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A Tale of Two Crises: Thomas Paine and Marie Du Mont

Marie’s Crisis. Photo courtesy of Alice Lum.

On December 19, 1776, Thomas Paine published The American Crisis, a series of pamphlets that helped fan the flames of American patriotism to inspire the American troops and public during the long, arduous years of the Revolutionary War.  In a previous blog post, we discussed Paine, his legacy, and how he spent his final years here in the Village.  Yet Villagers today remember Paine’s Crisis as only half of a different story…

Thomas Paine plaque at 59 Grove Street

59 Grove Street is not only where the house Paine lived and died in once stood, but it currently is the location of Marie’s Crisis, a sing-along piano bar and mainstay of the Village’s cultural and LGBT scenes. Half of its name comes from Paine’s Crisis, whereas the other is from the founder herself, a woman by the name of Marie Du Mont.  An Austrian woman, Marie was known for her “blonde hair, her voice and for selling alcohol during the prohibition era.”    The bar became a favorite watering hole for Village bohemians, and in 1957 Marie purchased the building.

Marie’s Crisis bar with WPA murals. Photo courtesy of KKNY.

These days, Marie’s Crisis remains one of the popular destinations for Greenwich Village nightlife.  In addition to being the place where regular folks and celebrities come together to share a drink and belt out some Broadway tunes, Marie’s Crisis also has another unique historical tidbit: a WPA mural is painted behind the bar, depicting the American and French Revolutions. 

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