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Discovering Call It Sleep


Bagels in the basement
Peter Mayer Publisher
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The other thing was that there was somebody who worked in the garage with me who may still be alive. Eddie Adler was his name and he lived on the Lower East Side as did I. I lived on 10th Street or 8th Street between Avenue C and D, $10 a month was my flat, and he lived nearby on a street that I think was called Szold Place, S-Z-O-L-D, Szold Place. He was married and he drove a cab also for George's Garage in Harlem, and since we lived near each other when we turned in our cabs at night, well, at 4.00 in the morning I think it was, he was so rattled by this driving because people sometimes jumped out from cars and you, obviously, didn't want to hit them and didn't, but he was very rattled and he would always ask me to walk his dog with him, which I did. I think he was married, but I don't recall ever meeting his wife but I met his dog, and we would go for a walk and he would calm down from 8 or 12 hours of driving. I was perfectly all right, but very much awake.

And there was a place in my building, I think I lived at 394 East 8th Street, I think, and there was a bagel bakery in the basement and I would go in after walking the dog with Eddie and flip quarters with the bakers for the bagels. And if I was right I got four bagels I think, and if I was wrong I think I had to pay extra, double or something like that. And it worked out so that sometimes I got bagels and sometimes I didn't, or sometimes I got them free. I don't remember any longer, but they were very good bagels and it was one of the last bagel bakeries in New York. It was in the basement of my building.

Peter Mayer (1936-2018) was an American independent publisher who was president of The Overlook Press/Peter Mayer Publishers, Inc, a New York-based publishing company he founded with his father in 1971. At the time of Overlook's founding, Mayer was head of Avon Books, a large New York-based paperback publisher. There, he successfully launched the trade paperback as a viable alternative to mass market and hardcover formats. From 1978 to 1996 he was CEO of Penguin Books, where he introduced a flexible style in editorial, marketing, and production. More recently, Mayer had financially revived both Ardis, a publisher of Russian literature in English, and Duckworth, an independent publishing house in the UK.

Listeners: Christopher Sykes

Christopher Sykes is an independent documentary producer who has made a number of films about science and scientists for BBC TV, Channel Four, and PBS.

Tags: cab driving, bag bakery, dog walking

Duration: 2 minutes, 30 seconds

Date story recorded: September 2014-January 2015

Date story went live: 12 November 2015