Sometimes, my memory is jumbled and I can't recall what was where and when. For years, when I've passed St. Marks Place and 1st Ave, I've looked for a bronze plaque that marked the home of W.H. Auden. I remember it being there, and then I remember it not being there.
But recently I noticed an Auden plaque on the facade of La Palapa restaurant. It's smaller than I recall and it's not bronze. What happened here? Maybe I'm remembering it wrong, but I figure that probably what happened was that the original plaque was on the exterior of #77 and then the first floor was gutted and extended into the sidewalk, and now houses La Palapa, where a new, more Palapa-styled plaque was installed. (The owner enjoys Auden.)
This reminds me of something that's happening one block south, on 7th St. As EV Grieve noted, a tenement's first floor has been gutted and extended into some kind of tumorous growth. I figured the landlord was doing some Mutt-and-Jeff job, adding on a weird room so they could get more rent, but now I suspect this is going to be yet another bar and restaurant.
At the Department of Buildings there was a Stop Work Order on this address and they've received a dozen complaints about ongoing construction--mostly, it seems, from a beleaguered resident. Recently, after a long lull, they received a big shipment of cinderblocks and cement.
I predict we will see this one day rented to a loud bar and restaurant with open seating out front, that the Community Board will deny their liquor license, but they'll keep fighting and eventually win, and that this street will get another nuisance. Calling 311, the CB, whatever--nothing deters.
*Update: Nope, it became the Tokio 7 consignment shop.
Auden didn't live at this address and neither did any other famous poet, as far as I know, but it's still worth preserving this little bit of peace. As Auden said soon before his death, "I adore New York, as it is the only city in which I can live and work quietly.''