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Frank Gruber’s New York

pozole madnessBeadel Debevoise says… whuh? “There are several million extras in the black and white B-movie called Mondo Manhattan, lifestyles of the hungry and the homeless, dying within plate glass inches of the semi-rich eating in the trendy restaurants. A backdrop of dreams, old neighborhoods and the Old New York of Damon Runyon, Ben Hecht and Frank Gruber turning into a sepia past.” Thus spake Ricky Luanda, aka Mr. Mondo, aka the singer for Chain Gang, quite likely the greatest– and certainly the most mysterious– New York City punk rock band of them all. But who was Frank Gruber? Even I, fiction editor, & Miss Greenpoint Noir Dream Date 1987, can claim only passing familiarity. Gruber makes two appearances in Geoffrey O’Brien’s Hardboiled America: Lurid Paberbacks and the Masters of Noir, one a reference to the “breezy shalincoln stylemus” of Gruber’s character, Johnny Fletcher, and twice in the chronology, for The French Key and The Laughing Fox, both published in 1940. Alas, neither my own shelves here on Suydam Street nor those of the WWIB library contain these volumes. Luanda is not one to be doubted, so I wonder precisely what Gruber works he’s thinking of?


Zyczymy Smacznego’s New York includes the genius red pozole at Los Casa de los Tacos on 1st Avenue in East Harlem & a half hour or so walk away– shout out to the Willis Avenue Bridge, what’s good?– the Lincoln Bakery on Morris Avenue in mighty Mott Haven, The Bronx. Cafe con lechon anyone?

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