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The Underdog Story of Times Square’s Still Gritty Jimmy’s Corner

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There is a gritty purism about Jimmy’s Corner, where the walls are covered in boxing memorabilia and an old jukebox permeates the atmosphere with the velvety tones of Sam Cooke and Sinatra. The proprietor, Jimmy Glenn, is a former prizefighter and cornerman for Floyd Patterson. He opened Jimmy’s in 1971. From a distance of half a century, the bar’s survival, in the heart of Times Square, has the feel of an underdog story. The decades-long makeover of the neighborhood, from a convivial Gomorrah to an outpost of Disneyland, couldn’t dislodge the place. Even the price of booze—draft beers for three dollars, mixed drinks from the rail for fifty cents more—remains stubbornly out of step with inflation. Glenn, now in his eighty-eighth spring, still drops in nearly every night. On a recent Monday, he arrived at the usual hour, just before ten, and took a chair next to a large stone sculpture of a sparring glove. With his silvery horseshoe mustache and marble-handled walking cane, he called to mind a king presiding over his courtiers. A woman with a lilting Scottish accent asked to take a photo with him. A bearded Dutchman in a Yankees cap just wanted to shake his hand. Glenn obliged the admiring tourists, and then turned his attention to a newly wed Manhattan couple. “Jimmy, you think my wife could be a heavyweight champion?” the man asked. Glenn sized up the sylphlike woman, who had pink hair and was gamely jabbing at the air. He chuckled softly and shook his head. “They’d sit on her,” he pronounced, and the woman dropped her arms in mock defeat. Another K.O. for Jimmy Glenn. ♦


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