Sunday, October 05, 2008

Bohemian Rhapsody

The Times has a nice little backgrounder on Brooklyn Heights, even though it fails to mention it's the secret location of Burro Hall Norte.

Starting in the first decade of the 20th century the neighborhood also became the world headquarters of the Jehovah’s Witnesses. They bought numerous properties in the Heights in addition to the Squibb building, including the lavish Hotel Bossert at Montague and Hicks Streets; the Venetian-looking Leverich Towers at Clark and Willow Streets; and the Standish Arms (at 169 Columbia Heights), fictional home of Clark Kent (in Metropolis) and the setting for Willy Loman’s adulterous affair in Arthur Miller’s “Death of a Salesman.” (Miller lived in several places in the Heights, including 31 Grace Court, which he sold to W. E. B. Du Bois, and 155 Willow Street, with his second wife, Marilyn Monroe.) ...

The last block of Middagh Street was also razed, including No. 7, a house where W. H. Auden, Carson McCullers, Benjamin Britten, Paul and Jane Bowles and Gypsy Rose Lee lived together in various combinations in 1940-41. Among their guests were Salvador and Gala Dalí, Lotte Lenya, Aaron Copland and Leonard Bernstein. They mingled with rough characters from down on the waterfront, including a pimp named Snaggle-Tooth and a barrelhouse piano player called Ginger-Ale. When the group moved out, the novelist Richard Wright moved in.

Other writers associated with the Heights include Walt Whitman, Hart Crane, the novelist James Purdy and horror writer H. P. Lovecraft, who described 169 Clinton Street, where he had an apartment in the 1920s, as “unwholesome” and “furtive.”...

...Bertram D. Wolfe, a founder of the Communist Party of the United States of America, lived at 68 Montague Street in the 1930s. High up in No. 62, the painter and underground filmmaker Marie Menken and her husband, the poet Willard Maas, gave notoriously wild parties attended by Andy Warhol and Edward Albee. Kenneth Anger stayed there while making his seminal underground film “Scorpio Rising.” Menken played the mother in Warhol and Paul Morrissey’s 1966 film “Chelsea Girls.” Albee is said to have used Menken and Maas as his inspirations for the squabbling couple in “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?”

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Did I miss it or is your name not there???

M

Dan said...

If I had known all of that, I probably would have come down at least once to visit.

Burro Hall said...

Yeah...that's why I never mentioned it.