brooklyn neighborhood has 'the most bars and churches within a 2-mile radius' of anywhere in the nation.

'This is a hard working, middle-class neighborhood,' said Larry Baldwin, a window washer who lives near the bar. 'But it's mostly a Republican section.'

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Hart's local campaign managers claim the candidate made the appearance in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, because pub owner Hugh McManamon invited him. But McManamon said the Hart for President people asked if the Colorado senator could make the hand-shaking tour.

'I suspect it's because this is one of the largest bars in Brooklyn,' Mrs. McManamon said. 'It holds at least 250.'

'We were almost chosen as a place for filming that John Travolta film -- 'Stayin' Alive' -- but then the Hollywood people changed their minds,' she said.

Hart, who had been campaigning upstate Tuesday, was about an hour late for the appearance and quickly guzzled a mug of beer in the bar jammed with regular patrons, curious bystanders and scores of news media.

Before he was whisked away to the back of the pub to hold a news conference on his Connecticut primary victory, Hart stopped to shake Baldwin's hand and visited a few minutes with McManamon and his wife.

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McManamon, who emigrated from County Mayo in Ireland 30 years ago, said he has owned the bar for 12 years but that the establishment has been a local watering hold for at least a century.

Lucy McIver, who said she was not a regular at the bar but turned out to see Hart, described the neighborhood as 'working-class and ethnic' with groups including Greeks, Syrians and Scandinavians.

'I come here every day,' Baldwin said. 'I think it's in the Guinness Book of World Record or something that Bay Ridge has the most bars and churches within a 2-mile radius than anywhere else in the country.'

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