Meyer Berger's New York

Meyer Berger's New York

Meyer Berger's New York

Meyer Berger's New York


Meyer ("Mike") Berger was one of the greatest journalists of this century. A reporter and columnist for The New York Times for thirty years, he won a Pulitzer Prize in 1950 for his account of the murder of thirteen people by a deranged war veteran in Camden, New Jersey.

Berger is best known for his "About New York" column, which appeared regularly
in the Times from 1939 to 1940 and from 1953 until his death in 1959. Through
lovingly detailed snapshots of ordinary New Yorkers and far corners of the city, Berger's writing deeply influenced the next generation of writers, including Gay Talese and Tom Wolfe.

Originally published in 1960 and long out of print, Meyer Berger's New York is a rich collection of extraordinary journalism, selected by Berger himself, which captures the buzz, bravado, and heartbreak of New York in the fifties in the words of the best-loved reporter of his time.

"Mike Berger was one of the great reporters of our day... he was a master of the color story, the descriptive narrative of sights and sounds-of a parade, an eclipse, a homicidal maniac running amok... or just a thunderstorm that broke a summer heat wave...."-The New York Times, obituary, February 6, 1959

"Dip into Meyer Berger's New York, at any point, and you will find things you never knew or dreamed of knowing.... It has a heart, a soul, and a beauty all its own."
-Phillip Hamburger, The New York Times Book Review


Nostalgia is the most pervasive of all New York emotions. There is ample, sometimes violent evidence in the vast city of human irritation, anger, fear, disappointment, even despair. But if you talk to New Yorkers in the quiet moments, you will hear recurring notes, almost musical, of this more common sentiment. Nostalgia comes to you in phrases that begin “When I was a kid …” or “In the old days, we …” Sometimes it doesn’t come in words at all, but comes instead from an old song that brings tears to aging eyes. Some vagrant television image—a lost ballpark or a foreign countryside—causes a person on the couch to pause, breathe hard, and slip into reverie for a long moment. the country of nostalgia issues no passports, but it exists all the same.

This is explained in part by the nature of New York itself. From its beginnings almost four centuries ago, the city has been a place of immigrants. At the time of the Dutch, eighteen languages were spoken in the hamlet below Wall Street. Those early settlers made up the now-familiar assembly of idealists, adventurers, opportunists, religious and political refugees, scoundrels on the run from the law, or simple men and women whose own countries had failed or disappointed them and who hoped to begin anew in the great emptiness of North America. in the nineteenth century, as the . . .

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