Mr. Isidore and the Newsstand
• • Above ground, the Sixth Avenue elevated train creased the pavement with permanent perpendicular angles. The command of perpetual shadow-play felt perhaps like a suffocation.
• • A steady Greenwich Village presence, Mr. Isidore was a hard-working sidewalk vendor, a purveyor of good humor and the latest publications to busy New Yorkers. His newsstand was next to the Ninth Street tube station, not far from Jefferson Market Police Court.
• • Here is where the latest headlines about Mae West's legal woes were hawked. This is also where Starr Faithfull [1906 — 1931] bought a newspaper from Mr. Isidore. When the police questioned him, his detailed description of her stylish clothing, French-style manicure, and jewelry helped investigators identify her badly bruised corpse that washed ashore after a Long Island boat party.
• • Take a look at the newsstand — — the last familiar site Starr saw in her neighborhood. Mr. Isidore sold her a paper, as usual, and she vanished into the Ninth Street tube station with a wave of her hand.
• • In the play "Courting Mae West," the newsstand is a prominent feature — — and the news dealer character Declan Rourke employs Mr. Isidore.
• • Here's a brief excerpt from their argument in Act II, Scene 3 (set during August 1929 just before the Wall Street crash).
• • Declan: Not a word to my daughter, Isidore. She'd tell Shortie. Ha! We're this close to a pot of gold.
• • Isidore: Oy vey! Made for this mishegoss I am not. I shouldn't mix in. My Gittel, by her it's...
• • Declan: Sweet suffering St. Patrick! You told your wife, Isidore. What if Gittel should slip?
• • Isidore: With gelt, she's as sure-footed as a Russian ballerina before Stalin. Asleep she can count money. By her, we should call the police. (stage whisper) The reward got bigger.
• • Declan: Minute the cops have this news, the reporters will be on them. But Mr. P. is holding the front page for US. We'll give the printer a nice head start. Then we visit the precinct. Leisurely.
• • Isidore: This cockamaimy scheme — (pause) my sister Sophie thinks we should get a lawyer to...
• • Declan: Your sister knows! I pay you to sell papers and you're in a drugstore screwed to a payphone.
• • Isidore: Hocking me who is hardly on the phone even. Just a bissel. Besides I got the goods — not you. . . .
— — excerpt — —
• • Copyright © 2008 "Courting Mae West" — — by LindaAnn Loschiavo
• • Come up and see Mae during July in New York City!
• • http://CourtingMaeWest.blogspot.com/
Courting Mae West
• • Photo: • • Courting Mae West • • newsstand • • 1920s