On the centennial of Joseph Mitchell's birth, here is a new edition of the classic collection containing his most celebrated pieces about New York City. Fifty years after its original publication, The Bottom of the Harbor is still considered a fundamental New York book. Every story Mitchell tells, every person he introduces, every scene he describes is illuminated by his passion for the eccentrics and eccentricities of his beloved adopted city.
All of the pieces here are connected in one way or another--some directly, some with a kind of mysterious circuitousness--to New York's fabled waterfront, the terrain that Mitchell brilliantly made his own. They tell of a life that has passed--of vacant hotel rooms, deserted communities, once-thriving fishing areas that are now polluted and studded with wrecks. Included are "Up in the Old Hotel," a portrait of Louis Morino, the proprietor of a restaurant called (to his disgust) Sloppy Louie's; "The Rats on the Waterfront," which has inspired countless writers to attempt portraits of these most demonized New Yorkers; and "Mr. Hunter's Grave," widely considered to be the finest single piece of nonfiction to have ever appeared in the pages of The New Yorker.
Here is the essential work of a legendary writer.
From the Hardcover edition.
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|Title of History eBook: The Bottom of the Harbor|
|Release Date: 07-01-2008|
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|Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group|
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The Bottom of the Harbor
Up in the Old Hotel
Every now and then, seeking to rid my mind of thoughts of death and doom, I get up early and go down to Fulton Fish Market. I usually arrive around five-thirty, and take a walk through the two huge open-fronted market sheds, the Old Market and the New Market, whose fronts rest on South Street and whose backs rest on piles in the East River. At that time, a little while before the trading begins, the stands in the sheds are heaped high and spilling over with forty to sixty kinds of finfish and shellfish from the East Coast, the West Coast, the Gulf Coast, and half a dozen foreign countries. The smoky riverbank dawn, the racket the fishmongers make, the seaweedy smell, and the sight of this plentifulness always give me a feeling of well-being, and sometimes they elate me. I wander among the stands for an hour or so. Then I go into a cheerful market restaurant named Sloppy Louie’s and eat a big, inexpensive, invigorating breakfast—a kippered herring and scrambled eggs, or a shad-roe omelet, or split sea scallops and bacon, or some other breakfast specialty of the place.
Sloppy Louie’s occupies the ground floor of an old building at 92 South Street, diagonally across the street from the sheds. This building faces the river and looks out on the slip between the Fulton Street fish pier and the Old Porto Rico Line dock. It is six floors high, and it has two windows to the floor. Like the majority of the older buildings in the market district, it is made of hand-molded Hudson River brick, a rosy-pink and relatively narrow kind that used to be turned out in Haverstraw and other kiln towns on the Hudson and sent down to the city in barges. It h