Places I miss – Anglers & Writers

by Jennifer on October 30, 2008

When I sat down to write this post, I meant to toss off a list of places that I miss and would like to visit again. Because it’s fall (for everyone else, anyway), I find myself thinking of places that would feel like comfort in cool weather, where people step inside the door and unwind scarves from their necks and stomp the damp of fall from their feet. Where a fire or dim lighting would be a welcome sight, and two hands around a warm mug seems like the best way to spend an hour or two.

But in the end, I decided to focus on one place, and then from time to time post about other places. Call this the first in a series.

First up, a treasure of a restaurant called Anglers & Writers, at 420 Hudson Street in the West Village, the perfect spot to get warm and enjoy hearty food and perfect desserts on a cool fall day. I read about it in Victoria Magazine back in May of 1994. When I lived in Connecticut and friends would visit, I loved to take them there.

Invariably, they were as charmed as I was by the place.

For years now, ever since I moved to the Midwest, and then to all the way to Arizona, I’ve hoped to make it back to New York and to my favorite cozy restaurant.

Except.

It’s not there anymore.

Some online searching and a call to information in New York this morning confirmed it.

Sad news, you know? In a quick email to my cousin and a phone call to my best friend, I told them the news and they had similar reactions. I didn’t have to explain to them why I felt sad to hear that it’s gone.

I loved that place, is all.

The smell of it – the desserts, the roast chicken, coffee, tea.

The atmosphere – fishing gear you’d find in a old lake cabin in northern Wisconsin. Books, a desk. Mismatched tables and tea cups and silverware. Antique pedestal cake plates. It felt like walking into the home of someone who would pull some extra chairs around and grab stacks of tea cups from the sideboard, who would make everyone feel welcome and comfortable.

So why tell you about a place that isn’t there anymore?

Maybe I’m attaching part of myself to it, something that I left behind back there – in Connecticut, in the city, and even in that restaurant. Something that I’m not anymore, and maybe won’t be again. That’s not all bad. It’s the way of life, of gaining something else in the trade.

I get attached to things that are simple and uncomplicated in the measure of grace and comfort they offer. Places, things. A road. A favorite chair or afghan, books, rooms. Good friends.

Maybe one day, I’ll find another place that reminds me of Anglers & Writers, a place that captures the vibe of literature and comfort, a place for friends to meet and not feel rushed, where the food is good and satisfying.

If I do, you’ll hear about it, for sure. Or if you find it first, let me know.

Maybe we can meet there.

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And now it’s your turn to tell me about a place that you love – maybe a place like this, or one that has a completely different atmosphere. Just someplace that makes you feel at ease.

(Photo from Victoria Magazine, May 1994, with apologies and thanks.)

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Edited: I’ve scanned the May 1994 article from Victoria Magazine about this place and have created a photoset on Flickr, if anyone is interested in reading. Here’s the link:  Anglers & Writers (there are 4 pages in the set)

{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Jenn @ Juggling Life October 30, 2008 at 9:23 pm

Now I’m sad that I don’t really have a place like this in my life–unless my neighbor’s front porch for Friday night happy hour during the summer counts. I’m going to count it.

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Smart Mouth Broad October 30, 2008 at 10:38 pm

This post was so poetic. I really hope you find another spot like this. And I hope I do too. I also get attached to simple places or things that help to define who I am as a person. The little things matter so. I wish I had the opportunity to experience this place and all its charm. Thanks for sharing it.

Smart Mouth Broads last blog post..TRICK OR TREAT

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phd in yogurtry October 30, 2008 at 10:42 pm

I love your theme, places you miss. I’m going to do a shameless promotion, but it is one of my favorite comfy restaurants. A burger and a cold beer.. and in winter, the added bonus of a fire in huge stone masonry fireplace (built by a good friend, as it happens). Its called The Chicken Oil Company. Great homespun Texas atmosphere.

When you’re rooting for the Aggies to beat the Longhorns on Thanksgiving Day, you can bet each and every one of the Aggies have had at least one burger here:

http://coffeeyogurt.blogspot.com/search?q=chicken

phd in yogurtrys last blog post..have a socialist halloween!

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Ree October 31, 2008 at 6:14 am

I’m sad that nothing immediately comes to mind. Although there was a bar that Mr. Hot and I used to meet at – and I knew that going there was going to make me happy – so I guess that’s the closest I have…

Rees last blog post..The One Where I Ramble. Again.

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Gwen October 31, 2008 at 7:17 am

I hate when my favorite places disappear, too! Sorry to hear about one of yours.

Most of the places I really miss, especially in the way they make me feel as though I belong somewhere, are in SE Asia. Even though I had never lived in Viet Nam, when I stepped off the plane in Ha Noi a few years ago, I had this strange sense of being home that I’ve never had anywhere in this country, even though I’ve lived here for 20 years now.

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Louise October 31, 2008 at 8:44 am

You already know how sad I am. And how concerned I am about those cake plates.

Louises last blog post..Yellow Cottonwood — SkyWatch

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cce October 31, 2008 at 9:30 am

I don’t really have a place that represents anything as comforting or reassuring as all that you describe. But I am awfully, awfully fond of my own living room, the way both sides of the room look out into the wooded yard through two long stretches of window. The way a wood pecker will occasionally peck at the side of the house and fill the room with his tapping, the way the throw pillows end up on the floor and the dog quietly curls herself up to fit exactly on that pillow even though she know she’s not supposed to. Is this proof that I don’t get out enough?

cces last blog post..Testing, testing, 1 2 3

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Daryl October 31, 2008 at 10:12 am

Excellent theme, Jennifer, and I am sorry this place is gone it was really quite wonderful.

Now I wonder if the little place on 20something street is still there .. it was called The Library or was it the Bibliotech? Now I must go find out .. its theme was books .. walls lined with book shelves filled with books … and the food wasnt bad

Daryls last blog post..my sky…booooo

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JCK October 31, 2008 at 12:36 pm

OH, this place sounded dreamy… I’m sorry I didn’t know about it when I lived there. Was it there in the late 80’s?

JCKs last blog post..HOPE in the rain…

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Momisodes October 31, 2008 at 6:50 pm

This restaurant sounds like it was a gem. I adore the unexpected desk in the restaurant photo.

The attachment you mention reminds me of a place back home in Miami. An obscure upstairs corner of a trendy South Beach restaurant that occasionally fills with the sounds of jazz. Only a few locals knew of the place, and I often sat at a table for 1 in the smokey room, sipping a cocktail while tapping my heel to a tune.

Momisodess last blog post..Blinking. It’s Overrated.

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flutter November 1, 2008 at 12:16 am

My place is so vivid, that it pains me to write about

flutters last blog post..Oh, WebMD you scary bastard

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Madge November 1, 2008 at 5:13 am

“I get attached to things that are simple and uncomplicated in the measure of grace and comfort they offer.” Thanks for describing your friendship to me in such a perfect way. I miss Anglers and Writers — and those two people we were that sat there on a Saturday afternoon having lunch and dreaming.

Madges last blog post..Poem Thursday

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Joe March 24, 2009 at 2:17 pm

I walked down Hudson yesterday – my old partner had managed to make me unhappy , and I wanted to recreate the walk I’d made down to the restaurant where we’d met – as Hemingway, that most famous angler and writer had put it, “to feel all the old feeling”.

It was spring of 2000 when I had last taken that walk – early evening, in March, nine years ago almost to the day. It turned out to be a momentous meeting – he had an idea for a software company, I had an itch to start one – and we took the plan he sketched out on the back of a piece of paper and built a successful little company together, through many adventures.

I hope the place had a good run. We did.

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