Culture on the Cheap
From The New York Shitty Photo Pool: Vidar
Filed under: Brooklyn, Stuff That Makes Miss Heather Happy, Sunset Park, Sunset Park Brooklyn
Chris Arnade (who took the above photograph) writes:
Vidar, 89, left Norway on a whaling ship at the age of 15 just prior to the start of WWII. Unable to return because of the war he joined the Merchant Marines, working as a gunner on cargo ships plying the North Atlantic. Four times he survived being sunk; once he was adrift in a life boat for five days.
After the war he immigrated to the then predominately Norwegian neighborhood of Sunset Park, Brooklyn where he found jobs on fishing boats. A hurricane in ’56 led to another rescue at sea. “That was enough. I moved to working on tug boats.” He retired in 1983. He recently was awarded the St. Olaf’s medal by the King for his service to Norway during the war.
I met him in one of my favorite bars in NYC, the Soccer Tavern (Soccer tavern one and Soccer tavern two). He had his first drink there in ’43 while in the Merchant Marines, and still tries to make it a few times a week. The neighborhood now is almost all Chinese, and the regulars, a mixture of Irish and Chinese, like to talk about the bar as the only Chirish bar in New York. “Back then there used to be six bars on this block. Now this is the only one in the whole area.”