On the centennial of Joseph Mitchell’s birth, here is a new edition of the classic collection containing his most celebrated pieces about New York City. Fifty years after its original publication, The Bottom of the Harbor is still considered a fundamental New York book. Every story Mitchell tells, every person he introduces, every scene he describes is illuminated by his passion for the eccentrics and eccentricities of his beloved adopted city.
All of the pieces here are connected in one way or another–some directly, some with a kind of mysterious circuitousness–to New York’s fabled waterfront, the terrain that Mitchell brilliantly made his own. They tell of a life that has passed–of vacant hotel rooms, deserted communities, once-thriving fishing areas that are now polluted and studded with wrecks. Included are "Up in the Old Hotel," a portrait of Louis Morino, the proprietor of a restaurant called (to his disgust) Sloppy Louie’s; "The Rats on the Waterfront," which has inspired countless writers to attempt portraits of these most demonized New Yorkers; and "Mr. Hunter’s Grave," widely considered to be the finest single piece of nonfiction to have ever appeared in the pages of The New Yorker.
Joseph Mitchell came to New York City on October 25, 1929 (the day after the stock-market crash), from a small farming town called Fairmont, in the swamp country of southeastern North Carolina. He was twenty-one years old and looking for… More about Joseph Mitchell