|Depression era sign, Lunch Hour NYC (NYPL.org)|
|All about peanut butter for lunch (NYPL.org)|
|Fr. Divine, immortalized by Ralph Ellison (NYPL.org)|
The word lunch is adopted in that ‘glass of fashion’, Almacks, and luncheon is avoided as unsuitable to the polished society there exhibited), and still in its salad days if salads hardly made any menus but those of the penniless, but by the end of the century it had gained currency and become the name of the midday meal all English-speakers know today.
|The automat case handle (NYPL.org)|
|The automat case (NYPL.org)|
|Opening one of the doors, with free|
recipes inside (NYPL.org)
There's a little section devoted to the Algonquin Hotel and its legendary "round table," with drawings and photographs of notable attendees, including Alexander Woollacott and Dorothy Parker. There is a section devoted to African American lunchers, with an immense reproduction of a cafeteria packed with black diners. I grew up hearing "Why don't you go sell an apple?" as a snide remark, and the exhibit includes materials, like the poster above, detailing how this was for the most destitute of the destitute in the city (and others), at least temporarily, an employment option. Another wall features archival material and historical documents on dieting, which gained in popularity in the post-World War II era. Not only New York-based magazines, especially those geared towards women, but some restaurants attempted to capitalize on the growing interest in growing thinner and more svelte. At the exhibit's end perch artists' books, which show how great a subject lunch food can be in the right creative hands. Across from it, a multi-screen wall flashes images recent lunch-takers in the city, capturing and underlining the diversity and commonalities that have marked New York mid-day dining habits for nearly two centuries. The exhibit is one of the few free (visual, tactile, intellectual) lunches you can get in New York, and you won't gain a pound enjoying it.
|A menu from 1954, I believe (NYPL.org)|
|Ladies who lunch, in 2012 (NYPL.org)|