Greenwich Village's Cornelia Street Cafe has served New York for 40 years as a restaurant and all-around art gallery and performance space. Its bright red facade was a large visual presence steps away from the heart of the West Village. Now, with its rent at $33,000 per month, the founding owner is hoping to turn Cornelia Street into a non-profit, making it eligible for grants and tax-deductible contributions.
My best experience at Cornelia Street was when my wife and I had lunch there with the late Dave Van Ronk, the legendary folk and blues singer who sheltered Bob Dylan when the Minnesotan first arrived in town, and who knew absolutely everybody in bohemian New York. I was, of course, interested in any story Dave wanted to tell. Always one to recognize the value of a good legend, Dave said to me in his gravelly voice, "Do you want them to be true?"