During Prohibition, 32,000 speakeasies were operating in New York City, twice the number of legal saloons that existed in 1920.
Cousins Jack Kriendler and Charles E. Berns ran one of them: a little basement space called the Red Head, opened in 1923 off Fourth Street in Greenwich Village, then under the dark and grimy Sixth Avenue El.
“Called the Fronton, it was now a real speakeasy, complete with live music and huge tables.”
Club Fronton had a Spanish theme and catered to artists and writers, such as Edna St. Vincent Millay (below) and Dorothy Parker (above), plus nightlife-loving politicians like Mayor Jimmy Walker.
Kriendler and Berns moved to midtown this time. In 1928, they set up a speakeasy at 21 West 52nd Street. The 21 Club was an instant success—and 80 years after Prohibition, still packs them in.
[Above photo: 88 Washington Place today, a condominium residence]
Tags: 12 Club, 88 Washington Place, Club Fronton, Dorothy Parker, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Fronton speakeasy, Greenwich Village in the 1920s, New York in the 1920s, Prohibition New York City, Red Head speakeasy, sixth avenue el, speakeasies in Greenwich Village