Les Deux Megots on New York City's
Lower East Side in the 60s
I remember Les Deux Megots in New York city on the Lower East Side,
sort of halfway to Greenwich Village. We used to go there in the evenings
and drink strong, strong expresso coffee while sitting at a little four
chair table - talking and talking and talking.
We were not poets. We were aware of the poets but they were in a different,
parallel universe, you might say, and we were in our own. What we talked
about was Astrology. My friend, A.H.
Blackwell later went on to become an eminent professional astrologer.
The others? Well, they came and went. Mainly it was A.H. And me.
We talked politics as well, radical politics, because A.H.'s father
had been in the Spanish Civil War. He was an Anarchist. A.H. had a far
broader grasp of politics at 16 than most young men. We thought then
that we had the solutions to all the world's problems. Most young people
in the 1960s thought that they had a handle on the world's problems.
Our views were somewhat different and we would argue the differences.
Whether a collective society could be run without elected leaders and
stuff like that.
There was a very special, dare I say 'peculiar', energy to Les Deux
Megots. I've learned since that it had had a very dynamic proprietor
in its heyday. We were there at the nadir when it was not quite ready
to close but getting there. This little cafe was an important place
in our lives. Other places were not like it. We felt energized while
we were there. We felt things were possible. We felt 'importance'. What
we said and what we did were somehow, in that context, important. There
was some sustaining force at the place that brought ideas to life.
We were there at the end, the last night Les Deux Megots was open.
The manager offered us free pastries because, hey, they weren't going
anyplace since the place was closing. The pastries were a little bit
stale. I remember the taste of peanut butter but, hey, they were great
because they were free. We ate them with our last strong coffees and
mourned the closing of an establishment that had become a special focus
point in our lives.
© Sonia Brock 2006