day, I walked past Daveís Luncheonette on the corner of Canal Street
and Broadway. I smelled chocolate, and I went in. It was their own
bittersweet chocolate that they were making for their egg creams.
Daveís had their own recipe. To the chocolate, they added very cold
seltzer. Then they added the milk that softened the harsh seltzer
taste and made it very mellow. They served it in a big, thick glass
with a long spoon. I had one, and I was hooked. Yonah Schimmelís on
the Lower East Side is famous for its knishes, but I walked by and
smelled its potato-nick, thatís a potato pudding with a real firm
crust. It was marvelous. Yonah Schimmel started the business around
1910. He handed it down to his daughter, Mrs. Berger. Then her son
took it over. Now a Russian guy owns it.
Paolucciís in Little Italy is still my favorite Italian restaurant.
How did I discover it? Same way. Walked by and smelled a lot of
garlic coming from up a stoop. Itís a rustic, beat up place. But they
made the best chicken cacciatore in New York.
Another favorite of mine was McGinniss on 48th and Broadway
where you could get a roast beef sandwich with gravy on rye bread with
seeds that doesnít exist today. And Ratnerís on Delancey Street --
better than the chopped vegetarian liver and the chopped eggs and
onions, the vegetable soup and the lima bean soup, were the soft onion
Their waiters were unique. ìWhat kind of soup do you want, Mr. Fancy-Dancy.?/span>
ìYou want to live to tomorrow??/span>
Their Yiddish accents, their seriousness, their sense of humor and
their style It was New York.
Some people say there was no food in New York before Henri Soule. But
the knockwurst was here, the herrings were here, the knishes were
here. The cuisine Soule brought to New York was for the Lutece crowd,
the moneyed crowd. But you didnít need a lot of money to eat well in
MYRNA: Henri Soule was sent by the French government to run the French
pavilionís restaurant in the 1939 Worldís Fair. He remained in New
York and after the war, he opened a restaurant called Le Pavilion.
Pauline Trigere, the late and great fashion designer told us ìWhen I
came to New York in 1939, the food was something atrocious. The big
change came about because of Henri Soule. Le Pavilion was the most
extraordinary restaurant in America, very chic. After the war, all of
a sudden, French food became important, and New York became a city
where you can eat as well as anyplace else. Every good chef, every
good waiter worked for him, and all those boys went on to become chefs
at other great restaurants that opened up.?nbsp;
Andre Jammet, the owner of La Caravelle told us the following story:
1958, three of the men who worked for Henri Soule found another place
on 55th Street which had been a speakeasy during
Prohibition and decided to open an elegant bistro.
Creating the restaurant was intimidating. The three men were coming
from Mr. Soule who set the standards. But just before they opened,
there was some kind of argument between Ambassador Joseph P. Kennedy
and Henri Soule. Kennedy came to one of the owners and said, ìFreddy,
you open your place, weíll be there on the first day.?nbsp; And when the
restaurant opened on September 21, 1960, the Kennedys were there.
They backed La Caravelle morally and financially.
Less than two months after La Caravelle opened, John F. Kennedy became
president. The timing was terrific. He and Jackie came to La
Caravelle often. It became the favored place.
After La Caravelle, La Grenouille followed in 62 and Lutece in 63.
The 1960ís was a French culinary invasion. La Caravelle was the first
restaurant that bridged out from Le Pavilion. But everything came from
HARVEY: Another restaurateur we spoke to was SIRIO MACCIONI, the
dashing and charismatic owner of Le Cirque 2000. His is a true New
York success story. Sirio grew up in Tuscany during World War II and
came to New York in 1956. Hereís what he told us:
When I came to New York, I got a job at the Colony, the restaurant of
caf?society. As I learned English, I began replacing the head waiters
on their days off. One Saturday night, the maitre d?who had been
there for many years died.
owner, Mr. Cavallero, told me ìYou can be in charge for the next
couple of weeks.?/span>
first day on the reservation desk, the phone began to ring ìMr.
Onassis -- the usual table.?
ìMr. Sinatra --the usual table.?/span>
ìThe Duke and Duchess of Windsor ?the usual table.?
ìTruman Capote -- the usual table.?nbsp;
Cavallero comes in. ìHowís everything??nbsp;
ìOkay,?I said, ìbut would you mind to tell me what ëthe usual table?
took me by the arm and showed me one table. ìEverybody thinks that
this is his table. But you want to be the maitre d? Itís your
problem.?And he walked out.
made up my mind: first come, first served. It happened that the first
to come was Frank Sinatra. ìOkay my boy,?he said to me, ìIím going
to tell your boss youíre the best. But first Iím going to the bar.
Keep my table.?
said, ìMr. Sinatra, no, please go to your table.?/span>
ìWhat do you mean??/span>
Somehow I managed to convince him to go directly to his table.
next person was Onassis. He saw Sinatra and said to me, ìYou gave him
my table because heís Italian.?nbsp; Thank God those were the days of the
three martini lunches.
