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From Library Journal
One of The New Yorker reporter-stylists who enlivened that magazine in the 1940s, McNulty (1895-1956) was best known for his humorous dispatches from an Irish saloon of quotable regulars on Third Avenue (the real-life Costello's on East 44th street). To readers, McNulty's characters became a sort of ensemble group, as indeed they were in life: there's the gruffly solicitous proprietor Tim Costello; Grady the aged cabbie; assorted horse players, "scratch bums," "sour beer artists," and a diminutive handyman called The Slugger "because he talks very furious whilst drunk ." These 26 New York profiles and saloon sketches from the Forties and Fifties show McNulty's perfect pitch for the uncommon speech of ordinary people. Like his better-known New Yorker colleagues A.J. Liebling and Joseph Mitchell, McNulty came from the world of newspapers, where one awed reporter observed that "just as dogs will make up with some people and not with others, the English language will do things for Mr. McNulty which it will not do for the rest of us." Perhaps the most deeply moving profile in the book, though, is the introductory memoir by his wife, Faith McNulty. For New York history and literary collections. Nathan Ward, "Library Journal"
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.
McNulty was a classic hard-drinking Irish American newspaperman, who later wrote for the New Yorker. The stories in this collection are absolutely dated in their utter purity: most of them take place in the Third Avenue bar of the title, a hangout for cabbies and guys who play the horses. As vividly as a black-and-white movie, McNulty tells the story of Red and the weather and how the barroom mirror got broken ("People Don't Seem to Think Things Out Straight in the Gin Mill") or Slugger's broken... read more
Collected and restored to print at last, the hilarious, moving, lowlife sketches by a writer whose "phenomenal ear caught the common parlance of New York in all its uncommonness."-Phillip Lopate.
From 1937 until his death in 1956, John McNulty walked many beats for The New Yorker, but his favorite-and the one he made famous-was Tim and Joe Costello's, a bustling Irish saloon at Third Avenue and Forty-fourth Street. The place is gone now-it was leveled and replaced by the lobby of a skyscraper in 1973-but it and its hard-drinking mid-century patrons live on in these funny, poignant, immortal sketches and stories.
McNulty's people-cab drivers, horseplayers, glamour girls, draftees, has-beens, never-weres, dreamers and despairers-are drawn from life, and draw the breath of life. "What a marvelous writer McNulty was!" said Brendan Gill when they tore down Costello's. "His stories will survive...and perhaps seem all the more remarkable to a later generation for the reason that both the time and the place they celebrated have disappeared without a trace-brick and stone as thoroughly ground to dust as man."
There is a short shelf of American classics born in the talk of ordinary folk-Mark Twain's sketches, Ring Lardner's baseball yarns, Studs Terkel's Chicago, and Joseph Mitchell's reports from the waterfront. With This Place on Third Avenue, that shelf grows one book longer.