A collection of essays from New York Times columnist Reggie Nadelson, profiling and celebrating the (largely family-owned) institutions—restaurants, bookstores, museums—that make up the heart and soul of New York City.
“A wonderfully lively, knowledgeable journey through the past and present of places that help make New York City what it is, and which we must cherish and (hopefully) preserve.”
New York might have Broadway, Times Square, and the Empire State Building, but the real heart and soul of the city can be found in the iconic places that have defined cool since “cool” became a word.
Places like Di Palo’s in Little Italy, where you might stop in to pick up a little cheese only to find yourself in a long conversation—part friendly chat, part profound tutorial—with fourth-generation owner Lou Di Palo, sampling cheeses all the while. Or Raoul’s in SoHo, to enjoy a classic steak-frites in the company of downtown artists, celebrities, and dyed-in-the-wool locals. Or Minton’s Playhouse in Harlem, to be in the room where some young guys named Thelonious, Dizzy, and Charlie invented bebop. Or maybe Russ & Daughters, to pick up the city’s best lox and bagels, which they’ve been selling since 1914.
A lifelong New Yorker, writer Reggie Nadelson celebrates her city and all the places that make it special. Part guidebook, part cultural history, part walk down memory lane, alive with the spirit and the grit of small, often family-owned businesses that have survived the Great Depression, World War II, 9/11, and the coronavirus lockdown, Marvelous Manhattan is a seductive and timely book for anyone who lives in New York, loves the city, lived there once, or wishes they had.
Because that’s the thing about Manhattan: all you need to do is walk into the right place—say, Fanelli’s on Prince Street—sit down at the bar, order a drink, open this book, and suddenly you’re a New Yorker.