Help us get to over 4,000 biographies in 2018.

If you know of a past magician not listed in MagicPedia, start a New Biography for them or Email us your suggestion.

New York Magic Table

From Magicpedia, the free online encyclopedia for magicians by magicians.
Jump to: navigation, search

New York Magic Table is an informal lunchtime gathering of magicians in New York City that has been going on since 1944.

Like the Chicago Roundtable of the 1930s at Drake Restaurant on Dearborn Street, this luncheon get-together is a place to brag about the great shows you did, exchange ideas and tips on new tricks, and try out a few of the moves. Amateurs rubbed shoulders with the pros and all performers and their guests are welcomed.

Sometimes 20 or more magicians show up. Visiting magicians from around the world, local regulars, and the guests of S.A.M members. The likes of comedian Henny Youngman would come by to kid with Tony Slydini.


Paul Morris of the SAM Parent Assembly #1 Hospiltality Committee started a New York Magic Table at Riggs' Restaurant. This lasted just one day as the location was unfavorable. Some weeks later, looking for a more suitable place, Larry Arcuri made the necessary arrangements with the Dixie Hotel near Times Sqaure and what was then called the "Dixie Table" came into being. [1] [2]

There were no rules, dues, or any other requirements other than that every guest must be friendly and a good fellow. [3]

In 1966, the Hotel Dixie decided, for business reasons, to operate its dining room for dinner business only. A new location was quickly arranged for with the management of the famous Rosoff's Restaurant, a landmark since 1899, located on West 43rd Street, just east of Broadway, and in the heart of Times Square.A table has been set aside in the upstairs Marquee Room for the exclusive use of magicians with a special waitress to provide quick service. [4]

Joe Barnett reigned as the unofficial "dean". Joe's column "Around the New York Magic Table" in the M-U-M magazine began in 1966 and ran until he had a stroke in 1987.

In 1976, the table moved to the Scandia Restauarant in the Picadilly Hotel, 45th Street west of Broadway, about a block down from Tannen's Magic Shop. The hotel is located in the heart of the theatre district and across the street from Shubert Alley. A special alcove will be reserved each day for magicians at lunchtime. The food was a bit pricey and the ambiance not quite as informal as it could have been. [5]

Then around 1979, the guys turned to the Gaiety Delicatessen on 47th Street in the heart of the Times Square theatrical district. Magicians were given a 10% discount on their lunch. The back of the deli had small tables and chairs, which were always filled with performers. [6]

Years later the restaurant found itself in some financial difficulty and in 1986 we moved a few doors down to the Edison Hotel Coffee Shop. After Joe Barnett died in 1989, the title of dean was passed to Mike Bornstein, who lived only a few blocks away. Since the theater district restaurants were always busy on matinee days they did not meet on Wednesdays. [7]

After Mike Bornstein was killed by a truck on his way back from lunch, the "old" table died with him and it was never the same since. Tom Klem refused to allow the tradition to end and promised to act as host one day a week. On any Friday, you can still meet performers such as Eric DeCamps, Bob Friedhoffer and Sal Perotta.[8]

Other New York City gathering places

Other informal gathering in New York city on Saturday afternoons includes Cafe Rustico II, a blcok from Tannen's Magic and Maui's Tacos Restaurant located at 330 5th Avenue (near 32nd Street.)

External Links


  1. SEE HERE, MR. DART..., New Conjurers' Magazine October, 1947
  2. New York Magic Table by By Laurence Arcuri, Linking Ring, September 1945
  3. THE MAGIC TABLE,New Conjurers' Magazine, September 1947
  4. NEW YORK MAGIC TABLE TALES By Joe Barnett, MUM, January 1966
  5. MUM, June 1976
  6. AROUND THE NEW YORK MAGIC TABLE by Joe Barnett,MUM, May 1979
  7. AROUND THE NEW YORK MAGIC TABLE by Joe Barnett, MUM, October 1986
  8. Table for 23 by George Schindler, MUM, January 2008