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NYC - West Village: Chumley's | by wallyg
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NYC - West Village: Chumley's

Despite never having any exterior signage, Chumley's never seems to lack for patronage. Chumley's is accessed via a small passageway leading from Barrow Street called Pamela Court.


Chumley's building dates to the 1830s and was originally a blacksmithery. According to legend, in the pre-Civil War era it was a stop where escaped slaves could find a haven. At length it became a gathering place for leftist radicals. By 1922, Leland Chumley had established a speakeasy/gambling den in the old building, hence the lack of an entrance marking.


During and after Prohibition Chumley's became one of NYC's many literary hangouts serving drinks a who's who in 20th century literature including notables such a s John Steinbeck, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Eugene O'Neill, William Faulkner, James Thurber, Anais Nin, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Ernest Hemingway, Norman Mailer and Allen Ginsberg. Original dust jackets and portraits still line the walls. According to legend the term "86 it" for "kill it" or "forget about it" comes from a warning the cops would give, phoning ahead to Chumley to let him know they were on the way and customers should "86" out the exit.

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Taken on January 27, 2007