Pull up a Stool for Masty Huba

By Brandi Bailey

January 22, 2013 Updated Jan 22, 2013 at 12:57 AM EDT

(WBNG Binghamton) The streets of Binghamton are lined with history, from the buildings to the people that walk them. Decades ago, one local legend has left a lasting impression on the First Ward.

Masty Huba is the source of those legends, and has garnered interest from filmmakers.

The film got started with stories of people that knew him. "The Legend of Masty Huba" dates back to the 1940s. He was a homeless man who relied on the community for food, shelter and drinks, according to local lore.

"He basically lived off the community, because the community wanted him to live. That's the story I was told when I was a kid," Phil Filfata said.

In return for those favors, Huba supplied jokes, laughter and company.

He was a man with more friends than most, and decades later the memory of Huba still remains.

There are pictures and paintings of him scattered throughout historic bars in the Binghamton area. Huba still has people entering local bars and reminiscing about his jokes and songs.

"It always seemed like no one ever wanted him to leave the bar when he walked in, people always talked about people's faces lighting up,"Filfata said.

Director of "The Legend of Masty Huba" Kyle McKeveny began his research nearly five years ago. It started with trips to local bars and listening to stories from locals.

"It was fun to go through and figure it all out," McKeveny said.

"There are so many stories about him out there, yet he's been dead a long time," McKeveny said.

For one local bar there's even a rule to keep the late Huba happy.

"Rules say you have to leave one stool down at night," said co-owner of the Old Union Hotel, Adam Kipp.

The consequences are not something new owners of the Union Hotel want to find out. Part of the legend is specific to the bar. Owners say when they bought the bar, they were told to leave a bar stool down upon closing, or Huba's ghost would break glasses.

McKeveny's journey ended with a film he says captures a piece of history. Bar names may change and shut down, but Huba's Legend will always remain.

Pictures and more stories can be found on the Masty Huba Facebook page.

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