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 in the late nineteenth century. It was filled with German clubs, theaters, libraries, schools, churches, and synagogues, as well as 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

When celebrity publicist Gary Stevens arrived for dinner at Sun Luck one evening in the 1950s, the manager asked him whether he knew the man sitting at a nearby table who came to the Chinese restaurant about three times a week. Seeing that it was Irving Berlin, Stevens walked over to say hello. After relating the manager’s theory that the songwriter was a garment manufacturer on Seventh Avenue, 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.