Re-creation of old-time subway kiosk entrance

In our last thrilling episode, we had just hiked three long crosstown blocks over to 59th and Lexington Avenue to catch the southbound local down to Astor Place. This gave Steven the chance to experience NYC rush hour in all its subterranean glory.

When we finally arrived, I took the time to check out the subway station I had been to zillions of times. They’ve changed a lot of the signs and even the look of the street entrance, but luckily they left a few things the same. Only Cooper Union’s historic building is left, though, since the others weren’t historical landmarks.

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After a very brief walk, we arrived at McSorley’s, where we found that once again my friends Mark and Randy had arranged a special surprise guest: Bruce, another denizen of the infamous “Section 4”. Even though it was Happy Hour on a Friday night, we managed to find a table…one of “our” old favorite tables from back in the day, too! McSorley’s hasn’t really changed much in 45 years, except that two beers (they always come in pairs) are now significantly more than 70 cents. But they still have their magic power of barely affecting me (even after drinking four of them). And it’s still the only place I’ve ever eaten liverwurst. And it was great seeing my old buddies again!

After a brief photo session, I made a pilgrimage to the site of the late lamented Fillmore East. We also sadly passed a memorial site for some late lamented people that were killed in the recent gas explosion. But then we were able to cheer up a bit, because I found out that Gem Spa was still open and serving egg creams!

P.S. It’s pretty cool that Gem Spa has its own Wikipedia page, but NFW did they “invent the egg cream”, or that “only 4 people know the recipe”. I was making them myself for customers in 1960!

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As we drank our egg creams, we checked out the cool mosaic pole on the corner. Then it was time to walk slowly back to the subway via St. Mark’s Place and do some exploration and street photography. Unfortunately the famous Cube is in storage at present, but we happened onto a different art project instead: funky pianos!

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Then we headed back to Flushing and what would be a much more restful Saturday.

Bonus: here’s a photo I took of the cube in 1970:

The Cube
The Cube

2 thoughts on “McSorley’s and the East Village

  1. Really liked the way it was done. Thought I’d remember some of the sights but I guess too long ago.

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