The view south from West 43rd Street

The New Yorker’s supercilious first mention of North Carolina in 1925 proved to be typical of those for decades to come:

“The depressing motto of the Charlotte Theatre, Charlotte, North Carolina, is ‘Attend the Movies Regularly. In No Other Way Can You Get So Close to Life for So Little.’ ”

— Aug. 30, 1947

“Overheard in the Metropolitan Museum, a lady in front of Whistler’s ‘Mother: Arrangement in Grey and Black’ (speaking in a deep Southern drawl): ‘I don’t see why there’s all this fuss about Whistler’s mother. She’s just one of those old McNeills from North Carolina.’ ”

— May 1, 1954

“The Sears, Roebuck store in Charlotte, North Carolina, recently advertised ‘Plastic-like Leather Handbags.’ ”

— April 15, 1961


My bedside stack of  New Yorkers (with blow-in cards in situ) is as high as anyone’s, but the editors’ dismissive depiction of pre-Sun Belt  Southerners often made me wince…. OK, sometimes I also laughed.

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