Then came the Duke and Duchess of Windsor. They looked right away at
the table. I ushered them to a banquette. ìPlease sit here, itís very
Duke said ìDonít judge for me what is comfortable. That is my table.?/span>
got through that day using all of my charm, but I will remember it all
of my life.
MYRNA: Another major industry in New York is the music business. Weíll
read two little memoirs that reveal how it mirrored larger changes
that occurred in New York and the nation at large. The first is by the
lyricist JOE DARION
ìThe Tin Pan Alley that I had to do with was in the late 1950ís and
early 1960ís. Its heart was the Brill Building on the west side of
Broadway between 49th and 50th. The whole Brill
Building was filled with music publishers. The front door to every
publisher was open, and you could hear a piano pounding from the
inside somewhere. Standing in the hallway, you could go crazy?the
cacophony was overwhelming!
Every publishing house had an outside office where the secretary sat.
She was called the ìdragon lady?because you couldnít get past her.
It also had an inside office which was a small room with a piano, and
in that room sat the guys who were pounding out these immortal songs.
It was very hard to get to the inside office.
the sidewalk outside of the Brill Building, there would be a crowd of
guys, all looking pretty down at the heels, each one holding a dirty
manila envelope in his hands with his two latest creations. These were
would get so crowded outside that the police would come along and shoo
us into the building. Then the superintendent would shoo us out
again. But it was out on that sidewalk where you made your contacts
and partnerships, where you gossiped, where you found out who was up
for a date, who was coming up to record, what music publisher was in
with what record company, and when they were going to record. You ran
your life according to that information.
would come down to the Brill Building with my dirty manila envelope
and my two lyrics in it wondering where I would get a piano so I could
sit down and work out a song with a composer. We were always fighting
to get a piano for a few hours. It was a very, very hard way to make a
Then I hit with ìRicochet Romance?recorded by Theresa Brewer. Crazy
things happened. The phrase ìRicochet Romance?became part of the
lexicon. A senator made a speech where he said heís not going to have
a ìricochet romance?with something or other, and it got into the
Congressional Record . Some girl in Canada was singing in a
nightclub, and a drunk kept insisting ìSing Ricochet Romance.?nbsp; She
didnít sing it so he picked up a chair and brained her with it. She
landed in the hospital, and that made the headlines.
Ricochet Romance got to the Top Ten, stayed there for three weeks, and
then climbed to number one where it stayed for months.
the publishers were stuffing money down my throat. I couldnít go into
the Brill building without getting dragged into a publisherís office.
And it was then that my wife Helen and I looked at each other and
said, ìYes, but where do we go from here??nbsp; I knew that I had more to
say than I was saying in these pop songs. I wanted to go beyond it if
Anyway Tin Pan Alley was finished. I could see very plainly the
handwriting on the wall. Youíd go into a publisher and he wouldnít
ask ìWhatís the lyric about??nbsp; He wouldnít ask ìWhatís the tune??nbsp;
Heíd ask ìWhatís the sound??nbsp; That was the death knell of what we were
When Elvis came along, when rock ën roll came in, the Tin Pan Alley
that I knew died. There were guys there who were so talented. They
walked around like ghosts saying ìWhat happened? What happened??It
was so quick, overnight.
HARVEY: Dave Hart who is a music manager today was part of the
generation that doomed Tin Pan Alley. Hereís Daveís story:
September 1965, I began film school at NYU. But I was bored stiff.
Some of our classes were over on Second Avenue in a drug-infested
slum, a great place to be when youíre eighteen years old.
There was this big old theater on Second Avenue called the Fillmore
East. Once it had been part of the Yiddish theater, but Bill Graham, a
rock promoter rented it and put on some wonderful rock ën roll shows.
A friend of mine who worked there as an usher got me a job on his
the new cutting-edge acts were coming into the Fillmore like the
Allman Brothers. Iím not sure exactly when this was ?you know what
they say about the 60ís, if you remember it, you werenít there. But I
do remember they showed up in a converted school bus, came out and did
a 55-minute set and just blew the sold-out house away.
first time the Chicago Transit Authority performed, the first time
Elton John performed were amazing nights. There were so many of them.
The crowd was your typical long haired, late sixties-early seventies
youthful audience. There was a light show; the psychedelia would
flow. Drugs were always there. As for sex ?it was a wide open
situation. It was part of the culture ?free sex, free drugs. There
were none of the fears then that there are now except for the fear of
getting arrested. But the police were very understanding and
knowledgeable about the crowd.
When the Grateful Dead came to the Fillmore East, we would make
special arrangements for people who took LSD. There was an artistís
office off the stairs to the second balcony where we put kids who were
freaking out. We had a doctor on call who was real good at dealing
never went to see ìHair.?nbsp; Who had to see it? I lived it. ìHair?was
for suburbanites; it tried to explain to them what weíre doing.
Besides the music sucked. The hardness, the gutsiness of the rock ën
roll I was into was about power and strength. This was not about the
Age of Aquarius; this was about the power of the Age of Sex and Drugs
and Rock ën Roll.
During its time, Fillmore East was truly a magnet. Kids from all over
Today I tell people I worked at the Fillmore.
