Mitchell wrote with a “fondness for the eccentricities of New York life,” as The Associated Press put it in their 1996 obituary. His stories, mostly published in The New Yorker, are full of saloonkeepers, Bowery bums, oystermen and oysters, beefsteak cooks, crazy storytellers, and the uncream of Manhattan.
Mitchell also had one of the great king-sized writer’s blocks at the end of his career. From 1964 until his death in 1996, he went into his New Yorker office daily, and his fellow writers would hear him tapping away at the typewriter… but he never published another new word.
He did, however, publish many of his old stories in the 1992 collection Up in the Old Hotel.
(Coincidentally, the “Old Hotel” of the title is now being renovated.)