What better way to begin to close out the year here at Ink Spill than with a map of Manhattan highlighting some of the people and places most associated with The New Yorker. I’ve stayed away from current contributors & editors for privacy reasons – that updated map will have to wait a few decades.
Here’s the who and why of the map: people have a habit of not living in one place on the island of Manhattan. For instance, Peter Arno’s Park Avenue pad was not his only New York City address – it was his last city residence before he moved north to plant a garden. And Dorothy Parker lived in numerous places, but I’ve just indicated the address where she spent the last 15 years of her life. Some of the names below are so well known that I’ve provided no information other than when they were born and when they died. There are many more New Yorker writers, artists and editors who lived in the city but who do not appear on the map. Perhaps another map, another time. (I believe if you click on the map, it’ll enlarge and make reading much easier)
As you’ll see below, the Key is divided into Places & People. Have fun!
The New Yorker has moved four times in its history, and will be moving again shortly, down to the new World Trade Center. The map shows (in the circular zoom-in of the 42nd Street area) the four addresses:
1. 25 West 45th St The magazine began publishing here in 1925 and remained at this address until 1935, when it moved downtown to…
2. 25 West 43rd St. This magazine stayed here the longest, from 1935 until 1991. It was here that Thurber wrote and drew on the walls (a fragment of wall bearing Thurber’s drawings from here was removed and has since been relocated at the magazine’s newer offices.
3. 20 West 43rd St. Basically a move right across the street, just south and due east a few feet.
4. 4 Times Square. The current address, but not for long.
Bleeck’s Artist & Writer’s (formerly Club) Restaurant 215 West 40th St.
Bleeck’s (pronounced “Blake’s”) was a regular hang-out for, among others, the Herald Tribune and New Yorker crowd. It was here that something called the Match Game (not the one on tv with Gene Rayburn) was played with increasing seriousness (or maybe just increasing losses and gains). And yes, that’s the actual name of the place, parentheses, singular spelling of “Artist” and all. Decor was English tavern with wood paneling, heavy furniture, dim lighting and a tarnished suit of armor near the door. Life magazine profiled the joint in its issue of November 26, 1945.
Costello’s East 44th St.
Once Thurber tired of Bleeck’s, Tim Costello’s place became his favorite place to hang. Like Bleeck’s, Costello’s was favored by more of The New Yorker crowd than you could shake a monocle at. The murals Thurber drew here became the stuff of legend (and contention).
The Algonquin 59 West 44th St.
It’s not where The New Yorker began (it began in Harold Ross’s brain), but it’s where so many of its ingredients gelled, most especially around and because of the famous Round Table crowd. The Algonguin will always be closely tied in spirit to The New Yorker in more ways and for more reasons than can be gone into here.
The Corner of Madison & 42nd St.
This is the intersection where the five month old New Yorker, just killed off by Raoul Fleischmann at the Princeton Club, suddenly sprang back to life as Fleischmann waited with his fellow business partners for the light to change. Fleischmann overheard John Hanrahan (Fleischmann’s publications advisor) say to either Ross or Hawley Traux (Ross’s financial expert), “I can’t blame Raoul for a moment for refusing to go on, but it’s like killing something that’s alive.” Fleischmann later wrote that Hanrahan’s remark had “gotten under his skin” and so he changed his mind about closing The New Yorker and gave the magazine a reprieve. The rest is, well, you know…
Charles Addams 25 West 54th St. (b. 1912 d.1988) Charles Addams! Need I say more?
Peter Arno 417 Park Ave. (b.1904 d.1968) Harold Ross called him “the greatest artist in the world” — Arno’s name appears on a metal plaque outside the old New Yorker offices on 25 West 43rd St.. William Shawn included Arno in his list of four New Yorker contributors and editors who “did more to make the magazine what it is than can be measured.” (E.B. White, Katharine White, and Thurber were the other three).
Donald Barthelme West 11th St. (b.1931 d.1989) Writer. Read his Snow White to understand why he was the toast of fiction world.
Ralph Barton 419 e.57th. ( b.1891 d.1931) Cartoonist extraordinaire. Ross included his work and listed him first in his Advisory Editors in The New Yorker’s very first issue (he was followed by Marc Connelly, Rea Irvin, George S. Kaufman, Alice Duer Miller, Dorothy Parker, and Alexander Woollcott).
Robert Benchley 44West 44th St. The Royalton NY Hotel (b.1899 d.1945). A member of The Algonguin Round Table, and so much more. Humorist, actor, New Yorker Theater Critic. Note that he lived just across the street from The Algonquin.
