New York City is – and always has been – about what you see in it. And Mitch Broder sees quite a lot. But it’s the way the veteran journalist shares that vision that has earned him a loyal audience and plenty of recognition – including Columbia University’s Mike Berger award – through past decades.
Broder, as you might recall from his bylines for the Gannett newspaper chain, was the last person to use a token (remember those?) to pay for a ride on the NYC subway, was the first person to order all 12 pillows from the Benjamin Hotel Pillow Menu (yes, it exists) and was the only person to appear live on all three major-network morning television shows… on the same morning.
The anecdotes illustrate what catches his eye. For the past couple of years, Broder, who happens to be a longtime friend and former colleague, has written a blog, “Mitch Broder’s Vintage New York,” (mbvintagenewyork.blogspot.com) offering “adventures at the classic old haunts of Manhattan, with justifiable detours.”
And now, Broder has taken his well-trained eye, his passion for the city (the Long Island native is a longtime Westchester resident) and his unique voice back into print with the release of “Discovering Vintage New York: A Guide to the City’s Timeless Shops, Bars, Delis & More” (Globe Pequot Press, $16.95).
Compiled into a handy carry-along paperback volume, Broder’s stories spotlight his beloved network of classic spots that have stood the test of time. There are profiles of 50 places that have been around for more than 50 years, plus a list that spotlights 25 more.
These aren’t just your everyday finds, though he does offer his own take on notables from McSorley’s Old Ale House to The Four Seasons, from Café Carlyle to Sardi’s. But you’ll also spend time at Marchi’s Restaurant, JJ Hat Center, Native Leather and Nom Wah Tea Parlor. After you read these vignettes, you’ll either be remembering your own visits to these one-of-a-kind, only-in-New York places – or planning to go very soon.
So pick up the book, and get to as many of these New York gems as you can before they, sadly, may disappear as so many of New York’s icons tend to do.
Mitch Broder will be discussing his book from noon to 1 p.m. July 10 in the McManus Room of the Westport Public Library, 20 Jessup Road. For more, visit westportlibrary.org.
– Mary Shustack