When this picture was taken in 1940, the White Horse Tavern was just another corner bar on the far West Side, catering to longshoreman working the piers and workers from the Nabisco plant on Bethune Street, among other factories that used to anchor the neighborhood.
In the 1950s the White Horse earned its bohemian cred, with Jack Kerouac, James Baldwin, and other writers holding court—and Dylan Thomas spending his final drunken night there, as the story goes.
But tensions with neighborhood regulars existed. In New York in the 50s, author Dan Wakefield writes:
“The hostility toward all nonconformists was heightened during the McCarthy fervor of the fifties, when mostly Irish kids from the surrounding area made raids on the Horse, swinging fists and chairs, calling the regulars ‘commies and faggots.’”
The White Horse today. The building and corner look almost exactly the same, now beckoning tourists, frat boys, and neighborhood folks to come in for a drink.
The loveliest windows on Hudson Street