What A Time It Was!

Leonard Lyons and the Golden Age of New York Nightlife

Release Date
Format Hardcover 480 pages 6 x 9 inches 66 black-and-white photographs
ISBN-13 978-0-78921-235-1 SKU 1042641

A star-studded follow-up to "Stories My Father Told Me," with hundreds of new anecdotes about celebrities from Greta Garbo to Gore Vidal

This remarkable collection of stories, hand-picked from the archive of legendary New York Post columnist Leonard Lyons by his son, film critic Jeffrey Lyons, will transport readers back to the sparkling peak of New York City nightlife. This was the time when notables of every sort—movie stars, studio moguls, directors, writers, politicians, comedians, athletes, gangsters, diplomats, Broadway legends, and artists—gathered nightly at such famed restaurants and nightclubs as Sardi's, the Stork Club, and the Copacabana. From 1934 to 1974, Leonard Lyons was a nightly fixture at these clubs, befriending celebrities of all stripes and gathering exclusive anecdotes for his syndicated newspaper column, The Lyons Den.

What a Time It Was! offers candid portraits of stars and statesmen at work and at play—especially at play—but still, effortlessly, larger than life. Illustrated with snapshots and glamour shots, it offers a unique window onto the lives of iconic figures from Ethel Barrymore and Muhammad Ali to Tennessee Williams and Jackie Kennedy, as well as their favorite haunts. Here are four decades of popular culture seen from the front row, by a man who said, “Give me lights and sound and people, and music into the night. Late into the night!”

If you thought you knew everything about Woody Allen, Joan Rivers, the Roosevelts, and some of New York’s most famous nightclubs, hotels, and gin joints, guess again. No one knew these people and places better than Leonard Lyons.


The stories in What a Time It Was! cover nearly 500 pages and about three times as many V.I.P.s of the day. The East Hampton Star



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