MI6 digs up one of 007's in-the-field postcards to Loelia Ponsonby whilst on the Live And Let Die mission...

Postcards From Bond - New York
31st May 2009

Ian Fleming's second James Bond novel, "Live And Let Die", sees 007 on the tail of the Harlem Gangster, Mr. Big. He teams up with the lovely yet mysterious Solitaire and CIA man Felix Leiter to get to the bottom of Mr. Big's voodoo trickery. MI6 dusts off the archive and uncovers unseen material from Bond's mission in New York City.

Live And Let Die Locations

Above: Never-before-seen postcards from the MI6 archives - postmarked New York 1952...

Live and Let Die Locations
Bond touches down in New York at Idlewild airport (later renamed JFK in 1963) and is escorted through immigration by the ever-efficient FBI. He ends up with his passport being stamped in the black Buick that awaits him and his FBI escort. 007 is whisked to a grand hotel in St Regis by the Buick driver. The location Fleming describes, "at the corner of Fifth Avenue and 55th Street," remains a prestigious hotel nearby to the modern-day Trump Tower and Museum of Modern Art.

Bond is showed to a suitably lavish penthouse suit where Felix Leiter, his ally from the "Casino Royale" mission, is waiting. The CIA agent shouts James Bond a martini (which he mixes at the in-room bar) and then the friends dine on "American cooking at its rare best."

That evening, Bond dutifully researches the Voodoo cult that the suspect Mr. Big appears to use as an added incentive to do his bidding. The next day, Leiter and Bond head up-town to Harlem. First they enter Sugar Ray's on Seventh Avenue at 124th Street for a Scotch and soda (not 123rd as stated by Fleming).

The restaurant was owned by world champion boxer Sugar Ray Robinson in an area once renowned for its jazz clubs and after finishing their drink they walk up Seventh Avenue to Ma Frazier's for the "best food in Harlem, or at any rate it used to be." After a dinner of Little Neck Clams and Fried Chicken Maryland they take a taxi to the Savoy Ballroom for another Scotch and soda.

Bond and Leiter escape unscathed from this establishment but quickly duck into the famed Savoy (founded in 1926) and then into Yeah Man, where they sense they are being followed. Mr. Big's goons trace the agents to one of the mobster's own clubs.

The pair return to their hotel bloodied and bruised after their encounter with Mr Big and the telepathic Solitaire. Having exhausted their investigation in New York they decide to go to St Petersburg in Florida, Leiter traveling by air and Bond on the Silver Phantom train.


On the train Bond is miffed by the lack of substance of the onboard service. He orders "scrambled eggs and bacon and sausages, a salad, and some of the domestic Camembert that is one of the most welcome surprises on American menus." He order two martinis and finds the quantity "inadequate," so orders two more.

Bond rendezvous on the Phantom with the alluring yet mysterious Solitaire. They change trains at Jacksonville and leave the train again at Clearwater, before catching a taxi to the suburban Everglades. Here the duo is united with Felix, who flew down the east coast ahead of 007.

Bond investigates Mr. Big's bate and worm factory on the waterfront The factory is named Ouroboros, after the ancient symbol of a serpent or a dragon eating its own tail, which represents the cyclic nature of the universe.

One of the great contrasts that is noticeable between New York and Florida is that Bond and Leiter have no time for the restaurants, bars and jazz clubs once they arrive in Florida. The attention to detail is so prominent in the New York chapters but it seems that Fleming was unimpressed by what he say in St Petersburg - there is little to flesh out the descriptions of the scenes that take place here.

In Jamaica, 007 is met by John Strangways - the MI6 man in Kingston. In the foothills of the Blue Mountains, Bond and Strangways make a plan to investigate Mr. Big. Bond takes residence in the Beau Dessert, near to Mr Big's "Isle of Surprise" base in the middle of Shark Bay on the North coast. A local fisherman Quarrel - the Cayman Islander - trains Bond for a grueling swim across the bay and onto the island. Although there is no reference to Shark Bay on the map - it may well be a fictitious name - the location lies between Port Maria and Oracabessa, close to GoldenEye and possibly what is known today as "James Bond Beach".

MI6 Literary Locations Guide
Harlem, NY, USA
Tampa Bay, FL, USA
Shark's Bay, Jamaica

Related Articles
Locations Coverage
Literary Index
Live And Let Die

  Postcards From Bond
Delve into the MI6 archives and uncover never before seen postcards from Bond's missions around the world to various MI6 personal. Recipiants include M, Moneypenny, Loelia Ponsonby and May - 007's housekeeper.
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