No. 47 (1): Palkin
The photograph, taken by Bulla before World War I, is of the main dining room in the popular restaurant on the corner of Nevsky and Vladimirsky Prospects. It shows the dining room after it had been remodeled in 1904 with the addition of a stage. Instead of the old mechanical organ that played dance music and opera, the restaurant now featured well-known singers and an orchestra of women harpists.
Palkin’s was popular among the artistic intelligentsia, merchants, and well-placed government officials. Among the writers and composers who frequented it were Fedor Dostoevsky, Anton Chekhov, Alexander Kuprin, Ivan Bunin, Piotr Tchaikovsky, Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov and many other notables. Supposedly Lenin had eaten there too.
Andrei Bely had a rendezvous with Blok and his wife at Palkin’s December 1, 1905, to discuss their strained relationship, caused by Bely’s and Liubov Dmitrievna’s on and off romance. Liubov Dmitrievna was the great love of his life, and Bely was devastated by the final break-up.
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