Joseph Mitchell of The New Yorker

Joseph Mitchell outside Sloppy Louie’s restaurant with Louis Morino, the subject of Mitchell’s 1952 <i>New Yorker</i> profile ‘Up in the Old Hotel’
Joseph Mitchell outside Sloppy Louie’s restaurant with Louis Morino, the subject of Mitchell’s 1952 New Yorker profile ‘Up in the Old Hotel’

From the New York Review of Books a profile of Joseph Mitchell of The New Yorker:

Where the hell is this going? As in all of Mitchell’s pieces everything is always going somewhere, though not necessarily so you’d notice. Mitchell is one of the great masters of the device of the plot twist disguised as a digression that seems pointless but that heightens the effect of unforced realism. Louie tells Mitchell of an incident that occurred a few years after he left Joe’s. Mrs. Frelinghuysen had died and Louie had married and bought his restaurant and rented the building it was in. One afternoon a long black limousine pulled up in front of the building and a uniformed chauffeur came into the restaurant and said, “Mrs. Schermerhorn wanted to speak to me, and I looked at him and said, ‘What do you mean—Mrs. Schermerhorn?’ And he said, ‘Mrs. Schermerhorn that owns this building.’” Louie is stunned to hear this. He had assumed the real estate company he paid his rent to was the owner. But no, the beautiful woman who gets out of the limousine, the recently widowed Mrs. Arthur F. Schermerhorn, owns the building. Louie asks her if she knows anything about its history, but she doesn’t—she is just inspecting the properties she has inherited from her husband. She drives off and he never sees her again.

I went back inside and stood there and thought it over, and the effect it had on me, the simple fact my building was an old Schermerhorn building, it may sound foolish, but it pleased me very much. The feeling I had, it connected me with the past. It connected me with Old New York.

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Joseph Mitchell of The New Yorker