Jimmy Breslin once wrote a biography of newspaper legend Damon Runyan, who immortalized New York earlier in the 20th century. For another take on the Runyan era, check out "This Place on Third Avenue: The New York Stories of John McNulty."

The son of Irish immigrants, raised in Lawrence, Massachusetts, McNulty made his way to the New York newspaper world in the 1940s. It was there he stumbled upon Tim and Joe Costello's, an old saloon at 3rd Avenue and 44th Street.

It is the voices of saloon folk - laborers, cops, dreamers, drunks - that make McNulty's poignant stories both comic and tragic. Some of these "stories" are mere sketches. (Many first appeared in The New Yorker.)

Nevertheless, McNulty's writing - along with touching photos by Morris Engel - wonderfully capture a time gone by in New York City.

(Counterpoint / $23 / 188 pages)

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