The Mural at the Waverly Inn
A Portrait of Greenwich Village Bohemians
By Edward Sorel
(Pantheon, Hardcover, 9780307377319, 56pp.)
Publication Date: October 28, 2008
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The Waverly Inn has been a landmark in New York’s Greenwich Village since the 1920’s. But since 2006, when Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter bought and refurbished the restaurant, it has also been one of the most sought after destinations in the city. And while we can’t guarantee you a reservation there, we can bring you the wonderful, witty mural by Edward Sorel that graces its walls.
Sorel--whose caricatures and drawings regularly appear in The New Yorker and on its cover--chose forty Greenwich Village greats from the past 150 years to cavort in bacchanalian splendor. Each of the 40 makes a solo appearance in these pages alongside a charming, telling vignette of his or her life by Dorothy Gallagher, then appears in a foldout of the entire mural at the back of the book.
Here you will find Walt Whitman being attacked by a ferocious Truman Capote butterfly; Jane Jacobs, Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney and Willa Cather playing ring-around the rosy; those famous denizens of the White Horse Tavern, Dylan Thomas--who breakfasted on beer and lunched on brandy--and Jack Kerouac, typing his long roll of a novel. Anais Nin appears nude, which, Gallagher points out, was her usual state. Norman Mailer admires himself in a reflecting pond. Here, too, are Djuna Barnes and Edna St. Vincent Millay, Jackson Pollack and James Baldwin, Thelonius Monk, Bob Dylan, and Joan Baez, Andy Warhol and Fran Lebowitz, Margaret Sanger, Marlon Brando, and many others.
The Mural at the Waverly Inn is an enduring delight to treasure and to give.
Edward Sorel is the author of many books, among them First Encounters; Unauthorized Portraits; and Literary Lives. His caricatures appear regularly in Vanity Fair, The Nation, and Atlantic Monthly. He and his wife live in New York City.
Dorothy Gallagher is the author of Hannah’s Daughters; All the Right Enemies; The Life and Murder of Carlo Tresca; and two volumes of memoirs, How I Came into My Inheritance and Strangers in the House. She has lived in and around the Village and now lives on Manhattan’s Upper West Side with her husband.