Friday, December 31, 2010

Sylvester Kränzchen

New York City, 

New York was, after Berlin and Vienna, the third largest German-populated city in the world during the late nineteenth century. It was filled with German clubs, theaters, libraries, schools, churches, and synagogues, along with many restaurants, beer halls, and delicatessens. In fact, there were about six hundred German delicatessens in New York, most of them on the East Side.1 

Friday, December 24, 2010

Potatoes à la Santa Claus

New York City,

By the late 1870s, half of those staying in New York hotels were permanent residents; houses were simply too expensive for most people. However, at about this time a new idea arrived from Paris that began to solve the housing problem. The first French flats were built on Eighteenth Street, and before long, apartment buildings were popping up all over the city, especially on the outskirts of the town above Forty-second Street.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

God Bless America

New York City, 
ca. 1956

One evening in the 1950s, when celebrity publicist Gary Stevens arrived at a Chinese restaurant in New York he frequented named Sun Luck, the manager greeted him by asking whether he knew the man sitting at a nearby table. The manager said he came there about three times a week; Perhaps he was a big Seventh Avenue manufacturer? Stevens looked over and saw that the unidentified diner was the songwriter Irving Berlin and walked over to say hello. When he related the manager’s theory, Berlin put his glasses on the table and said, “Gary, that’s very funny. Most people think I look like an accountant.”1, 2

Friday, December 10, 2010

Liberty Pudding

Ellis Island, 
...“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
—Emma Lazarus, 1883

The Statue of Liberty, officially named “Liberty Enlightening the World,” was created to commemorate our alliance with France during the American Revolution. Over the years this iconic symbol of freedom also came to represent the willingness of the United States to open its doors to immigrants. There were a number of good reasons why this idea came about.