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 

Saturday, December 18, 2010

God Bless America

New York City, 
ca. 1956

Irving Berlin published his first song in 1907 and four years later, Alexander’s Ragtime Band became his first big hit. Over the course of his long career, he composed over 1,000 songs, such as Easter Parade, There’s No Business Like Show Business, White Christmas, and God Bless America, a paean to his beloved country. As composer Jerome Kern once remarked, “Irving Berlin has no place in American music—he is American music.” And while Berlin spent a lot of time in Hollywood, he regarded himself as a New Yorker whose favorite haunts included Gallagher’s, Lindy’s and Sun Luck, a Chinese restaurant where he dined several times a week.1

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.