August 14, 2010

Post #2623 – 20100814

Mr. Pinkwater –

Do you recall a place of business in Hoboken called “Nelson’s Marine Bar”? I ask because upon a recent re-read of Edward Abbey’s “Desert Solitaire”, I noticed that he wrote the introduction to the book in that place in 1967.

Just curious about this intersection in space and time of two literary behemoths.

Daniel replies:

I remember the name, but I'm unable to remember which bar it was. See, Prohibition was ignored in Hoboken, and as a result River Street was pretty much nothing but bars from one end to the other, patronized by people who came over from New York. There were additional bars on adjacent streets, also on Hudson Street and Hudson Place, and also some on Washington Street, and on street corners scattered throughout the mile-square city. After repeal, Hoboken still held an edge for drunks, as closing time in Manhattan was something like 2:00 AM, and in Hoboken nominally 4:00 AM, so the ferries would be crowded with the still-thirsty. There weren't quite as many bars when I lived there, but still a disproportionate number. If Abbey favored the places that still offered the free lunch, we might have been in the same one at the same time. I liked the place where Charles Dickens, Stephen Foster, and Ernest Hemingway were known to frequent, but not all at once. (Now you've got me remembering: Glass of beer 15 cents, clam broth, pickles, onions, bread, beans, scrag ends of corned beef and pastrami--gratis. For the affluent, a bowl of steamer clams was, I think, 75 cents, buck and a quarter for a pot of them. Throw the shells on the sawdust floor. Yum.)