This event is co-sponsored by the Walt Whitman Initiative

Unbeknownst to most New Yorkers, a literary landmark lies beneath Greenwich Village’s stretch of Broadway: Pfaff’s Cellar Saloon, located below the twin tenements at 645-647 Broadway between 1859 – 1864, was America’s first bohemian hotspot and home to one of the country’s first gay men’s clubs, the “Fred Gray Association.” Walt Whitman was a loyal Pfaffian who met many young men in this space, and was here inspired to write several of his most inspirational poems. Come celebrate the legacy of Pfaff’s with a reading and discussion, led by Whitman-scholar Karen Karbiener, of Whitman’s poetic cluster, “Live Oak, with Moss,” and find out how you can help honor the legacy of this unlandmarked, unprotected historical treasure. 

After the reading and discussion, join Karen for a walk to the site of Pfaff’s

The nonprofit NYC-based Walt Whitman Initiative joins Village Preservation in its efforts to celebrate and help preserve sites of historical significance such as the twin tenement that once housed Pfaff’s Cellar; please visit their website to learn more about their initiatives.

About the Speaker:

Karen Karbiener is an internationally recognized Whitman scholar and teaches at New York University.  She has published widely and curated several exhibitions on the poet, including an illustrated edition of Live Oak, with Moss (Abrams, 2021) and Poet of the Body: New York’s Walt Whitman (Grolier Club, NY, 2019; book based on exhibition, 2022).  A native New Yorker and local public scholar, she is the president of the Walt Whitman Initiative, a nonprofit organization serving as an organizing center for cultural activism and poetry-related events.

Thursday, June 27, 2024
6:00 pm


Pre-registration required 


Location: Parish Hall, St. Mark’s Church in-the-Bowery, 131 E 10th St, New York, NY 10003