By Marivir R. Montebon
Have yourself an appetizing treat when in the Big Apple between now until the 17th of February. It is a must to visit the New York Public Library, Main Building at the heart of the city on 5th Avenue for the exhibit Lunch Hour NYC, an evolution of the lunch meal in the city that never sleeps.
The exhibit presents lunch from the colonial influence of rural England, until the time of industrialization in the 19th century, when power lunch was created to fill the hungry stomachs of industrial workers and relentless power brokers.
It used to be that lunch meant to be a snack, eaten anytime during the day or night. At the height of the industrial revolution, lunch took place in a fixed time for midday meal for workers, which was about 30 minutes or less, between noon and two o’clock in the afternoon.
New York’s economy was characterized by speed and efficiency during these days. Thus was born “quick lunch” for workers and businessmen who had to make sure that their lunches were served fast by restaurants who specialized in it.
Interestingly, the first women’s power lunch took place at the prestigious Delmonico’s. This was ushered in by the gutsy Jane Cunningham Croly, an experienced editor and widely published journalist. She applied for a ticket to the New York Press Club dinner honoring Charles Dickens in March 1868 which of course had been seen by the Press Club leadership as a joke, “for a woman could never attend such a prestigious event.”
Croly founded the first organization in America dedicated to raising women’s status, a month later.
“The club, Sorosis, met for lunch at Delmonico’s, a venue chosen precisely because, like the city’s other leading restaurants, it did not serve women unless they were escorted by men. Sitting down to lunch at Delmonico’s was the club’s first victory,” the exhibit noted.
New York’s charitable meals, lunch at home, the automat, and the iconic meals are as appetizing. Check it out and be filled with these historical lunches.