About Jim Brady

Diamond Jim Brady

Diamond Jim Brady

James Buchanan Brady, better known as “Diamond Jim” was born August 19, 1856 over a saloon owned by his father, Daniel, at the corner of Cedar and West Streets on the lower west side of Manhattan. His mother and father had fled Ireland in the 1840s during which time a million and a half of their countrymen had died of starvation and another million had emigrated.

In spite of his humble beginnings, young Jim Brady quickly amassed a fortune during the boom years of the 1880s mainly by selling equipment to an expanding railroad industry. His unique sense of style, his winning charm and his constant pursuit of pleasure reflected the mood of an era which was to become forever legendary as the Gay 90s and as his fortune kept pace with his ever increasing appetite for the finer things in life, Jim Brady soon emerged as the most flamboyant man-about-town in New York society at the turn of the century.

In appearance he was an imposing figure, his considerable stature enhanced by the best attire money could buy imported from Paris and London to his personal specifications; on his fingers an illumination of diamonds and on his arm the most beautiful women of the era, including the legendary Lillian Russell.

Whatever his movements the mood was extravagant and the proportions enormous. Never was it more pronounced than when he came to sit down at the table. Dinner might begin with a gallon of chilled orange juice and finish with five pounds of chocolates. In a saddle of mutton, a dozen Venison chops, a roasting chicken with caper sauce, two Canvasback ducks r mallards, pheasants or partridges and a twelve-egg soufflé.

In 1916 the New York Society of Restaurant owners gave a banquet for Diamond Jim, the best customer they ever had or ever would have.

Jim Brady died on April 13, 1917 and is buried at Greenwood Cemetery in Brooklyn, New York.