Where exactly is this 1913 corner saloon?

Edward Hopper’s simply titled “Corner Saloon,” from 1913, depicts the kind of regular city bar on an ordinary street corner that makes it almost impossible to figure out exactly where it was located.

The smokestacks give a hint: probably by a river.

And a caption from the Metropolitan Museum of Art website states that it’s the same corner Hopper sketched in 1921’s “Night Shadows” (right).

It’s an “actual location in New York . . . It is a downtown street near the riverfront, marked by a simple brick building with a painted sign,” the Met says. But where?

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14 Responses to “Where exactly is this 1913 corner saloon?”

  1. Lady G. Says:

    You know, it kind of looks like it could be the future front of ‘Hanks Saloon,’ But that’s located on a corner in Boerum Hill in Brooklyn. Third ave. and Atlantic.

    http://southbrooklynpost.com/2011/03/free-music-at-hanks-saloon/

  2. Stacy Walsh Rosenstock Says:

    “Corner Saloon” could be based on a location along 1st Avenue around 42nd Street. Those smoke stacks in the distance resemble the old ConEd plant on First Ave, south of 41st Street, that’s since been converted. Of course that entire area has been redeveloped so it might be impossible to know for sure.

  3. Alex Says:

    It could be First Avenue and 14th Street, where the Hot & Crusty currently stands (Google Maps link: http://g.co/maps/b3959). If you stand on the southwest corner and look east, you will see the ConEd plant at 15th and Avenue D. The angle is slightly off since

  4. Alex Says:

    Sorry, previous comment got cut off somehow:

    It could be First Avenue and 14th Street, where the Hot & Crusty currently stands (Google Maps link: http://g.co/maps/b3959). If you stand on the southwest corner and look east, you will see the ConEd plant at 15th and Avenue D. The angle is slightly off since Hopper paints it a bit further to the west but otherwise it would make sense in terms of the distance to the stacks, the size of the sidewalk, and the size of the street. But I don’t know if the ConEd plant dates that far back.

  5. Trixie (@liveshopdie) Says:

    It’s possible that the saloon was in a building that was razed in the 1940’s for the building of Stuyvesant Town–Peter Cooper Village. We lost a pretty good chunk of neighborhood there when they built that.

  6. Lisa Says:

    I’m reading this corner as being acutely-angled, so If you’re suggesting that the smoke stacks are across the river in Brooklyn, the only such blocks near the East River are those that run into Grand Street or St James Place– such as Madison, Henry, or East Broadway.

    Or, perhaps it’s an imaginary place…?

  7. BestBrian Says:

    Several paintings of the same location from different perspectives/lighting? Seems to me the first place to look would be to find out where Hopper was living those years.

  8. Phil Says:

    Sounds like a mystery worth solving!

  9. John Tierney Says:

    Not sure it helps, but Hopper was living at 3 Washington Square North in the 1920 Census.

    Map of location: http://ow.ly/9VWik

    He is on line 59 of this census page:
    http://www.box.com/s/0d37f5439402edf47b31

    While the buildings still on that street do have a similar feel, the window tops do not match and the building corners are squared off. Perhaps a stroll through the surrounding blocks might offer more clues.

    I tried Google Street-viewing westward on Washington Square North, but nothing there matched. I suppose with older buildings in place, this intersection near 131 Waverly Place could be a possibility, if the angle of ‘Corner Saloon’ is looking up 6th Ave:
    http://ow.ly/9VYkL

    • Phil Says:

      You guys should go check out the exploration that was done on Vanishing New York a couple of years ago. It was a 4 part story that begins here: http://vanishingnewyork.blogspot.com/2010/06/finding-nighthawks-part-1.html

    • BabyDave Says:

      Washington Square, eh? I had a theory that I discounted because I couldn’t account for the smokestacks: By the diagonal cut of the entryway, I think it resembles the building at the Southwest corner of Bleecker Street and LaGuardia Place. The site has a long history of drinking establishments. From at least the 1960’s into the 1980’s it was the Village Corner. Don’t know anything earlier than that.
      Still can’t figure the smokestacks, though. They would appear to be pretty much smack-dab in the middle of what is now Soho.

  10. markweiss86 Says:

    Reblogged this on Plastic Alto with Mark Weiss and commented:
    In 2012 alnewyork found a companion print to corner saloon, now having left NY moma for Stanford cantor. Click thru to now inaccurate web of the museum which still thinks it owns the painting. I think the Varsity scene I snagged below turns Palo altans into detached hopperesque figures

  11. CeCe Says:

    As Hopper was living and working in the West Village at 3 Washington Square since 1913, I’m inclined to believe that it was the saloon on the corner of Bleecker and Laguardia, which is still a bar restaurant today. That he called it the Corner Saloon and that it has been a bar since 1904 (and a speakeasy during Prohibition) and that the establishment was called the Village Corner from 1960ish until 1995 seem too coincidental for it not to be the place. That I worked there for 5 years until it closed may have something to do with my conclusion.

  12. ml Says:

    There was a saloon on the corner of 13th street and 6th avenue in the Village along long time ago the outside kind of had a similar look to it

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