City Spotlight:: Raise a Glass to Literary Greenwich Village
Over the years the bar has attracted a number of writers and artists and in turn has inspired multiple creative endeavors. cummings wrote a poem about the bar in 1923, entitled "I was sitting in mcsorley's," describing the establishment as "snug and evil." Twelve years earlier, painter John French Sloan also felt the McSorley inspiration and painted the famous "McSorley's Bar." He returned in 1928 to paint "McSorley's at Home" and "McSorley's Cats,"Today the bar remains unchanged with memorabilia over a century old decorating its walls. Wishbones hang from the chandelier, supposedly remnants of World War I soldiers' final meals in the States before shipping out, Houdini's handcuffs are linked to the bar rail and Abraham Lincoln's chair from his 1860 visit sits proudly behind the bar. Every inch of McSorley's is a monument to Old New York, with occasional nods to the litearry greats that drank there.
Wherever one turns in the Village, literary history is present, quietly nestled on the walls of Minetta Tavern or boisterously proclaimed over every inch of a tourist-laden McSorley's. Regardless of physical commemorations, the ideas generated in these bars continue to thrive. They inspire us to write our own masterpieces. They give us the liquid courage to share new and untried ideas. Or, more simply, they allow us to appreciate fellow word-lovers, driving us to congregate in a cozy tavern corner, order a pint and appreciate the beauty of the written word.