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Larry's Beer Garden: 1934

Larry's Beer Garden: 1934

April 20, 1934. "New York. Fulton Market pier, view to Manhattan over East River." 4x5 inch nitrate negative by Gottscho-Schleisner. View full size.


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South and Fulton.

This is taken on Pier 17, where Fulton Street ends at South Street along the East River. The corner building is at the end of Schermerhorn Row (1810). It was featured in Joseph Mitchell's "Up in the Old Hotel." To the left (slightly darker) was Sloppy Louie's. Just to the right was the Fulton Fish Market, and a few blocks farther, the Brooklyn Bridge.

Grand Banks

The schooner appears to be a Grand Banks fishing boat, the dorys would be lowered over the side and set adrift with a fisherman aboard. Hopefully when the boat was full of fish the schooner would come back and find the fisherman.

Gloucester Schooner

Has no one recognized the classic lines of the fishing schooner alongside the pier at bottom left? Visible are 2 nested dories on the starboard side, the tackles used to launch them immediately forward and aft, respectively, of the shrouds of the masts, the curved molding at the rail that marks the "great beam" where the deck stepped up to provide more room in the officers' cabin, and what's even more unusual, a power "donkey" winch in the little house amidships alongside the dories. This winch would have been powered by a gas or diesel engine. The ship might or might not have had a main propulsion engine; if she had it, it would have been used only in calms or to get in or out of harbor.

Most of these schooners were built in Essex, Mass, by a handful of specialist yards, one of which was still in business when I visited the town in the 1970's. Almost all were homeported in Gloucester, Mass, and I wasn't aware they routinely traded into New York.

Their main catch was cod, which was cleaned and salted on board. Some halibut and a few other species were also caught. The fishermen used longlines -- lines more than 1000 feet long with hundreds of hooks that all had to be baited separately -- that were set and recovered from the small dories shown, with one or two men to a dory, while the captain and cook managed the ship. This was one of the toughest ways of fishing, as it went on even in winter. The schooners were of highly refined design because the first back to port got a premium price for its catch, and very seaworthy because of the extreme northern fishing grounds off Newfoundland. (There were also a large number of similar schooners under the Canadian flag, most sailing out of Nova Scotian ports such as Lunenberg). In the 1920's and 30's, many replicas of them were built on a smaller scale for use as yachts. I spent a week on one of these replicas in 1969 so I can testify first hand to their superb sailing and seaworthy qualities.

Primo location

Larry's must've done a booming business with longshoremen coming in every day after work. I wish there was a tavern in the lobby of my office building, but then I'd probably never go home.

On the Waterfront

"I coulda been a contender ... now I'm just a bum who gets blotto every night at Larry's Beer Garden." I knew guys like this, they worked very hard and had hearts of gold, would give the shirts off their backs, not at all the thugs fiction would have you believe, at least not the ones from the mid-20th century. Today's longshoremen might be a different story as I am out of the loop. A wonderful photo.

Strong man

I don't believe I would want to tangle with the guy on the boat. Look at those thick wrists and forearms, likely from years of hard work.


"Larry's," like Duffy's Tavern, would be where "the elite meet" to share tales of the sea and Wall Street wizardry over a stein of beer. Seems logical, just a step away from the docks and near the City canyons. Great photo.

South Street

Any idea of where that Manhattan neighborhood was? The buildings along the waterfront look like South Street, near Fulton or Peck Slip. I'll bet you could buy a cold Rhinegold, Trommer's, Ruppert, Schaeffer, Rupson & Horman, or even a Ballantine at Larry's.

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