Margot Mifflin
August 14, 1992 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Up in the Old Hotel

type
Book
Current Status
In Season
author
Joseph Mitchell
genre
Pop Culture, Essays

We gave it an A-

Like all good New Yorker nonfiction, the articles in Up in the Old Hotel, written between 1938 and 1965, soothe the soul and surprise the mind. Mitchell, now 85, indulged a fascination with the flotsam of Manhattan (from a bearded female circus performer to a churchless minister who called his sidewalk sermons ”halleluiah hypodermics”) and documented the bars and hotels that became the city’s unofficial institutions. Now that The New Yorker is changing editors and, presumably, direction, this collection reminds us that much of the magazine’s appeal lies in its strenuous resistance to the expected and the mainstream.

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