I'm a bit slow on the uptake here, but for form's sake I'd like to take a moment here to mourn the passing of Le Figaro cafe on the southeast corner of Macdougal Street and Bleecker. I know the kitschy old wooden cafe hasn't been what it should for many years. (The original incarnation actually shut down in 1969.) Still, its exit marks the final death knell for an intersection that was, for a time in the post-WWII years, more Greenwich-Villagey than any other.
This was the crossroads of every significant literary and music figure of the '50s and '60s. They all spent time here: Dylan, Burroughs, Agee, Ginsberg, Pollock, Auden, Baldwin, Cage, Williams (Tennessee), Miles Davis, Styron, O'Hara. The famed San Remo was on the northwest corner. There were few literary hangouts more famous. All of the above were rooted to the wooden booths. At the northeast corner sat the old Cafe Borgia for 60 solid years, until 2001. After the Cafe Reggio up the street, it was the oldest cafe in the Village. Dylan and the Beat poets hung out here too, as well as Warhol and Albee.
As you can imagine, one came to this area to drink. Drink coffee and drink alcohol. Drink and talk, talk and drink—both, furiously. The intellectual life of the Village ragee here day in and day out. Now, with Figaro's death, it's one of the most indistict, unimaginative intersections in New York City, in my opinion.
Folkster Fred Neil wrote a song called Bleecker & Macdougal back in '65. It went:
I was standing on the corner
Of the Bleecker and MacDougal
Wondering which way to go
I've got a woman down in Coconut Grove
And you know she love me so
I wanna go home
We all do, Fred.