Up in the Old Hotel is the complete collection of Joseph Mitchell's New Yorker journalism and includes McSorley's Wonderful Saloon, Old Mr. Flood, The Bottom of the Harbour and Joe Gould's Secret.
I had to return Up in the Old Hotel to the library before completing the other books, so - for now - can only review McSorley's Wonderful Saloon.
Each of the articles by Joseph Mitchell contained in this book is wonderful: beautifully written, and chronicling the mavericks, the marginal, the unusual and the idiosyncratic from the New York City of the 1930s and 1940s.
Each story lovingly brings to life some extraordinary characters. I will never forget Joe Gould, aka Professor Sea Gull, who was writing "The Oral History" that was already 11 times the length of the Bible; or Lady Olga the bearded lady who had appeared in "Freaks"; or Commodore Dutch; or the King of the Gypsies; or Mazie P. Gordon who presided for 21 years over the ticket cage of the Venice Theatre. Really, this stuff is solid gold.
Next time I visit New York I shall visit as many of the places detailed in this book as I can, if only to gaze wistfully at the spot with the vivid recollections of Joseph Mitchell's wonderful articles to imbue each location with a special and magical significance.
I will be returning to Up in the Old Hotel to read the rest of these wonderful articles - I recommend you do the same.