The Last Krawl. We find ourselves far up north, around 46th Street, and far out west, on 11th Avenue, on the shores near the Hudson River. On Death Avenue in Hell’s Kitchen. The “far up” and “far out” are according to an 1868 map. Today, this is in a gentrifying Midtown.
Patrick Crowley opened the Landmark Tavern in 1868, on the banks of the Hudson, to serve the longshoremen and workers in the docks and piers. Here, the workers and immigrants would work hard all day and play hard all night. The Landmark was a favorite place to gather at the end of the day.
As so many of the other taverns of the era, the Landmark is a 5-story walkup, with the tavern on the ground floor. The upper floors were initially living quarters for Crowley’s family and renters. Red brick exterior, dark heavy wood interior, more wooden plank flooring and tin tiled ceilings. A long mahogany bar lines a wall, high stools and a foot rail running the length. Today, a handful of patrons sip a pint while discussing the day’s events and the state of the world which includes the Yankees.One thing not missed on this tour is the art the handcraft construction in the 19th century. These builders were more artisans than tradesmen. Their craft is still impressive 150 years later.The Landmark may not be the oldest of the taverns, but it is close. However, the stories that come from the Landmark place this drinking establishment in its own category. To begin, the bar is haunted. Shortly after the Civil War, a veteran got into a knife fight and was stabbed. He crawled (not like we are doing) up to the 2nd floor and died in a bathtub. His spirit is said to still haunt the 2nd floor.A young immigrant girl died in her bed on the 3rd floor. She is said to reside there. Our waiter said he has heard the ghosts and avoids them by not going upstairs.
It doesn’t end there. George Raft was a Hollywood gangster movie star in the 1930’s and 40’s. He grew up in Hell’s Kitchen and frequented the Landmark. He has his own special table in the back room. His ghost is also said to visit. Some say there are strange sounds and a strange feel around his table some nights. Maybe the three of them are having a drink.To stay open during Prohibition, on one of the upper floors, Crowley opened a Speakeasy.
To get to the Landmark, go west on 46th Street to 11th Avenue. You will find the tavern there facing west. It no longer looks across the street to docks and the Hudson River. Landfills have moved the coast line out to 12th Avenue.
Although the view is not the same, the feel, the smell, the taste of the Landmark could just as well be 1868. Halloween is coming, it might be a good place to celebrate.
We have enjoyed our 10 days of historical taverns and we hope you have too. You may want to visit them the next time you are in the neighborhood.
Here are our awards:
- Most Historical: Fraunces
- Best Food: PJ Clarkes
- Coziest: Ear Inn
- Most Character: McSorley’s
- Best Place to spend a beautiful evening outdoors: White Horse
- Most Festive: Julius’
- Most Enthusiast Staff: Old Town
- Best Dressed: Pete’s Tavern
- Most Haunted: Landmark
- Most likely to have a locked door: The Bridge.
Do you have a historical tavern that we missed? Offer it here in the comments if you would like to share.
We want to shout out a special appreciation to our friends who have traveled with us along this krawl, and to everyone who has shared their stories with us.