I hope that you read Jeremiah's series this week at Vanishing New York on finding the diner in the West Village that served as the inspiration for Edward Hopper's most well-known painting, Nighthawks. It's a thrilling narrative...
Hopper was originally inspired to paint this, of course, after seeing Gottfried Helnwein's Boulevard of Broken Dreams.
In this iconic painting, Helnwein happened across James Dean, Humphrey Bogart and Marilyn Monroe dining at a Mulry Square diner that may or may not have actually existed. And if you look closely, you'll see that a young, carefree-looking Elvis Presley was working there while struggling to launch his music career.
I've always wanted to know when and where this chance happening occurred, an event that took place somehow without the knowledge of TMZ. Luckily, Jeremiah did most of the where work for me. So now I just needed to narrow down the dates. Or the when.
First, I turned to a trusted source: Wikipedia. I punched in the name of each icon to find out when he or she died.
Dean: September 30, 1955
Monroe: August 5, 1962
Bogart: January 14, 1957
Presley: August 16, 1977
So, looking at the dates, you figure this diner confab had to happen before September 30, 1955.
This would make Elvis 20, which seems plausible. Look how young he is in the painting.
But is it really Elvis -- or an impersonator?
To to continued....
Tomorrow: Why James Dean may have been alone.
But seriously, earlier this week, after reading two of Jeremiah's installments, I walked by Billy’s Antiques & Props on Houston... and what famous painting did I see for sale?
Coincidence? Hardly! I e-mailed proprietor Billy Leroy to ask how much the print cost. (This was likely not the original, which is housed in the Louvre.) Billy thought it was going for $40, but to give him a call to find out for sure. Which I forgot to do. I mentioned the coincidental aspect of all this to Billy, who responded, "lots of weird things happen in the vortex of Bowery and Houston."