The Critic… Then the Cat!


Weegee, [Tavern dismantled after bootleg liquor raid, New York], November 24, 1943 (13986.1993)

Federal men took care of Walsh’s Bar and Grill, 213 Tenth Ave. after place was accused of taking bad care of its customers by selling bootleg liquor. First they stacked the wet goods on the bar…


Weegee, [Tavern dismantled after bootleg liquor raid, New York], November 24, 1943 (13989.1993)

…then they started to dismantle the place. here they take the beer cooling system apart. According to Government boys, a number of local taverns were refilling standard bottles with the newly made stuff.


Weegee, [Tavern dismantled after bootleg liquor raid, New York], November 24, 1943 (13990.1993)

Then they took the palms…


Weegee, [Tavern dismantled after bootleg liquor raid, New York], November 24, 1943 (13992.1993)

and the bar…


Weegee, [Tavern dismantled after bootleg liquor raid, New York]November 24, 1943 (13995.1993)

…and the juke box…


PM, November 25, 1943, p. 12

How to Wreck a Tavern – Cold Sober!
Federal men took care of Walsh’s Bar and Grill, 213 Tenth Ave. after place was accused of taking bad care of its customers by selling bootleg liquor. First they stacked the wet goods on the bar…
…then they started to dismantle the place. here they take the beer cooling system apart. According to Government boys, a number of local taverns were refilling standard bottles with the newly made stuff.

Then they took the palms…
…and the cash register…
and the bar…
…and the cigaret machine…
…and the juke box…
…and the cat!
Photos by Weegee, PM, November 25, 1943, p. 12

Two days after Weegee made one of the most significant photos of the twentieth century, “The Critic,” at the opening of the Metropolitan Opera, he photographed the destruction of Walsh’s Bar and Grill, 213 Tenth Ave., just below 23rd Street. The Office of Price Administration (OPA) and the State Liquor Authority (SLA) collaborated to raid bars, liquor stores, alcohol distributors, and a thirty six gallon still in an apartment in the Bronx, throughout New York City and Westchester, in actions The Times reported were reminiscent of the prohibition era (1920-33). Thirty six “bootleg establishments” were raided and more than fifteen people were arrested. The confiscated liquor and equipment were brought to a federal warehouse. Walsh’s Bar and Grill (213 Tenth Ave.), Powers’ Tavern (264 West 34th St.), and Horgan’s Bar and Grill (115 East 97th St.) were the first establishments that were raided. A few days after these photos were made John J. Walsh had his liquor license canceled. Perennially and preternaturally prescient, Weegee knew, in the end, it was all about cats.


Weegee, “…and the cat!”, November 24, 1943 (13996.1993)

…and the cat!

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