August 7, 2017

I look up an address of great 19th century importance and am astonished to see that it is one block from where I used to live.

I had no idea. And it looks so nondescript today. I took this screen shot from Google Street View:

pfaff's

And yet, what was important about it was at the basement level, and you had to enter it through that hatchway in the pavement that you can see in my Google grab. That is, it was inconspicuous in its heyday.

(The place is named and Wikipedia-linked at the end of the previous post. I made a new post to highlight this amazing photograph and the strangeness of my proximity to it... half a lifetime ago.)

23 comments:

Ann Althouse said...

This post made me look up the word "heyday," and I learned that "heyday" was originally an interjection. People used to shout "heyday." The oldest recorded appearance of the word, according to the OED, was around 1530, when this was exclaimed (in writing): "Rutty bully Ioly rutterkyn heyda." Imagine getting so excited you'd yell that.

Ann Althouse said...

"To be precise, Pfaff’s (pronounced fafs) was beneath where the shoe store is now. It was an underground saloon in every sense of the word. There’s still a hatchway in the Broadway sidewalk, just as there was in the nineteenth century. It provides entry into the store’s basement, a long, narrow space, lit by electric bulbs and piled high with boxes of shoes. During the 1850s, it was dim, gaslit, and packed with artists. Pfaff’s saloon was the site of an incredibly important cultural movement, the meeting place of America’s first Bohemians."

Martin, Justin. Rebel Souls: Walt Whitman and America's First Bohemians (A Merloyd Lawrence Book) (Kindle Locations 102-106). Da Capo Books. Kindle Edition.

Feste said...

~
Lost confidence. Had to look it up.

Turns out "high-day."

CALIBAN [sings]

No more dams I'll make for fish,
Nor fetch in firing
At requiring,
Nor scrape trencher, nor wash dish .
'Ban, 'ban, Ca-caliban
Has a new master. Get a new man.
Freedom, high-day! High-day, freedom! Freedom,
high-day, freedom!

Sorta:

Other folios - translations? - I think Julie Taymor's version uses "heyday."

The Tempest.

Now I want to know the difference ... a high-day/heyday for some is a low-day on the other side ... since I've looked at life from both sides now ...

tcrosse said...

Hi-Di-Ho

Feste said...

~
... Hi-Di-Ho and Cuban Pete in "The Mask" ... but, “I feel I should warn you that I don't work personally with really sick people” ... not in their heyday, anyway, today ... so, I'm outta here! (maybe I’m lying) ...

David Baker said...

Regarding the signage, "Salad Bar" is worth its weight in gold. And they usually have a taste of everything, from baked beans to Chicken Chow Mein.

But the scene itself seems more reminiscent of Henry Street in Brooklyn (Heights), rather than Broadway.

Etienne said...

Here's what happens when you're half-blind and the phone rings:

Dangerous Grates

"Hmm, your head has an odd shape. I might suggest you are not well rounded..."

"No, No, it was shaped just fine before I fell six feet..."

Feste said...

... she was Tweeting ...

Bad Lieutenant said...


Here's what happens when you're half-blind and the phone rings:

You become like Etienne?

Feste said...

~
ER doctor (in Etienne post) ... “right now the emergency room is filling up with people that are texting, they’re listening to music, because they’re not paying attention anymore, and therefore we’re getting a lot of injuries ... really, things that we’ve never experienced ..”

My wife, PhD Nursing, has the theory that the emergency room doc, George Miller, wrote and directed the whole Mad Max series to show people outside what Miller saw inside ER - and for all these reasons. And more. She holds forth that Miller himself had all the dreams that Max Rockatansky dreamed (Miller's alter ego) - dreams about the people who Miller too could not save in ER. Though some dreams came as flash-visions during Max's waking hours: perhaps Miller having high-empathy as a virtue/vice for ER work?

I've warned Present Mirth not to be an officious intermeddler in the dreams of others. It’s quite enough to be distracted by her in waking-walking hours, not falling down the shafts, wondering whether mates and such gadgets ought come with product liability warnings?

StephenFearby said...

To AA:

The Google Street View photo you provide probably is not correct.

That is because:


"Charles Pfaff's beer cellar was located on Broadway near Bleecker Street (before 1862, Pfaff's address was given as 647 Broadway; after 1865, its location was advertised as 653 Broadway) in Greenwich Village, New York City."

