#58 - Les Deux Megots

A.H. Blackwell
A.H. Blackwell

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, 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, an Anarchist, had been in the Spanish Civil War. A.H. had a far broader grasp of politics at 16 than most young men do. 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. My views and A.H.’s were somewhat different, and we would argue about 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. 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 the peanut butter but, hey, they were great because they were free. We ate them with our last strong espresso coffee and mourned the closing of an establishment that had become a special focus point in our lives.

Wavy Line

© Sonia Brock 2006

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