Posts Tagged ‘The Dom’

Stanley’s: a bohemian 1960s East Village bar

November 15, 2011

For years, the ground-floor of this handsome tenement, on the northwest corner of 12th Street and Avenue B, has been home to a bodega.

But in the early 1960s, it was Stanley’s, “a hip place where Harlem met bohemia,” according to one resident at the time, a hangout for artists, writers, musicians, and other creative types who had begun colonizing the neighborhood real estate folks had just christened the East Village.

A 1965 guide to Greenwich Village had this to say about Stanley’s, as well as the bars that came before it:

“Among its patrons: [Allen] Ginsberg, David Henderson, Calvin Hernton, Tuli Kupferberg, Odetta, Ishmael Reed, Ed Sanders, and actors Lou Gossett, Moses Gunn, and Cicely Tyson,” states The Beat Generation in New York, by Bill Morgan.

Stanley’s was run by Stanley Tolkin, who later opened the Dom on St. Marks Place, a bar-slash-performance space that took heat in the mid to late 1960s for attracting a very uncool crowd.

The hippest hangout in the 1960s East Village

August 24, 2011

You know how everyone always complains that a once-cool bar or club has been ruined because it’s been discovered by bridge-and-tunnel types?

The same gripes were repeated in the mid-1960s about the Dom (above, in 1966, photo by Fred W. McDarrah).

Occupying the former Polish National Home at 19-25 St. Marks Place, it was once the burgeoning East Village’s hippest nightspot—run by Stanley Tolkin, proprieter of Beat hangout Stanley’s bar on Avenue B and 12th Street.

When exactly it opened depends on what book or article you read, but it seems to have hit maximum hipness in the mid-1960s. The Dom apparently wasn’t one space but an upstairs dance club/performance art area plus a downstairs bar/restaurant.

But by the time this grumbling review came out in 1965’s The Inside Guide to Greenwich Village, the place was over, invaded by “another element.”

The Dom disappeared sometime in 1967, when the space became the Balloon Farm, then the Electric Circus, next a community center/rehab facility, and over the years a succession of other short-lived bars and cafes.

A shootout on St. Mark’s Place, 1914

April 24, 2009

Born in 1889 on the Lower East Side, Benjamin “Dopey Benny” Fein was an East Side labor racketeer and extortist. Fein was a powerful guy at the time, but he had a rival: mobster and fellow racketeer Jack Sirocco.

dopeybennyfeinmug

The Lower East Side/East Village area was Jewish gangster territory then. So it was a brazen move when Sirocco rented out 19-25 St. Mark’s Place—a community center called Arlington Hall—for a ball on January 9, 1914. 

Before the ball began, Fein assembled his boys behind doorways near Arlington Hall, planning to rub out Sirocco. Shots were fired, but the only person hit was a bystander and city clerk named Frederick Strauss. Strauss was killed, and Fein was questioned by police (but not charged).

arlingtonhall

After the Arlington Hall shootout, Sirocco’s power intensified while Fein’s grip slipped. He was arrested and sent to prison several times over the years and died in 1962.

That’s about the time when Arlington Hall (pictured above today, in its current incarnation as kind of a minimall) had its resurgence. In the mid-60s, it housed a couple of counterculture clubs: the lower level was The Dom, while the upper floors became the Electric Circus, a popular rock venue that lasted until 1971.