Gardner Botsford Grammercy Place (b.1917 d.2004) long time New Yorker editor of non-fiction, his writers included Joseph Mitchell, Roger Angell, and A.J. Liebeling. Step-son of Raoul Fleischmann.
John Cheever Hudson & Horatio (b.1912 d.1982)
Peter De Vries 32 West 11th (b.1910 d.1993) Novelist, humorist, Cartoon Doctor.
Alan Dunn 12 E.88th St. (b.1900 d.1974) One of the most prolific of the magazine’s cartoonists. Married to Mary Petty.
Raoul Fleischmann 955 Fifth Ave. (b.1885 d.1969) In 1924, when Harold Ross proposed he and Fleischmann start a “new comic paper” Fleischmann put up the money.
Wolcott Gibbs East 54th St. (b.1902 d.1958) Writer, editor, critic, playright (“Season in The Sun”) (New Yorker theater critic – he took over the job from Robert Benchley)
Philip Hamburger East 80th St. (b.1914 d.2004) Writer of non-fiction for The New Yorker for over 60 years (serving under all of the magazine’s editors from Ross to Remnick). He occasionally wrote under the name, Our Man Stanley.
Gus Lobrano West 13th St. (b.1903 d.1956) New Yorker fiction editor from 1938 – 1956. Following Lobrano’s death, E.B. White wrote of him: “His contribution to The New Yorker was deep and extensive; it is hard to get it all down in a brief report. Probably his most telling contribution was this: that because of knowing and loving him many writers felt that The New Yorker was their home.”
Russell Maloney 413 East 50th St. (b.1910 d.1948) A wildly prolific Talk of The Town writer, on staff from 1934 – 1945.
William Maxwell East 86th St. (b.1908 d.2000) Author & fiction editor to Salinger, Cheever, Nabokov, and Updike, among many others.
Joseph Mitchell West 10th St. (b.1908 d.1996) Writer. A New Yorker staff writer who became known for not writing after writing so well for so many years.
Grace Paley West 11th St. (b.1922 d.2007) Writer
Dorothy Parker 23 East 74th St. (The Volney) (b.1893 d.1967) Ms. Parker was perhaps the most, if not one of the most celebrated members of the Algonquin Round Table. One of Ross’s original contributors and listed as an Advisory Editor in the very first issue of the magazine. The subject of numerous biographies.
S.J. Perelman 134 West 11th St. (b.1904 d.1979). One of the great humorists of the 20th century.
Mary Petty 12. East 88th St. (1899 – 1976) New Yorker cover artist and cartoonist. (See Alan Dunn).
Harold Ross 52 East 11th & 412-414 West 47th St. (b.1892 d.1951). Ross dreamed up The New Yorker. Thomas Kunkel wrote an excellent biography of Ross, Genius in Disguise
J.D. Salinger 300 East 57th St. (b.1919 d.2010)
Willam Shawn East 96th St. (b.1907 d.1992) The New Yorker’s legendary second editor. He succeeded Harold Ross in 1952. Would someone please write a biography of Mr. Shawn.
Saul Steinberg 6th Ave. & 11th St…and at the end of his life: East 75th St. (b.1914 d.1999). The New York Time’s front page obit labeled him an “epic doodler” – how I wish they could take that back. The man was a genius.
Otto Soglow 330 West 72nd St. ( b.1900 d.1975) He created The Little King.
John Updike West 13th St. (b.1932 d.2009)
E.B. White A number of addresses, beginning with 112 West 13th St., and later, with Katharine White at 16. East 8th St., then uptown at Turtle Bay Gardens, and in the mid 1940s, 37 West 11th St. (b.1899 d.1985) In his earliest days in Manhattan, White roomed at 112 West 13th Street along with Gus Lobrano.
Katharine White Several addresses, including 16 East 8th St. (see E.B. White above). (b.1892 d.1977) The New Yorker’s first fiction editor. She was hired in August of 1925, and shortly thereafter was involved in nearly all editorial aspects of the magazine. Listed by William Shawn as one of the four who “did more to make the magazine what it is than can be measured.”
Alexander Woollcott E.52nd St. (b.1887 d.1943) Wrote The New Yorker’s “Shouts & Murmurs” column, also the magazine’s drama critic. He was a member of The Algonquin Round Table, and was among those listed as one of Ross’s Advisory Editors in the first issue of The New Yorker. He shared the 412 West 47th St address with Harold Ross and his wife, Jane Grant. Woollcott later moved to the very far east end of East 52nd St., the place Dorothy Parker dubbed, “Wit’s End.”