Taking the subway from Brooklyn, we disembarked at Aster Place.  I found the beaver on the tile next to the stop’s name “Aster Place”, a fitting tribute to Aster and the beginnings of his wealth.  I learned later that all of the stations had various symbols by the name of each stop, as the pictures made it easier for immigrants who could not read, find their way around the different boroughs.

We journeyed to McSorley’s in order to experience and bring to life the story we had read in Mitchell’s book.  Fortunately, they let women in now and I did not have to don a disguise.  We arrived late on a Sunday night so crowds were not an issue. The bartenders were a bit on the surly side.  The choice of beer was light or dark.  The bar keep carried eight beers without a problem, four in each hand and slammed them down onto the tables.  Perhaps that is part of the reason the glasses are only filled two thirds of the way….give a little splash room for the walk to the tables and the subtle slamming of the glasses.  Each of us found it easier to order two beers at a time for each round.

The interior of McSorley’s was busy.  Many artifacts were all over the walls.  Empty space would have been at a premium, and I’m not sure I spotted any open space.  This mirrors the way that the bar reflects the town….space is at a premium.  The chandelier where the soldiers had sprinkled some dust on, promising to clean it off when they returned, is deeply covered in dust, as the men never returned back to the United States or McSorley’s.  Articles, paintings, signs, and photographs covered the walls.

For those of you who noticed the pictures of the urinals….you might wonder, what the heck??  Well, our esteemed colleague’s family had been in the plumbing business.  He had commented on how old the urinals were and how neat they were to see.  Well, being full of my usual curiosity, I went in to take some photos.  The urinals dated back to 1911 and no, there were no men in there.  You see, after close observation, I noticed the door would not shut itself, so men needed to be cognizant of that fact, and manually shut the door as they entered.  Unfortunately, many did not seem to notice this fact. So it was easy to see when someone was in there or not.

The experience at McSorley’s was positive.  The beer was so-so.  The company was entertaining as were the other customers and the bar staff.  We experienced a historical, social, landmark that has proven itself over time, as it is the second oldest pub in the United States, following one in Boston.  If I was a resident of New York City, I could see becoming a regular there….just not on the weekends when the the throngs of tourists and college students are out, but but rather the off-times.