26 September 2012

My Time Machine: The Peacock Caffe'









The Peacock Caffe, NYC, 1958,  Nick DeWolf photographs used with permission

Esquire's post Saturday featured a photograph taken at The Peacock Caffe' (1946-2000) in Greenwich Village. A reader commented that the owner kept that same Esquire photo at the cash register.  I did some research and discover the Peacock closed in 2000. 

I don't know what I'm looking for, but I know why I came.  I hope to connect to a place. To these people in the photographs.  Usually, what was, is now; TD bank, Starbucks, Duane Reade. You wish the walls could talk.  But just to see the place is amazing.  I'm in the greatest city in the world with every sort of museum, store, restaurant, park, you name it....but I go to places that aren't there anymore.

I stand at 24 Greenwich Street.  Where these people stood 54 years ago.  To join them or, at least be close to them, and to know they were here. NYC movie locations are about famous people pretending.  The Peacock, that night back in 1958, was about ordinary people living.




10 comments:

M.Lane said...

Just superb. I like to go to NYC addresses of the places I wish I had been to back then for the same reason.

ML
mlanesepic.blogspot.com

Anonymous said...

De Wolf sneaks hip-level shots of patrons with a 2-1/4 Rolleiflex, and there's your time machine.

The shot with the guy lighting his cigarette while his companion chats with her hand on her hip is just excellent.

A cafe could never get away with that decor today. Or could it? Point is, all that Baroque stuff is so uncool it's cool.

But the storefront current occupant, an eye opener. By way of stating the obvious, check out all those government warnings posted at the entrance. Signs of the times. Next warning poster: super-sized drinks.

-DB

Anonymous said...

Those pics taken in 1958 are great but guess what? The place never changed. The same chairs, decor, espresso machine! The food was pretty good too. I particularly remember the Tortellini in Broda. Ahh, memories. Thanks.

ELS said...

"I don't know what I'm looking for, but I know why I came."
Wish I'd said that, story of my life. Fab post, a boy after my own uber-nostalgic heart. Oh, and Under The Volcano - one of the best books ever.
ELS

Anonymous said...

Gorgeous Pics.

It's the same story everywhere. The old cafes and bars are shuttered and become banks and drug stores. The minute the floor starts creaking in a brownstone a developer buys it, tears it down, builds condos that are modern and ugly. Everyone complains.

It seems the only lesson we learn is that we never learn our lesson.

Alice Olive said...

I love these images. He's chosen some great angles.

Stephen B said...


Check out the new Exhibit at the Fashion Institute of Technology in NYC. Supposed to be quite extensive.

RulingPart said...

Not a New Yorker, so I'd never heard of the place. I thought those pictures were artsy modern day shots. I knew something was up by #3, was fairly certain by #4, and confirmed it with #5. That just doesn't exist anymore. What a pity.

Beautiful.

Akua Lezli Hope said...

I LOVED the Peacock Caffe and frequented it from about 1978-1996 but in the fifties it was in another location.

tintin said...

Akua- Sorry about that but you are right. These pics were taken at 149 W 4th St when the Peacock was a branch of another coffee house at 158 W 58th which is now a bar. See this link and accept my apologies http://new-york-city.yodelout.com/greenwich-village/