Somewhere on the Upper West Side -- Near Broadway -- Maybe it's on Broadway -- I'm not telling you exactly -- In the 70s -- There are a number of outdoor book stalls. The guys who own them don't strike me as serious bibliophiles. Sometimes you can find a real bargain. It's a couple blocks south of Fairway. I'm not telling you exactly where.
The Golf Foxtrot does not allow me to stop at book stalls. And she ain't crazy when I bring books back from book stalls. Sometimes they smell like an ashtray. She's also afraid of bed bugs. Me? Not so much.
Walking north on Broadway a week or so ago -- 50 feet north of 73rd Street -- On the west side of the street -- Not telling you exactly where -- The sun reflects off a sheet of mylar and nearly blinds me. Stumbling up to a stall between Loehmann's and American Apparel -- That's your last clue -- I find this book. The yellowed '40s style cover is one I've seen before.
The introduction by Lucius Beebe is one I've read before. And I know, through my many bookstore travels, that this book is worth, depending on condition, about $100 smackeroos. Even more in New York. That should be a bumper sticker-- "Even More In New York" Anyway, I open the book and see it's a first printing. $3.00 is written in pencil at the top of the page.
The book is bright and clean with no smell and no bed bugs. I look at the stall owner and Presbyterian him down to $2 because, that's what you're supposed to do in New York. Another bumper sticker?
I get the book home and am amazed at the number of cocktail recipes, long lost to history, that I can steal and call my own. If I could find a source for cheap custom made belts then I'd have a book contract -- And a line. Look at the Portuguese Virgin. White Port!? Who in the hell even buys White Port anymore? Well, me but that's another story.
Most are straightforward sans blenders and infused syrups
"How about a Sink or Swim, Phil?" Now that's a cocktail
One of you will steal this
Beats a Slow Comfortable Screw
"Do you want me to call you in the morning or should I just nudge you?"
Two of you will steal this
Brandy, gin and vermouth - That's a wedding
Pretty amazing story, huh? I just wish it were true. What is true is that I don't have the time or the bridge table to set up a stall on Broadway. And I have a lotta catalogs to sell. Brooks Brothers catalogs going back to 1980. The first batch went up Sunday night. I'll follow each week with different seasons: Fall, Christmas, Winter, Spring and Summer.
Brooksgate, Women, Footwear...You get the idea. These things are taking up too much room in an 805 sq foot apartment. Add that to the fact that Heavy Tweed Jacket is off the air again and you can blog your own Brooks Brothers posts. Catalogs can be found here and I suggest having a few of these cocktails while you're bidding. Cheers.