McGown's Pass Tavern

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File:Mcgowns pass tavern 1915.png
McGown's Pass Tavern, formerly Mount St. Vincent's Hotel, on East Drive near 104th Street in Central Park. Photo circa 1915.

McGown's Pass Tavern was a refreshment house on McGowan's Pass in Central Park in New York City, near 104th Street west of Fifth Avenue. It was built in 1883–84 and closed in 1915.[1]

Its proprietor until 1890 was Patrick H. McCann, brother-in-law to local Tammany Hall leader Richard Croker and sometime friend of Hugh Grant, Mayor of New York. During the Fassett Investigation in 1890, McCann testified that he lost his lease to the tavern because he refused to provide Croker, Grant and their political associates with free entertainment; in retaliation for which Croker and Grant began to bad-mouth the restaurant as a disreputable house patronized by lowlifes.[2] After McCann the tavern was leased by Gabriel Case, and finally by John Scherz.

Until the early 1890s the refreshment house was known as Mount St. Vincent's Hotel, carrying on the name of an earlier establishment that had burned down in 1881. The Park Commissioners ordered the name change to avoid confusion with the Academy of Mount St. Vincent, a convent school which had occupied the site in the 1840s and 1850s, but had no further connection to the tavern. The tavern's new name hearkened back to a local watering-hole of a century before, the Black Horse Tavern, popularly known as McGowan's.[3]

In 1915 the tavern was closed down and its furnishings auctioned off. The New York Times reported that its equipment, furniture, sporting prints, and "Old Gabe," the tavern's yellow parrot, brought in barely $1500.

See also


  1. New York Times, March 10, 1915. "McGown's Pass Has Its Tavern No More."
  2. New York Times, April 26, 1890. "Result of a Family Row."
  3. Edward Hagaman Hall, McGown's Pass and Vicinity. 1905.

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