Before Bungalow 8 and APT, P.J. Clarke’s, the 120-year-old Irish pub, was the place boldface names like Monroe and Sinatra went to be seen – and to down consecutive rounds of Sidecars. Three weeks ago, restaurateur Philip A. Scotti, Stephen Siegel, CEO of Insignia/ESG, and real-estate mogul Arnold Penner scooped up the bankrupt East 55th Street establishment, with plans to reopen it in July. But what started as a restoration project has turned into an archeological dig of old New York. Here are some of the items they’ve uncovered behind walls, under the bar, and in the very dusty attic.
A backlit sign from the front of the Brooklyn-Queens GG train.
Walter Winchell clips from the Daily Mirror plugging P.J. Clarke’s.
A trapdoor to 55th Street last used in Prohibition days, when patrons would pass buckets through it to get beer.
One entire copy of the Times, February 23, 1976: SURVEY FINDS CITY FACING LOSS OF 800,000 PEOPLE.
Women’s Wear Daily clipping on Jackie Kennedy and her date, lawyer Richard Goodwin, at the bar.
Ashes of Phil Kennedy (no relation), 1926–1986, a regular.
A 1940 electric bill. Total: $1.07.
A roomful of extra urinals.
A letter from Joan Crawford on her personal stationery, dated October 8, 1959, returning her husband’s house card: “I appreciate it,” she writes, “but unfortunately he’s deceased.”