Sunday, July 30, 2017

11 West 42nd Street - today

Last year, on a trip to New York City, I went on a little spy expedition to take a look at the League's published address of 11 West 42nd Street, to see if anything recognizable remained after - what? almost 90 years. Here is what I found.

11 West 42nd St. is directly across 42nd St. from the New York Public Library, with its lions Patience and Fortitude standing guard, so we are definitely in the literary district.

The building's exterior is unchanged from when it was built. Doesn't this look like it could be Superman's Daily Planet?

The grand entrance. The octagonal sign confirms we are in the right place. Oh my, look at the carvings surrounding the doorway! This must be the doorway through which the staff of The Mystery League reported to work.

A better view of the door surround. Note the art deco style of writing - all the rage when the League's books were published.

The door was open, so in we went, and through the revolving door.

The lobby is open to the public. Elevators are on the left. On the right, out of view here, is a directory of businesses having space in the building; and an attendant/guard who will check you in - and maybe grant you admittance beyond the velvet rope. Since we had no legitimate business in the building, we did not go any further than the lobby.

Be still, my heart! What an artifact! The central outgoing mailbox is still here! The glass tubes extend to all upper floors, and mail can be slid into a slot on any floor and whoosh down to a crash landing here. I remember (in other buildings) the fun of seeing mail go tearing down through intermediate floors. This would be the very mailbox in which the League's outgoing mail was posted. We imagined contracts and royalty checks to authors, answers to reader inquiries, and notifications to Baffle winners all passing through this ornate receptacle.

I hope you have enjoyed this little visit to 11 West 42nd. St.! If you find yourself in NYC, step across 42nd street from the New York Public Library and take a peek for yourself.


  1. How very cool! If I make it bake to NYC (I've been twice), I may have to make a stop here.

  2. So, all of these books no longer have a publisher attached?

    1. The Mystery League went out of business in 1933. The books are still available periodically on the used market. Some may be available online for Kindle, not sure. Some may have been reprinted by other publishers as well.

  3. Wow, how neat...... love the buildings but I don't think I will ever make it to NY......

  4. I have all 30 books and all but 2 in original dj. Hope to make it to 42nd street some day.