Remembering Maggie

Maggie Berkvist 9/17/28 – 12/9/22

If you know me, and have been to @leftbanknyc, then you know about my dear pal Maggie. A pioneer woman in every way shape and form. I met Maggie my first couple of days working at Left Bank. She’d come in, and before she even got settled in-the servers had her drink (a heavy pour of French rose with a side of ice and a spoon) delivered and waiting for her. Everyone who walked in or passed by seemed to know who she was. I remember thinking, I can’t wait to become friends with her, to be able to sit with her at her usual window seat and watch the world pass by. We shared a love for dogs, for Left Bank and keeping up with the neighborhood gossip. She left England and set sail on The Queen Elizabeth 2 and found her way to NYC by way of Canada, until finally settling into her West Village apartment in 1967. She was a photo editor for the @nytimes, traveled the Caribbean after retirement and carried around a small map in her purse of the Western World with check marks on all the islands she’d ever been to. She lived a long, beautiful life and was loved by so many. She is survived by her beloved cat Jefferson, who is still looking for his new forever home, though in good hands until then. She was earthbound for 94 years and it was an absolute honor to know her. —Danielle Avvento


I can’t even remember not knowing Maggie. I know she watched me grow up. I moved into our building when I finished college in 1982. I shared an apt with a gentleman who lived beneath Maggie at the time. She usually had more than one cat and usually three. We would listen to them tearing around upstairs having cat fun I suppose. I later moved to an apt on the 4th floor and I suppose that might be when I started to care for the kitties when she would go out of town. I was fascinated by her life and her travels back then. I’ve since moved to the 6th floor and gotten married, had four dogs, three cats and a turtle along with two kids who are now 29 and 24 years old. Most recently I’d usually catch Maggie on her way to and/or from her evening cocktail hour at LB. Maggie was the essence of ageless. I miss knowing she’s downstairs. —Joan ZingarelI

Left Bank. WestView. Millie. Hurricane Sandy. Birds. Photography. The West Village. These were the carousel rides of our conversations. It was ten years ago—soon after Left Bank opened on Perry Street, and soon after I began writing my monthly articles for WestView News  about birding in the West Village with my ornery corgi Millie—when I met Maggie. It is likely BECAUSE of those articles that Maggie first addressed me tugging on Millie’s leash, with the endearing, enduring moniker,”Are you the Bird Man?” We bonded over our monthly contributions to the paper which led to Left Bank owners Laurence Edelman and Micheline Gaulin suggesting we combine our photographs for the one year anniversary Lights Out for Sandy Festival. Maggie’s photos documented the sensible candle-lit warmth of indoor camaraderie during that four-day blackout while my shots were taken outside leaning into the storm from places that I really shouldn’t have been. Maggie was my date to see my shows. We celebrated birthdays together. We laughed and cried at the travails of Millie’s latest tomfoolery or the most recent political drama. We exchanged “Have you seen…?” anecdotes about a new addition, or loss, to a street in our perambulations. How many times did we chat at “her” spot inside the door at Left Bank? Never enough. Maggie was the perpetual, benevolent spirit of the West Village. The tilt of her head and twinkle in her eye made each of us feel like we were the best person we could be with a fascinating story to tell. Hers was a life delightedly lived. —Keith Michael

I first met Maggie through WestView. We discovered, apart from both of us having grown up in England, that we also loved animals and the north fork of Long Island. We used to attend the contributors’ meetings but soon tired of them. Not too much else I can say, except that she enjoyed watching the scene from the Left Bank where she enjoyed her nightly ‘tipple’!
—Peter White

I will miss her and her photos of the West Village. She loved the West Village and, for some reason, had an inordinate fondness for dogs of the neighborhood. She was a regular at The Left Bank—in fact, she stood by them until after the end as an urn with her ashes are on the top shelf at the Left Bank, next to a glass of her favorite wine.
—Alec Pruchnicki

I have a picture Maggie ’left’ in my mind. Maggie, a phenomenal woman, talented photographer full of wit and wisdom I’ll carry with me for my lifetime. Thank you Maggie for your gift!
—Joy Pape

Maggie’s cheerful welcoming smile warmed my heart on the street. I often encountered her at the Abingdon Square Greenmarket, loaded with her shopping. Her portraits in WestView had superb balances of color and form. She was a true joyful artist.
—Barry Benepe