BROOKLYN WEEKLY, APRIL 26, 2020
Slope diner shows
Purity Diner in Park Slope plastered their windows with messages of hope for
nurses and doctors on the front lines of the pandemic. Photo by Ben Verde
Joe Joyce with his wife, Jane. Photo by Kevin Joyce
Joe Joyce, owner of the storied
Bay Ridge tavern JJ Bubbles, died
on April 9 at the age of 74 due to
complications caused by the novel
coronavirus, his family said.
At home in one of the most bardense
neighborhoods in New York
City, not much has changed about
JJ Bubbles in its 42 years of operation
— something Joyce’s son
Kevin attributes to his father’s
dedication to an old-fashioned way
of doing things.
“My father was frozen in time,”
Joyce opened JJ Bubbles in
1978, near the corner of 79th Street
and Third Avenue. Prior to that,
he worked as an adaptive physical
education teacher for disabled
students at I.S. 27 on Staten Island,
and tended bar at the nearby Tankard
Inn. An army veteran, Joyce
was previously stationed at Chu
Lai during the Vietnam War.
What did change inside JJ Bubbles
was its collection of knickknacks
lining the walls. Over the
This newspaper is not responsible for typographical errors in ads beyond the cost of the space occupied by the error. All rights reserved. Copyright © 2020 by Brooklyn Courier
Life LLC. The content of this newspaper is protected by Federal copyright law. This newspaper, its advertisements, articles, and photographs may not be reproduced, either in
whole or part, without permission in writing from the publisher except brief portions for purposes of review or commentary consistent with the law. Postmaster, send address
changes to Courier Life, One MetroTech Center North, Third Floor, Brooklyn, NY 11201.
BY BEN VERDE
Kevin Joyce said.
years, the tavern picked up more
and more treasures, including a
collection of old earthenware beer
steins that hang from the ceiling
above the bar, and dozens of old
beer signs – all of which Joyce collected
himself. He picked up the
pieces at garage sales and antique
shops across the country, his son
“It’s a tale of my father’s journey
in life and his collecting,”
Kevin said. “The bar is a living testament.”
Three years after opening JJ
Bubbles, Joyce quit drinking for
good, spending the better part of
the following 39 years operating a
bar he never drank from.
Employees remembered Joyce
for his generosity, and for creating
a safe haven for patrons.
“He was more than just a boss,
he was family to many of us,” said
Ross Procaccio, who has worked at
JJ Bubbles for six years.
But, “Being a 40 year-plus bar
owner is such a small part of what
Joe contributed to the neighborhood,”
said. Procaccio. “If you ever
needed help with anything, he was
always there for you. He would give
the shirt off his back to anyone.”
Joyce was heavily involved in
community events, including —
but not limited to — the local competitive
darts scene, the Brooklyn
Shamrocks Gaelic Football Club
and the Special Olympics Polar
Plunge on Staten Island.
“Anybody who needed anything,
he would have fundraisers
for them,” said his wife Jane
Right now, the fate of JJ Bubbles
remains up in the air while
the family deals with more pressing
matters. However, the Joyces
say they plan on having a service
for their patriarch at St. Anselm’s
Church, and a subsequent celebration
of his life once it is safe.
“This is a truly devastating
loss to the community as a whole,”
Procaccio said. “He’ll be greatly
missed by so many.”
Additional reporting by
BY BEN VERDE
A beloved Park Slope diner
has plastered its windows with
messages of support for the
hardworking staff at the adjacent
Methodist Hospital, where
healthcare professionals have
been working day and night to
care for victims of the novel coronavirus.
John Kolosakas, the owner
of Purity Diner on Seventh Avenue
and Seventh Street, partnered
with elementary school
students at P.S. 10 to fi ll the corner
window of his eatery with
colorful drawings and letters,
in an effort to boost the spirits
of the frontline workers across
“They’re stressed out.
They’re working a lot right now,
way more than they used to,”
Kolosakas said of the healthcare
workers who frequent his diner.
“It’s for a little morale boost.”
Purity sits right across the
road from where Methodist’s
ambulances dock, so some of
the messages are geared specifi -
cally towards the EMS workers,
who are responding to a historically
high level of calls throughout
Kolosakas says he saw the
open spaces on his windows as
an opportunity to say thanks.
He fi rst partnered with
painter Maria Negulescu, who
lent her craft to the window as a
base. Kolosakas then contacted
music teacher Fred Ellis at P.S.
10, who organized a school-wide
email asking for submissions.
Letters started pouring in
two days later, Kolosakas said.
And to help feed the hospital
workers, the diner is currently
participating in a “frontline
fund” where community members
can donate money to the
diner so healthcare heroes can
eat on the house, similar to the
fund set up at fellow neighboring
eatery La Bagel Delight.
More than 20 messages currently
sit in the windows, but
Kolosakas says he hopes to coat
every inch of space available.
“I’m hoping for thousands,”
he said. “They just keep coming
‘FROZEN IN TIME’
Bay Ridge bar owner Joe Joyce remembered as local legend