85 E 4th Street houses the Kraine Theater, the famous KGB Bar, and, its latest edition, the Red Room. Though there is much discussion about its individual parts, the building as a whole has a long and rich history, much of which is evident. The owner, Denis Woychuk, is one of the wittiest, warmest people I’ve ever met, and is quick to open up.
As we sit and chat in the Red Room, he’s quick to relate everything that’s happened in 85 East 4th: “In 1838 this building was built. Think about this. The Civil War is almost 30 years in the future. Lincoln’s wearing short pants and studying his grammar, he’s… I really don’t know what Lincoln was doing.”
Almost since the start, the building was used for political purposes. “In 1878, this building was the first headquarters for the Women’s Aid Society in America,” Denis says. Concerns for worker’s rights, particularly immigrant worker’s rights rose at the beginning of the 20th Century, and by 1911, the same year as the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire, the building was occupied... ›› read more