ìYou did? I used to go there.?/span>
ìYeah, I told you to put your cigarette out.?/span>
(ìBut itís a joint!?nbsp; ìSorry, you gotta put it out.?
ìAh,?theyíll say, ìyou were the guy at the end of the aisle.?/span>
MYRNA: These and all the other New York stories in our book were
familiar territory to us because until 1996, we had been life-long New
Yorkers. Then we got an offer to teach at Dartmouth College and moved
to New Hampshire. But the lure of the city is too strong. We keep
Late last August, we came into Manhattan to return the many photos
people had loaned us to use in our book. It was a perfect summer day,
rare in the New York of our memories. We started out around noon
walking over to Le Cirque on Madison Avenue, a restaurant that
epitomizes New Yorkís haute cuisine. We took in the mid-day, midtown
scene we know so well, the elegant restaurants and casual coffee
shops, the range of shops, the traffic, the crowds of pedestrians.
That afternoon, we drove downtown along Fifth Avenue, into Greenwich
Village and NYU where we had met as undergraduates writing for the
HARVEY: We turned east off Broadway and stopped at Russ and Daughters,
an eighty-year old appetizing store that has become one of the
hottest places in town. Itís part of the remarkable revival of the
Lower East Side, the tenement neighborhood our great grandparents
lived in that is now enjoying such a great rebirth.
Back on Broadway, there we drove through SoHo and thought of how it
almost was demolished to make way for a cross town expressway. Our
next stop was the studio of the famed photographer Gilles Larrain who
told us when he moved to SoHo in 1967, people walked around with
flashlights at night because there were so few streetlights.
Going north now, we passed Chelsea. Today itís a fashionable
neighborhood but people in our book remember when it was filled with
rooming houses run by Irish landladies for retired stevedores.
drove by the Garment District, still operative but hardly the
manufacturing center it used to be, crossed 42nd Street,
and continued along the edge of the theater district to the Upper
West Side where we stopped at several graceful old buildings in this
hilly, leafy neighborhood overlooking the Hudson. We passed the
northern boundary of Central Park and Columbia University and at 125th
Street turned east and headed towards Harlem.
MYRNA: Laconia Smedley a pianist who came to New York from Detroit in
1956, came to mind. ìI got off the train at Grand Central,?he told
us, ìand I took a taxi up Fifth Avenue (which was two-way then). As
soon as we reached 110th Street, I sensed a change.
Downtown it was bum-bum, bum-bum, bum-bum ?very regular, everybody
marching with their little briefcases. But at 110th
Street, it became da-dum, da-dum, da-dum; the swift repetitive beats
had become a relaxed kind of syncopation. Without hearing it, I felt a
could feel the rhythm as we turned on to Lenox Avenue and our next
stop: the Lenox Lounge. Billie Holiday used to entertain at this club
which was bought by Alvin Reed in 1988. ìI saw the future of Harlem
and the future of this place, so I took it on,?he said.
we headed downtown again and drove along elegant Fifth Avenue. We
made our last drop at a building facing Central Park where Helen
OíHagan, the former vice president of Saks Fifth Avenue lives. And
with that, our little circle tour of the isle of Manhattan was
Going from neighborhood to neighborhood that afternoon, we had
re-lived the process of putting together the story of IT HAPPENED IN
MANHATTAN. But at the same time, we witnessed contemporary Manhattan
in all its glory. New York was truly the Emerald City that beautiful
end of summer afternoon. Everywhere people were out, walking the city
streets, riding the buses, taking in the sunshine from a stoop or park
bench, sitting with a cup of coffee in a sidewalk caf? Formerly down
and out neighborhoods were taking on new patinas. All of New York
seemed to be basking in the promise of this great city at the dawn of
a new century.
The next day before we started out for home, we paid the de rigueur
visit to Zabarís where we always stop and stock up on enough New York
nourishment to last us until our next visit. This time, though, it was
a brief run-through. We didnít fill the ice chest in our car. After
all, we figured, weíll be back in Manhattan September 12th.
HARVEY: Well clearly we didnít make it that day. But we did come back
the following month and many times since. The ice chest is still in
the car. And what we are finding today is the same kind of resiliency
people spoke about when they recalled the 1970ís when the city almost
went broke. It seems to us that quality is the very essence of New
York. After all, once youíve lived here, no other place can
compare. And to illustrate that point, let me conclude with the little
story that concludes our book. (And this happened to me.)
1975, I met a man named Garry Schumacher who had been the publicist
for the old New York Giants and moved with the team to the west
coast. We met in San Francisco where I was interviewing for a
baseball book. We hit it off quite well and even went out for a
couple of drinks. He was an incredible fund of baseball knowledge
dating back to the days of John J. McGraw, and a true New York
Some years later, I read in the newspaper that Garry died. And a short
time after that, he came to me in a dream. Standing there in my
bedroom, he was as big as life, just as I remembered him.
asked, ìGarry, how are you? How are things where you are??/span>
he answered, ìHarvey, itís okay. But itís not New York.?/span>