Restaurants and the City

My favorite thing to make for dinner is reservations.
—My mother-in-law
(This is a lie. She will never make the call herself.)

Schwartz's Restaurant, 1936. A vertical sign tucked in with the skyscrapers of downtown near Wall Street.
Schwartz’s Restaurant, 1936

Restaurants didn’t always exist, not even in New York City, which has long been one of the gastronomic capitals of the world.

As the city grew in the 19th century, through the Industrial Revolution, the way people lived and worked experienced a cultural shift that still plays out today.

Circumstances, gender, and social status played roles in shaping the early days of the free-standing, fixed menu eatery.

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Think You Know Bagels?

When I was little, we lived in a suburban community northwest of Baltimore. We were Jewish, some of my neighbors were Jewish, most of my activities took place at the local Jewish Community Center. I didn’t know I was different from most of the population until I went to elementary school.

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