Friday, February 5, 2010

Checking with Chumley's

Now and then, it's necessary to check in with poor old Chumley's.

Back in September, Eater reported they were applying for a liquor license. Before that, in March of 2009, a reader sent in this photo of the dormers being raised on the roof:



Things really seemed to be on track since the collapse in 2007 and the wreckage revealed in 2008:


photo by kikimonkey

So recently I made the mistake of sticking my lens in between the construction fencing. Here's the awful truth:

15 comments:

EV Grieve said...

Fuck.

Baroness V.O. said...

The pain, the pain. I am crushed.

John said...

What can possibly be taking so long? Really, it makes no sense at all. Is this guy wasting the money on blow?

I've been interning at Brooklyn College archives and came across an issue of The Villager Circa mid-80's. Great article on Chumley's and a birthday being held there for the bar itself. Joseph Mitchell was in attendance.

The whole thing made me sad.

Goggla said...

Dammit. Time for the wake...

Anonymous said...

seriously, seriously, it makes me so sick to my stomach. I've gone there for 20 years. It was a bigger part of me then my mother! My heart is ripped from end to end -

kevxu said...

I left Manhattan in Jan. 2000 after first arriving in 1959. But I often think of the city, though of course not the city of the 90's and beyond, but rather the city I lived in, which is largely vanished.

I hadn't known that Chumley's had suffered a disaster. It was one of the first places I was shown in the city...perhaps my fondest memories of it are of several quiet holiday dinners there with a friend. Very sad...it was a remnant of the Village before it got all cutsie and expensive. A shame.

Anonymous said...

It's actually the Landlord that is dragging her feet.. She is well known in the city and lets just say that she caused this problem to begin with to get rid of all the rent stabilized people out of the building so she can redo them the and either sell them or make the apartments into lux building. (she pulled the same stunt on a building that she owns on the Eastside). Chumley's is just a victim.. But she wants Steve the owner out also.. But Steve has a 99 year lease with the old owner of the building that she must honor.. She she is taking her sweet time not to metion she is also hit with stop work orders by the city almost every day.. She is bad news...

Anonymous said...

This definitely causes me pain. All these historic sites are disappearing. I used to go there in the late 60's when I was a teenager and dance by the jukebox as i usually did in those days no matter where i was especially if dancing was not permitted. i went with my boyfriend and our friend who discovered Chumley's went he studied at NYU. This brings up total nostalgia...the west village is defined for me by Chumley's..whenever i am there i always check out Chumley's walking past the street, taking in the narrowest house in the block and the history of this incredible place in the village...i remember in the mid-sixties the bar with the low lights...the wooden tables carved with people's initials...the red checkered tablecloths..we always entered through the courtyard..it was mysterious, dramatic and romantic..was thrilled to hear it was a former speakeasy..& the old original book covers framed along the wall on the opposite side of the bar .. the dim low lights of the bar and the handsome well-informed actors who were waitstaff & bartenders..those were the days they cared about giving customers information and doing an excellent job..i will do what i can do to stop the destruction of Chumley's..however, all this is specualation and have known they were closed, and seen the scaffolding and was totally dismayed. everyone needs to be involved to preserve the integrity and history of NY so that historic sites are preserved and that NY turns into a mall.

Anonymous said...

in '51 left for korea...the war...wrote on wall in men;s room ( with a latch to close it) i ' be back...year 1/2 later i was...little shaky, slightly wounded. now in my 78 th year..i am srill back, most of my pals are gone..and a dear place is also slipping away..and if restored ...does it matter...gone with beatrice, o henrt's, peter's backyard et al

Anonymous said...

I, too, had no idea of any of the troubles besetting the property and Chumley's. What a shame! Among the first places I was introduced to in NYC, primarily for affordability, secondarily for its history and ambience. when I first moved there in 1968. Climbing the socio-economic ladder over the years, visits to Chumley's became rarer and then I moved away in 1994 to New Orleans, no slouch for atmosphere itself.
I sign off with the name of the dish that hooked me to begin with, long since absent from the menu: BEEF AND INDONESIAN RICE: a poached egg in the middle of the mound of essentially beef fried rice.

Joseph said...

Chumley's:
I was first introduced to Chumley's in 1965 while still in college. The atmosphere was great as was the jukebox. I loved their peanut sauce which I would get as a side with their hamburgers. Yes, I use to get the indonesian rice with the egg on top but the hamburgers with my mainstay. I moved out west about 20 years ago and haven't been back since. A friend of mine is going to visit NYC next week and asked me if I could recommend some places to visit. Luckily I checked the web first or I would have sent him to a Chumley's that doesn't exist anymore. Sorry to hear of its problems. Hope it rises again from the ashes. Great memories of coming in from the cold to a crowded bar that buzzed with activity. Good luck Chumley's!

hartford said...

just read about this. not happy, but @least i see we have some older posters here! people w/some maturity & a broader perspective. i was tired of hearing "90s 90s 90s" (punk rock, junkies, sleeze, all that nonsense). nice to hear about the mid sixties. i dont remember going to chumleys, but it was mentioned by people in the literary circles. i wonder where do the authors go now?

Anonymous said...

Hi there....any updates on Chumley's now that it's been nearly 2 years since your original story? Thanks so much for keep us fans in the loop!

Jeremiah Moss said...

well, it is looking much more built these days, but we hear they're turning it into a sports pub.

Anonymous said...

NO F/ING WAY! Not a Sports Bar!!!!

One of the owners in the 1980's was our tenant and we went there often and loved it. It was along the lines of landmarks that have disappeared like the little farm house that stood fenced in at Charles Street and Greenwich Street and the Stable on West(?) Street, that was kind of an after school for the neighborhood and the Irish gang kids, in the 1960's, and, of course, earlier.

I moved out in the mid-1980's after moving to the West Village in the early 1960's as a young child. To be honest, I'm almost afraid to go back and look around now. I've seen what they did to the house I grew up in....

I have to say, though, The Waverly looked good a couple of years ago.

But how could Chumley's become a Sports Bar? Isn't that an oximoron? Is the White Horse Tavern still open? What is the Preservation Society up to these days?