Thursday, April 15, 2010

Mayflower Coffee Shop(pe)

I found a wonderful book at a library sale yesterday: Harold H. Hart’s Hart’s Guide to New York City (New York: Hart Publishing, 1964): “Over 2,200 personally investigated reports. Restaurants, Hotels, Nightclubs, Museums, Cocktail Lounges, Sports, Shopping, Transportation, Art Galleries, Tours, etc.”

With Hart in hand, I thought of lines from Frank O’Hara’s poem “Music” (Lunch Poems, 1964):

If I rest for a moment near The Equestrian
pausing for a liver sausage sandwich in the
    Mayflower Shoppe,
that angel seems to be leading the horse into
    Bergdorf’s
This bit of urban surrealism comes into focus (still surreal) when one knows a little of Manhattan. “The Equestrian” is Augustus Saint-Gaudens’s statue of William Tecumseh Sherman, found in Manhattan’s Grand Army Plaza (at 59th Street and Fifth Avenue). The “angel” is the allegorical gal leading Sherman on his way. Bergdorf Goodman is to be found — in the words of the company website — at “the crossroads of fashion,” Fifth Avenue and 58th Street. All that, I know. As for the Mayflower Shoppe:



Thank you, Mr. Hart.

The Mayflower stood at 777 Fifth Avenue. The Apple Store now stands at 767, next to an empty corner. More from Hart’s Guide to come.

More on the Mayflower
The Mayflower motto (“The Optimist’s Creed”)
A menu page (Alas, no food)

Also from Harold Hart’s Guide
Chock full o’Nuts
Greenwich Village and coffee house
Minetta Tavern, Monkey Bar
Record stores
Schrafft’s

comments: 13

Unknown said...

Wow, thanks! Not a New Yorker myself, but a huge O'Hara fan! Thanks for answering this question for me!

Michael Leddy said...

You’re welcome, Karl.

Trish said...

Thanks! That's the piece I was missing too!

Michael Leddy said...

You’re welcome!

FFP said...

May I please add my thanks to this list -- though I am many years down the road. My wife and I live in Austin, but we have made many trips to Manhattan (in the "before the plague time") and I knew that O'Hara was referencing the Sherman statue. But I had no idea where the Mayflower Shoppe was. I'll bet O'Hara would have gotten a chuckle out of knowing that the Apple Store is now in that location. Cheers.

Michael Leddy said...

Thanks for writing, FFP. The message-in-a-bottle effect is one of the things I most like about writing this kind of post. Let’s look to better days and the chance to get back to New York.

FFP said...

Just looked at your profile. My goodness, I love your taste in movies, music and books.

--- Forrest Preece

FFP said...


Many years, we come to NYC for Bloomsday (June 16). Colum McCann holds a terrific event in the Wall Street neighborhood on Pearl Street. We had the arrangements made to be there this year, but so much for that idea. I hope that by 2022 it will be safe to fly and maybe we can celebrate the genius of James Joyce once more. Cheers.

--Forrest Preece

Michael Leddy said...

Forrest, you must be a person with excellent taste yourself then. :)

I remember the annual reading at Shakespeare & Co. Second floor and, if I’m remembering it right, no air conditioning.

FFP said...

The only Bloomsday celebration outside NYC we've attended was in Dublin in 2016, which, as you can imagine, was pretty much all over their central core. We have been to a literary event at Shakespeare & Co. -- many years ago when we were in Paris for about a week. Yeah, it was pretty primitive, but it was on a cool night.

Michael Leddy said...

I just thought to look at my Blogger profile and saw that Joyce is (or, now, was) missing. Not sure how that happened.

FFP said...

Hah-- I just figured you had gone over the character limit.

Michael Leddy said...

There used to be one with profiles, I’m pretty sure.