Posts Tagged ‘Bohemians’

Meet the 19th Century Hipster Queen

May 25, 2008

That would be Ada Clare, a writer and actress who came to New York in the 1850s as a single mother espousing free love. One of the few female regulars at Pfaff’s, the 19th century literary “beer cellar” on Broadway near Bleecker, she was known citywide as the “Queen of Bohemia.” 

Witty and attractive, she regularly contributed to literary journals of the day and remained tight with Walt Whitman until she died in 1874, at age 38, after being bitten by a rabid dog.


Manhattan’s first hipster bar

April 11, 2008

Looks like just another Korean deli in an old, broken-down 1800s building near the corner of Bleecker and Broadway. But in 1856, this was the site of Pfaff’s, the city’s first bohemian hangout—a basement bar which attracted writers and actors like Ralph Waldo Emerson and Edwin Booth. From a 1933 New York Times article:

“Thackeray brought the word ‘Bohemianism’ into the English Language and then an organized group, with Walt Whitman as kind of an associate member, set up headquarters in Pfaff’s beer cellar.”