Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Marie's Crisis

Okay, I have lots to catch up on, but I'm going to ignore it for now.

From time to time, I've mentioned going to Marie's Crisis Cafe, a piano bar down in the Village. Sing-along showtunes. Fun stuff.

But I have been asked on more than one occasion, who was Marie and what was her crisis.

Well, here you go.

Back in 1809, Thomas Paine died in a house on the spot that now houses Marie's Crisis (the current building dates back to 1839). You remember Paine, right? Author of Common Sense, The Rights of Man, and the American Crisis papers ('These are the times that try men's souls'). His work was one of the main reasons America split from England.

Fast forward. Marie Dumont starts a bar in the basement of the building. She names it Marie's Crisis Cafe because it's in the building (or rather on the site of the original building) where Paine wrote much of the American Crisis papers.

This goes a long way toward explaining the mirror over the bar that features a decidedly revolutionary theme.

I wonder if Thomas Paine's spirit haunts the place, puzzling over the middle age theater queens who are drunkenly singing showtunes? And I wonder if his ectoplasmic heart swells with pride when they start belting out songs from 1776?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

So THAT's where the name comes from. I always assumed that Marie was a woman with issues. Now I have a sudden urge to pick up some Thomas Paine to be well-versed in the crises the next time I'm at Marie's.
An Avid Reader