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Eats in Early New York

April 14, 2008 | CUNY Lecture Series, New York City College of Technology

In the first half of the 19th century, public dining options in New York City ballooned from a handful of taverns and “pleasure gardens” to thousands of oyster stands, short-order cafes, ladies’ lunch rooms and restaurants, including Delmonico’s Steak House, considered the nation’s first fine-dining establishment. “People forget that New York was not born with the Zagat guide,” observes cultural historian Cindy Lobell, “Restaurants have a history.” Speaking at an event sponsored by the New York City College of Technology’s Hospitality Management program, Lobell, an assistant professor at Lehman College, traces the evolution of restaurants and their vital link to economic, social and cultural growth in 19th-century New York City.
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