News & Politics

A ‘Winking Well for Girls Gone on Girls’


Clip Job: an excerpt every day from the Voice archives.
June 1, 1967, Vol. XII, No. 33

By Howard Smith

The Page Three Club, just north of Sheridan Square on Seventh Avenue, used to be a famous winking well for girls gone on girls. A couple of years ago its license was revoked on a charge, oddly enough, of a prostitute soliciting. The place was locked up and the key almost thrown away. Six months later it was bought by Bill Keidel and Charlie Stock, but they were unable to open. They suffered a lack not uncommon among new bar owners called “lack-a-liquor-license.”

People who know the licensing scene say that the State Liquor Authority thinks that if a place is bad, anyone who wants to buy the place is bad.

In order to protect themselves the people explained, the SLA wants the blame to fall on the judges, just in case a reopened bar again degenerates and gets busted for the same offense. After 14 months of litigation, Keidel and Stock won a 4-0 verdict in appellate court.

With their own hands they literally turned a new Page, scooped it out and made it over piece by piece. It’s now called Keidel’s. In their search for atmosphere, not one slab of formica or plywood was used. They even avoided steel screws in favor of wooden pegs. Getting as far as they could from schmaltz, they seem to have ended up with old English ersatz.

In the process of reconstruction they uncovered a hole in the wall of the ladies’ room that had a long chute leading to a huge secret vault where prohibition liquor once was stored.

They found their prize fixture, a solid mahogany bar brought over from Germany 130 years ago, in the Black Swan Cafe on Reade Street and West Broadway after months of searching through old saloons. It is hand-carved with ornate lions, shields, griffins, and grapevines and bordered by intricately braided columns carved from single blocks of wood.

Open just a few months the place has already become popular with what looks like a hard thinking, serious drinking crowd. They look like early vintage White Horse. In a large, oak-beamed, step-down dining room in the back, Keidel is going after the serious eaters.

The reason the place seems to be catching on so quickly is not because of its history or decor, but because of its two owners. Their backgrounds read like 10 cent adventure novels. Keidel and Stock are full of stories about Damascus during the coup and what it was like in Berlin when the wall was being built. They can go on forever on other ports of brawl, Baghdad, Marseilles, Marocco, Tehran, Saigon, Yucutan, Bangkok, Singapore.

The Parks Department has issued a permit to WBAI for an obese occurrence called a “fat-in” on Sunday, June 4, from 1 to 3 p.m. in the Sheep Meadow of Central Park. Celebrants must be overweight or accompanied by fat friends. Fatheads may be-in the fete. Weight-watchers stay-out. The climax of Fat Power Day will be the burning in effigy of Twiggy.

The Head Shop would like to advertise its wares on that groovy radio station WOR-FM. The Head Shop does not sell drugs.

“The Head Shop does not meet our standards,” is the only statement Robert S. Smith, vice President and General Manager of WOR-AM and FM was willing to make when he turned down their commercials.

So You Want to be in the movies. There’s this part open for a beautifully built 20-year-old girl who likes the beach and the sun and the sand. She should also like motorcycles. She only has to work one afternoon. The pay isn’t that great, only $20, but then again you don’t have to have any experience.

Before you pretty young things all run to your phones with stars in your eyes I had better describe the scene you will be in as it will actually appear on the screen:

Thirty motorcycles roar through the city, then out on the highway to the beach: you will be the only girl riding on the back of a bike. All the bikes will be parked in a circle on the sand at an isolated spot near some sand dunes. You will remove all your clothes, lie in the center of the circle, and have your body painted by 30 paint brush-wielding cyclists.

The name of the movie is “Square.” The name of the game is show business. The number to call is LA 8-0738.

[Each weekday morning, we post an excerpt from another issue of the Voice, going in order from our oldest archives. Visit our Clip Job archive page to see excerpts back to 1956.]


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