Romany Marie’s bohemian cafes in the Village

If you were a struggling artist in the early 1900s, Romany Marie (left) was your ally.

Born in Moldavia, the former anarchist came to Greenwich Village in the early 1900s, when the neighborhood was gathering steam as a hotbed of radical politics and artistic creativity.

For the next several decades she ran a series of dimly lit tea rooms and taverns offering gypsy music, cheap eats, and a salon-like vibe where ideas flowed freely.

Oh, and she sometimes fed artists for free when they couldn’t afford a meal. No wonder she attracted such a devoted following of Village bohemians.

John Sloan’s famous sketch, “Romany Marye’s in Christopher Street, 1922” (above) was drawn at her 20 Christopher Street restaurant.

Poet Edna St. Vincent Millay wrote her famous “my candle burns at both ends” line there.

Romany Marie also ran establishments at 15 Minetta Street, 49 Grove Street, and 64 Washington Square South at Thompson Street.

She died in 1961, when the Village still had its bohemian rep but was a very different place.

The Village Voice blog Runnin’ Scared reran her obituary here.

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One Response to “Romany Marie’s bohemian cafes in the Village”

  1. An “almost accurate” map of the Village in 1925 | Ephemeral New York Says:

    […] Romany Marie’s, the (Bruno’s) Garret, and the Crumperie on Washington Place are in history’s dustbin. So is the speakeasy Club Fronton and the Sixth Avenue El, memorialized by John Sloan and e.e. cummings. […]

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