History buff who made career in magazines James McVey, 80


James Daniel McVey, a lifelong New Yorker, died at his home in Riverdale on Dec. 28, 2017.

Well-known around Riverdale as an avid tennis player, he cornered a foursome for more than 50 years, playing every Sunday morning, but never at the expense of his devotion to the Riverdale Presbyterian Church, where he served as an ordained elder for many years.

He also will be remembered for his service on the board of directors of the Windsors complex along Henry Hudson Parkway, having served as president on two different occasions. 

He was a serious New York history buff, often citing historical facts around any neighborhood where he happened to find himself. He made a point of walking across every single bridge that connected Manhattan to the outer boroughs, the last one being the Brooklyn Bridge.

Born March 25, 1937, he attended public schools and graduated from Baruch College in 1961 with a degree in marketing. As a youth, he was active in the Boy Scouts, and later served proudly with the U.S. Marines. He spent many vacations taking canoe trips on Long Lake in the Adirondacks.

His professional career focused on the magazine industry, starting in advertising sales with Scholastic, Newsweek and Sports Afield, and moving on to publish with Discover and Insight magazines. He participated in the launch of The Weekly Standard, a political magazine with News America Corp.

The consummate host, he entertained clients and friends alike at numerous Super Bowls and the U.S. Open, sharing his personal passions. His quick wit and ability to make everyone around him feel at ease were essential to his “second career” as a restaurant manager with the Quality Brands Group — first at the Post House, and later with Smith & Wollensky, where his Marine photo has been displayed behind the bar since his days at Newsweek. 

He retired from Quality Brands Group in December 2016.

He leaves a large and loving “family” of friends and neighbors. He is survived by his wife of 61 years, Judith McVey of Riverdale, as well as siblings Robert McVey, Nancy Walker and Eugene McVey. He was preceded in death by his beloved daughter Meredith, who died of a rare blood disease in 1994.

A memorial service will be held in celebration of his life on Jan. 27 at 11 a.m., at the Riverdale Presbyterian Church, 4765 Henry Hudson Parkway. 

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Meredith Music Fund at Riverdale Presbyterian Church.

James McVey