The loneliness of a New York all-night cafe

Lamb, beef, and eggs are on the menu board on the sidewalk. Inside, the room is lit up, and people appear to be sitting together, or at least in close proximity to one another.

But this lone figure standing on the snowy sidewalk outside an all-night cafe in New York circa 1900 isn’t part of it. He’s an emblem of the 24-hour, modernized city, a New York with more than three million residents divided and isolated.

Maybe he can’t afford to go in; perhaps it’s not his class or crowd. Painter Everett Shinn, a member of the Ashcan School — artists who focused on the grittier side of urban life — isn’t letting us read the man’s face for clues.

Shinn had a studio on Waverly Place. Could the current occupant of this cafe be Joe Coffee at 141 Waverly?

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7 Responses to “The loneliness of a New York all-night cafe”

  1. Penelope Bianchi Says:

    It is so sad. I am on my way to the City next week. I can’t wait! I always remember the very sad parts every time I am there! This time; I am thrilled to be able to see Pale Male and his 8th mate (27 years!!) have 3 baby hawks in their nest above Central Park on that fancy building!
    They are really called eyasses!

    Yay Pale Male!

  2. Penelope Bianchi Says:


    • ephemeralnewyork Says:

      Thanks Penelope—I hope you’re lucky enough to see our urban hawks!

      • Penelope Bianchi Says:

        I am making a point! I met the photographer who has been photographing him for 26 years at least! Lincoln Karim! How lucky you are to have him again….3 babies!

  3. Tom B Says:

    Could this painting been the inspiration for Edward Hopper’s NIGHTHAWKS painting?

  4. The fantasy of window shopping in New York City | Ephemeral New York Says:

    […] Ashcan artist Everett Shinn painted this woman seemingly spellbound by the stylish mannequins behind a department store window, […]

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