Chumley’s Toughs it out

Wednesday night, my fiancè, Jim, and I decided it would be a good time to head over to Chumley’s. We live literally 2 doors down and thought it would be fun to taste a beer and maybe get some photos. As it turned out, they were doing some pretty massive renovations, the place was pretty packed and the lighting was so dark that none of my video footage turned out.
I was doubly disappointed when I went home last night and our whole street was blocked off. A cop didn’t want to let me in to my apartment, but eventually he did. Not long after, we found out that a wall in Chumley’s had collapsed! Ironic, huh?
Chumley’s, for any non-New Yorkers, is a former Speakeasy that still exists… well did exist, in pretty much it’s original condition. Built in the ’20s, Chumley’s is rumored to be the origin of the “86 it” expression. They’re located at 86 Bedford Street, and I’ve heard several theories about how “86” came to mean what it does today. The place is full of trap doors and secret entrances. Chumley’s is also famous for being a hangout for such authors as Willa Cather, E.E. Cummings, Theodore Dreiser, William Faulkner, Ring Lardner, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Eugene O’Neill, John Dos Passos, and John Steinbeck. Their works, as you can see from photos, line the walls at Chumley’s.
Check out the story in the New York Times, or check out some cool photos from Forgotten New York here (scroll down a bit). I also found this kind of funny article on Curbed titled “Chumley’s Updated: Safe ‘Til 2086”. Hahaha… safe. Anyway, the article is interesting in itself when you look at how much they want for a building that’s completely falling apart. These few buildings that are connected to Chumley’s have been plagued with bad luck

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