Local Man Launches Campaign for “Paulie” Statue in Kensington
Philadelphia gadfly and life insurance enthusiast Tim McCloskey has recently taken it upon himself to correct what he sees as a big problem: While our fair city is (cartoonishly) well-known for Rocky Balboa, we entirely ignore Paulie.
A modern man, McCloskey turned to the Internet to galvanize grassroots action. After kind-of-a-lot clicking and and a meh amount of typing–the modern armchair activist’s blood, sweat and beers–McCloskey has created a Change.org petition calling on the City of Philadelphia to erect a statue of Burt Young at 2822 Rosehill St. in Kensington.
As of press time, he had 11 supports, but we keep refreshing.
PW: First question. Why?
McCloskey: Yesterday was a nice spring day, and I saw a lot of pictures of Philadelphia on Facebook, Instragram, Twitter. So many of the pictures were of the Rocky statue. I thought, “Enough with the Rocky already. Give us someone we can relate really to, like Paulie.” In his own words, he was a good man and nothing bothered him.
Like any Philadelphians, he worked hard, but also drank too much, had a bad attitude and always made cynical comments. He also owned a robot. He was living the dream!
I’m in my forties, and I remember watching the original Rocky movie in 1976 at the old Midway movie theater in Allegheny Avenue. It really was a transcendental experience. But it really went downhill with each film after that. Both Stallone and the character of Rocky became caricatures. But Paulie will always be one of us. Mickey, too. “You want to eat the bird? Go out in the alley and eat the bird!?”
PW: Why 2822 Rosehill St.? What’s the significance?
McCloskey: That’s where Paulie and Adrian lived in the first Rocky. That’s where Paulie throws the turkey into the alley on Thanksgiving.
If it brings a few tourists into the Kenz, it’ll be a good thing. People will see the real Philadelphia. As Paulie would say, I would like to see this done “instamatically.”
Rocky really ceased to be one of us once he got popular, like Kobe Bryant. But Paulie will always have a warm spot in all of our hearts. “I don’t want nothin’ from you. I don’t want nothin’ from you. This ain’t no charity case. Get outta my house!”
PW: How long have you known this was the address? Forever? What’s there now?
McCloskey: To be honest, I looked the address up online to be sure. But when the original movie came out, my father drove us around and showed us where all the Kensington scenes were shot. Rocky lived on Tusculum St. The gym and the pet shop were under the El on Front St. at Huntington. The bar was Thompson’s on the Hill, on “B” St. I remember it like it was yesterday.
PW: How do you intend to gain traction for the cause?
McCloskey: Considering the current economy, and how long it is taking to get a Joe Frazier statue, I don’t see it ever happening. It’s a million-to-one shot. But isn’t that the whole point of the movie? You have to go the distance.
PW: I was going to ask you “WWPD?” but I see that you have already asked yourself that question. Last thought: What Paulie? Within Paulie’s world, there were many Paulie universes. What would he be doing in that moment?
McCloskey: I actually met Burt Young once at Barney’s Beanery is Los Angeles. He’s a really nice guy. Above all, Paulie was a loyal friend to Rocky and good brother to Adrian. I’m sure he would do the right thing. If I can this is accomplished, my next project will be to get a statue of a legless Billy Ray Valentine in Rittenhouse Square.
There aren’t many outsiders who who have achieved “Honorary Philadelphian” status, and the short list is Toni Colette, Marky Mark and Burt Young.