Thursday, December 31, 2020

Berger’s Deli

[From the Naked City episode “Go Fight City Hall,” October 31, 1962. Click for a larger street.]

Here’s another instance of what I’ll call the Naked City effect, turning Manhattan into a small town of immediately recognizable locations. That’s Berger’s Deli, at 44 West 47th Street, in the Diamond District. You might know the street from Marathon Man. You might also know it as the longtime home of the Gotham Book Mart, which stood at no. 41. My friend Aldo Carrasco and I once had lunch at Berger’s after a visit to the Gotham. My fambly had lunch at Berger’s somewhere in the 1990s after visiting an exhibition of Edward Gorey’s work at the Gotham. And when I made a trip to New York in 2002 to see a Henry Darger exhibit and hear John Ashbery read from his work, I had lunch at Berger’s after what turned out to be a final trip to the Gotham. Here’s the menu — I took a copy.

Proust reminds us that “houses, roads, avenues are as fleeting, alas, as the years.” Yes, it’s true. The Gotham is gone, and Berger’s is now at 2 East 39th Street. Here’s the current menu.

You can see the Gotham’s “Wise Men Fish Here” sign and Berger’s at 0:25 in this clip from Marathon Man.

Related reading
All OCA Naked City posts (Pinboard)

[From Swann's Way, trans. Lydia Davis (New York: Viking, 2002).]

comments: 3

Deirdre said...

A Happy Newpetuity Year ( A year devoid of virus and abundant in book/pencil buying cash flow) to you, Mr.Leddybbuk. Oh, no! Say it ain't so...
(inspired by Malcolm X, I've decided not only to read the entire dictionary this year, but to create my own).

Thank you for your matchless wit and consummate erudition, Mike.

Michael Leddy said...

Thank you, Deirdre, and the same good wishes to you.

Michael Leddy said...

P.S.: When I volunteered as a literacy tutor, I used the passage about the dictionary with one of my students. Very motivational.