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pfaff%27s_beer_cellar

From the mid to late 1800's and eary 1900's, various streets in Manhattan had changes in either their names or their buildings numbers. Although Pfaff's had two locations after he closed the original Broadway location, the second was further north and on a different street. All this is consistent with a building renumbering.

The modern 653 (AKA 649 - 655) Broadway address has 45 feet of street frontage. The photos from the now or recently occupied retailer Venus by Maria Tesch) certainly depict a much more gracious building for Pfaff's than the modern 647 Broadway location.

http://preview.tinyurl.com/ycxkdm2q

According to various DOB Certificate of Occupancies 653 seems always to have had both a cellar and a subcellar. (DOB clerks make mistakes in filing C of O's in wrong block & lot locations, and there are C of O's belonging to other buildings filed in the 653 bin.)

The 649 - 655 Broadway retail location is now being offered for lease at $19,187 per month!

https://www.agorafy.com/listing/107468/649-655-Broadway-Retail-for-Lease-Ground

Parhaps Venus by Maria Tash isn't willing to cough up a big rent increase.

tcrosse said...

There goes the neighborhood.

Ann Althouse said...

My book says: "TAKE A WALK ALONG Broadway in Manhattan. As you make your way—amid the rushing taxis, pedestrians lost in their smartphones, and other scenes of modern bustle—you might just catch some hints of the distant past. Pause for a moment at 647 Broadway, a few doors north of Bleecker Street. A women’s shoe store is here, assorted boots, sandals, and stiletto heels displayed in the window. It appears to be just another shop along Broadway. But once upon a time, this was the location of the famous Pfaff’s saloon."

Martin, Justin. Rebel Souls: Walt Whitman and America's First Bohemians (A Merloyd Lawrence Book) (Kindle Locations 99-102). Da Capo Books. Kindle Edition.

I went to the address and the shoe store is there, so I think it's right.

Bleecker Street is right there.

The place where I lived was a block to the west, Washington Square Village.

Fred Drinkwater said...

"Heyday" is used as an interjection by Thorpe (in Austen's Northanger Abbey) when he wishes to get Catherine's attention.

Bad Lieutenant said...

Ann, I don't know if you two are talking at cross-purposes, but remember that an address is just a number on a piece of siding. You may remember the Reagans took a house in Bel Air and the street number was 666 and they had it changed to 668? Similarly the grid patterns of the city may have changed for any number of reasons. You're entitled to depend upon your Source but your Source could be mistaken.

Ann Althouse said...

This book is largely about Pfaff's and the paragraph I quote is the first paragraph in the book. If it's wrong, that's terrible.

It's a prominent and excellent book. I don't mind being wrong personally, but I don't want to think the book is wrong.

Bad Lieutenant said...

It's not for the student to be giving the teacher homework but if I have raised any qualms with you I suppose your enquiries to the author would be well received.

RattlerGator said...

It looks as though the location is now numbered 643 Broadway:

https://www.urbandaddy.com/articles/13011/new-york/the-vault-at-pfaffs-vault-line-a-historically-significant-date-spot-in-noho

https://www.urbandaddy.com/articles/13011/new-york/the-vault-at-pfaffs-vault-line-a-historically-significant-date-spot-in-noho?ss=794&slide=1

Your photo seems to be a bit too far to the right; that bar on Google Street View shows the name Sweetwater Social -- correct?

http://www.drinksweetwater.com/

Ann Althouse said...

Why do you think your source is better than mine?

RattlerGator said...

What an odd question. I'm not commenting on sources, I'm offering an opinion. You don't know the real location for certain, I don't know it either, hell -- *they* may not know. But the link I offered addresses Pfaff's and took that name and is local to NYC.

But if you're invested in that photo you took, or that book you read, well and good.

320Busdriver said...

Looks near to McSorleys, been there a few times. Cheap beer for Manhattan, and a cool vibe.

Ralph L said...

Why do bohemians always hang out in basements and garrets? The cheap rent?

Ralph L said...

Why do you think your source is better than mine?

Because his name is Justin.

My grandparent's second house next door was 405 and a half in the 40's, since their first (now mine) was 405 and 407 was my g-gf's. For the last 60 years, the neighbor on the other side has been 405 and my house 409.