08 October 2012

All About Lunch

When I have a little extra time on my hands, I like to visit museums. This week, I'd like to share with you the museums/exhibits I've been to recently. Maybe like me, you'll discover something new or find a sliver of inspiration.

Have you ever been to the New York Public Library? It's an architectural beauty on 5th Avenue and 42nd Street. Now, if you've filed away libraries into your list of "extinct objects" {like rotary phones and cassette tapes}, don't let this discourage a visit. In its website, it exclaims:

"Libraries are the memory of humankind, irreplaceable repositories 
of documents of human thought and action."

Please tell me I'm not the only one who's fallen in love this line! 

Two lions proudly guard its doors. One is named "Patience". 

The other, Fortitude.

The Rose Main Reading Room, Stephen A. Schwarzman Building
via NYPL
It's a functioning library with reading rooms, complete with high ceilings and frescoes, chandeliers, arched windows, wood furniture, and shelves upon shelves of books.

The're a lovely gift shop on the first floor, and rooms that hold talks, classes and special events.

 There's also a space where exhibitions are staged.

There's an on-going exhibit called "Lunch Hour NYC". How TADA! that something as blah and ordinary as lunch becomes the main theme for a collection of displays. In a nutshell, "The exhibition explores the ways in which New York City -- work-obsessed, time-obsessed, and in love with ingenious ways to make money -- reinvented lunch in its own image." 

New York City has always been a trend-setter {food included}. It's fun to find out the history of everyday things, don't you agree?

The Cafeteria: the concept began at the Childs' Lunch Room, a self-service restaurant where the diner takes a tray, moves it on a counter, chooses food from a selection, pays a very affordable amount, and is able sit anywhere. 

The Automat: addresses the need for speed. Just drop money in a slot and food magically appears!

The Deli: opened by German immigrants who sold cured meats and salads of their homelands. Now, "deli" refers to any store selling cured meats and sandwiches, as well as bread, bagels, smoked fish, and cream cheese.

Props also go to the immigrants who introduced pastrami sandwiches, Jamaican beef patties, sushi, and Chinese take-out, that are as common now as hamburgers and fries.

Street carts and schoolyard vendors: provide quick meals on the go like hot dogs and pretzels.

The Pizza: Genaro Lombardi {Lombardi's} gets the title "Founding Father of New York Pizza" but Patsy Lancieri {Patsy's} gets the credit for selling pizza not just by the pie, but by the slice, turning it from a sit-down meal to lunch on the run.

Take note of the "Pizza Principle" and tell me if you agree.

This wall of metal lunch boxes was pure nostalgia! It's all about school lunches and sandwiches made from Wonder Bread and peanut butter. 

Soda Fountains: they started just by serving soda, but evolved to adding light meals and ice cream concoctions to their menu. It's tiny, but on the top of this photo are a few "luncheonette slang/jargon" {ex. "axle grease" = butter; "put a stretch on it" = sandwich to go}. Fascinating stuff! 

Since all of us have lunch at some point in our day, this exhibit is very relatable and friendly for both young and old. You might even catch yourself saying, "So that's how it all began!"

June 22, 2012 to February 17, 2013
New York Public Library
Stephen A. Schwarzman Building/Gottesman Exhibition Hall


  1. i was in new york but all i got to see was the outside of the library. next time!


  2. Thanks for visiting Rachael! I know, there's so much to see and do in New York :)


Your comments are very much appreciated!