The Smith

2015 January 20
by Carl Watson

“Cut off from country, from kind far distant
By cares overworn, pondering the ground’s shroud
Wretched I went thence, winter wearied
Dreary I sought the hall of a gold giver
Where far or near I might find
Him who in meadhall might take heed of me
Furnish comfort to a man friendless
Win me with cheer.”

—The Wanderer, anonymous 9th century Anglo-Saxon poem

And one day the well-heeled hipster beside his entitled entourage,
Their faces lighted, swallowed, in truth, by the mommy pod screens they worshipped,
O’erheard my mumbled lamentation,
Said, “What is this of which you moan the loss, old timer?
On what does your has-been soul reflect with such reverence?”
I’m adding eloquence here to his flat diction.
“Child.” I said, “ ’Twas a past hall of heart-born fellowship,
Home to a breed long gone to which my mind wanders.”
“Was there such a place?” he pressed on, punching his facey page buttons
Fanatically, addicted to the perpetual validation of his absent ‘friends.’
As I watched his darting vacant eyes, the bard within me,
His ancient engine light now switched on,
Opened to a tale of a life well lived, face to face and hand to brotherly hand,
A life whose consequences still worked blessings in the world.
The blank eyes of the hipster gazed at me with impatience.
He was worried about his next email, his next tweet.
I would not hold his attention long, if at all,
But the drink in me was strong and I would not be put off my tale: read more…

Kerry Smith Evening of Tribute, Sat. 1/17, South 4th Street Bar, Williamsburg

2014 December 18
by Ando Arike

Join us for an Evening of Testimony, Community & Inspiration.

Kerry Smith Evening of Tribute
Saturday, January 17th, 4-9 pm,
South 4th Street Bar,
Berry & South 4th, W’Burg

Open mic, Potluck grub.
Come and celebrate the life of Kerry Smith: the man, the myth, the memories. Raise a toast in tribute. Share a song, a story, a poem.

Stay tuned for more details as the date approaches.

Kerry Smith, Legendary Right Bank Cafe Owner, Dies at 67; Gala Memorial Planned for January

2014 November 24
by Ando Arike

The Williamsburg Observer is seeking photos, reminiscences, poetry, etcetera, to celebrate and pay tribute to Kerry and his incomparable oasis (see below)

Kerry Smith, center, at the Right Bank Cafe in 1992, Kent Ave. & Broadway. Also pictured, from left, Tommy Tucker, Anna West, and Lisa Jane

This post is a work-in-progress, waiting to be fleshed out by contributions from the friends and kinsfolk of these two unique warps in New York City’s space-time-consciousness continuum: the Right Bank Cafe and its irrepressible owner, Kerry Smith. From 1989 to 2003, Kerry’s energy, generosity, and free spirit made the Right Bank an incomparable oasis of camaraderie, art, music, poetry, and serious hedonism long before the yuppie hordes felt safe venturing into this neighborhood; we want to pay tribute to the man and his influence, and are looking for photos, written reminiscences, poetry, and any other suitable momentos for posting on this site. Send all digital materials to <arkay(at)> and stay tuned for more info on the January memorial to Kerry. Photos and texts begin inside… read more…

Coming Soon: WBO Makeover…

2014 August 25
by Ando Arike

One by one, New York City’s neighborhoods are being swept by an invasive species: affluent white people and the real estate developers who love them. And like so many invasive species, this one is more or less devastating the ecological relationships that preceded its arrival, spurring rapid displacements of natives and growing areas of monoculture. In Williamsburg, the process began a dizzying acceleration in 2005, when zoning rules were changed to open vast tracts of property to luxury residential construction. No longer anything like the place it was even ten years ago, Williamsburg is rapidly being reborn as Yuppie City. Now, finally, it’s become clear exactly what the ambiguous  “Hipsters” were: spies and advance scouts for the yuppies, i.e. the Yuppie Avant-Garde.

Greatly dismayed by these developments, we here at the WBO have finally decided to it’s time to move on, via an editorial makeover and renaming of the site. Stay tuned in coming weeks for our debut…

Save the Internet from Neo-Liberal Death!

2014 May 16
by Turk Studzel

As the Corporate-Fascist State tightens its stranglehold on every institution in our lives, the Internet has been one of the few remaining outlets where information can flow freely, unhindered by gatekeepers, censors, and toll collectors. When mainstream corporate news media ignore or lie about vital news stories and issues, independent reporting on the Internet has been there to tell the other side of the story, to provide a voice to the marginalized, and a global forum for dissent, debate, and awareness-raising. No wonder the Corporate-Fascists want to change the level playing field of “net neutrality” and transform the Internet into another version of cable TV — one that they can fully control and monopolize. Well, now, the Federal Communication Commission, which regulates the Internet, is about to give the Corporate-Fascists exactly what they want — unless Americans raise hell. Stop the FCC from killing the last bastion of First Amendment free speech: See here, here, here, and here for more information, and see Bill Moyers below.