Mazie of the Bowery


Mazie of the Bowery, © by Todd Webb. From Webb retrospective exhibition at Museum of the City of New York. Link below.

Todd Webb is not a familiar name to me. He was a fine art, large format street photographer in 1940s New York City, a contemporary of Weegee the Famous and friends with many of the leading photographers of the day, Alfred Stieglitz, Harry Callahan, Berenice Abbott, Helen Levitt, and Lisette Model.

The shot of Mazie of the Bowery is astonishing.  It’s just how I pictured her, one of Joseph Mitchell’s Profile subjects in The New Yorker. Mazie was a fantastic New York character and famous on the Bowery for her generosity.

Saint Mazie by Jami Attenberg

a novel based on Mazie, 2015.

The movie theater she owned was home to hundreds of bums, homeless, down-and-out alkies–the life blood of the Bowery. The Mitchell collection “Up In the Old Hotel” from the 1990s is a great place to start if you like your journalism with a pinch of literature. Mazie is my all time favorite New Yorker. A great biopic subject, no doubt.

Link to New Yorker archive. Mazie by Joseph Mitchell. 12/21/1940  (New Yorker subscribers)

I’ve re-read Mitchell’s Up in the Old Hotel cover to cover, a few times. I fall in love with Mazie every time.




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