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Last Updated: Wednesday, 23 August 2006, 11:12 GMT 12:12 UK
'Oldest' New York barman turns 90
New York barman Hoy Wong pours a martini
Hoy Wong has happy memories of his clientele
A man regarded as New York's oldest bartender has marked his 90th birthday at the city's Algonquin Hotel.

Hoy Wong's 58-year career as a New York barman has seen him serve drinks to stars such as Marilyn Monroe, Dean Martin, Judy Garland and Bob Hope.

"They were all nice people," Mr Hoy told reporters.

He began working behind the bar in 1948 at a now-defunct New York Chinese restaurant, Freeman Chum, before moving to the Algonquin in 1979.

The hotel invited some 350 of his friends and admirers to a party honouring him on Tuesday night.

His employers believe he is the oldest working barman in New York.

Algonquin general manager Bill Liles praised his work ethic, saying: "He never misses a day."

"He goes non-stop regardless of the business flow," Mr Liles told the Associated Press news agency. "He never gets behind."

Lemon twist

Mr Hoy says a healthy lifestyle and a relaxed attitude have helped him reach the age of 90 and remain active.

"It doesn't matter what happens," he told the AP agency. "Turn around, I can forget it."

Mr Hoy was born in Hong Kong and served in the US military in India and China after migrating to the US.

He describes the late Hollywood actress, Judy Garland, as "very sad".

"She always had a cocktail glass in her hand".

His proudest moment, he says, came when the Duke of Windsor entered the bar and asked for "House of Lords martini in and out on toast".

The head waiter almost sent him into the kitchen to fetch a piece of toast - but Mr Hoy correctly interpreted the Duke's request and added a lemon twist, and lit the drink with a match.

"He liked it," Mr Hoy says. "And he had a second one."

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