The Playgoer: "The Unofficial Mayor of Broadway"

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Thursday, January 04, 2007

"The Unofficial Mayor of Broadway"

Vincent Sardi--as in "Sardi's" (est. 1921)--died today.

His notice reads like an obituary for the Great White Way itself.

Here's a glimpse of a time gone by:

If Sardi’s was a club, its rules were mysterious. Only Mr. Sardi knew them, in fact, and only he could explain why, for many years, one of the best tables in the restaurant was held for Mr. and Mrs. Ira Katzenberg. The Katzenbergs , who by the early 1950’s had attended virtually every Broadway opening for 30 years, took their seats at Sardi’s at 7:15, placing an order that never varied: a brandy and a bottle of Saratoga water. The bill came to $1.62. Mr. Sardi called them his favorite customers. “People like them keep the theater alive, and the theater is their life,” he said. “The least we can do is give them the best table in the house.”

The closest you can get to that today for pre-theatre convenience is a $2 espresso in a paper cup at the Starbucks stand-up joint on 46th St.

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