Friday, June 20, 2008

The Wise Men of Figaro -- No More







Less then one month after the shuttering of the landmark Minetta Tavern, Cafe Figaro closed this week. Located on the eight block long stretch of MacDougal Street, these two restaurants were practically the last of a dying breed (Cafe Reggio and Montes are all that remain of the old 40/50s/60s guard on MacDougal). And what's replacing Figaro? A BANK. Not a bad thing, actually! Here's more info on this formerly great corner of Bleecker and MacDougal, from the NY Songlines website:
Figaro -- Closed: 98: Resurrected as a cafe after spending a time in purgatory as a Blimpie's. At some point it was The Hep Bagel. Al Pacino hangs with Penelope Ann Miller here in Carlito's Way. (Was also an important folk music site in the 60s).
93 (corner): Most notable as the former site of the San Remo, famous bohemian hangout of William Burroughs, Allen Ginsberg, Miles Davis, Jackson Pollock, W.H. Auden, Dylan Thomas, James Baldwin, William Styron, James Agee, Frank O'Hara, photographer Weegee, etc. Appears as The Masque in Kerouac's The Subterraneans. Dawn Powell in The Golden Spur cited it as one of the four bars that defined the boundaries of New York.
Ciao! Vineria con Cucina: 100 (corner): Replaced Cafe Borgia when its owners retired after 60 years. In a beaux arts tenement that went up in 1904.
Caffe Del Marre Corner (89 Macdougal): Formerly Mac Dougal's Cafe, before that a funeral parlor.




18 comments:

claude said...

Hello ! I am Alex's aunt.
I see your beautiful photo of World Trade Center in the night.
Whan I go to America I go to Utah and specially to Salt lake City. I try to know New-Yorh through some blogs

ken mac said...

Thanks Alex's aunt! We look forward to seeing you in NYC!

Marie-Noyale said...

That's funny,we were looking for a restaurant last night,and were surprised to see this one closed!
Ended up at Barolo on the other side!!! in the garden.
Nice little bit of history.
Have a god WE

Dina said...

Hello , you got me into a curious circle now, even more because my father was brought up in Valletta as well. Do you know if your father had a nickname and what's his surname?

Hilda said...

I love the photo of the wise men of Figaro? It's handpainted on the brick?

They're demolishing the structure again? I guess some buildings are just not historical enough for the folks at city hall. And I can understand why someone would like to start from scratch. The house we live in was built in the mid-60s, and I'd love to be able to change all the water pipes and electrical wiring!

ken mac said...

Building stays up, a new joint moves in!

babooshka said...

I the Uk it's he opposite. Banks, close and become wine bars! Wierd.
Good to see a blog that show it how it is.

• Eliane • said...

Oh non!!! I loved this place.
Banks are taking over the city... and not adding much character to it.

Tim Ranney said...

Wow. Between you and Jeremiah, I've had to increase my anti-depressants. But I'm glad you're both - everybody - is doing something to document our disappearing history. It's mind-boggling. Thank you.
Tim

Deb said...

Oh no! This place was a landmark for me!

ken mac said...

another one bites the dust...stay tuned for more absence of memory!

Anonymous said...

Too bad about Figaro's. It was the center of the world one time. I feel sorry for all you kids who missed out on the 60's. That scene is gone and nothing like it's ever coming back.

Denny K

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