Among the shoddy Greenwich Village purlieus, of 8th Street milled this new Bohemia, boiling with rebellion, frothing with hope--in the young artist it is often difficult to distinguish between the two. Having found a café, they were looking for a bar. Their lack of money and their troublesome ways brought cold welcomes wherever they went. They were always loudly airing opinions that sounded vaguely subversive to the bartender and the regular habitués, or objecting to the television programs being shown on the screen high on the wall at the end of the bar.
Not that their rebelliousness was out of place. By midnight or before, every drinker there was voicing his own personal mutiny. But the artists' rebellions were incomprehensible--not directed at low wages and high rents, for instance, or the shape-up on the waterfront, or the mysterious and perpetually unjust behavior of the opposite sex. These loud- voiced newcomers were grumbling about art dealers and museums, about abstraction or representation, or, most often, about some guy by the strange name of Picasso.
So from gin mill after gin mill the young artists were shunted more or less gently outside. Finally, working east along 8th Street, they came to University Place and, a little north, to the Cedar Bar. Not enjoying the sure patronage of the joints nearer Sixth Avenue, the Cedar Bar grudgingly accepted them with an overt hostility that gradually softened to tolerance. In the years that have passed since this first invasion, many of these unkempt young men have become famous and well-off. They have moved to better parts of town, but they still come back to the Cedar Bar. For some years, the head bartender, "George," has been regularly attending the openings of "Bill" de Kooning's exhibitions.