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On the Town in New York: The Landmark History of Eating, Drinking, and Entertainments from the American Revolution to the Food Revolution
by Michael Batterberry, Ariane Batterberry
Publisher: Routledge 1998
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This delightful, vividly detailed book takes you out "on the town" in New York from the American Revolution to today's Food Revolution. Michael and Ariane Batterberry, founders of Food and Wine magazine, detail a magnificent journey through the streets of New York, exploring the customs in eating, drinking and entertainment of both high and low culture. They take you into the dives of the Tenderloin and to the elaborate banquets of the Gilded Age. Whether they are talking about a saloon or the famous Astor House, they provide the most fascinating details from New York's richly diverse culinary history. First published in 1973 when New York seemed to be a city in decline, the original edition of On the Town in New York saw very little hope in the city's culinary future. Who could have known that New York was on the brink of a Food Revolution and a total reinvention of the American dining experience? Conceived to redress that miscalculation and to celebrate the thriving growth of dining out in New York, this anniversary edition of On the Town in New York contains a new afterward that picks up where the Batterberrys left off. All of the wonderful details of the original edition remain. We still find the vivid picture of the reception for Lafayette in 1824, the interesting birth of the cafeteria, as well as the description of an 1897 costume ball that cost $350,000. Even the recipe for the Algonquin's Famous Apple Pie is here for the traditionalists. What's new is the interesting tale of how New York came to be the restaurant capital of the world at a time when no one thought it possible. The Batterberrys combine their keen sense of New York's social history with their insider's knowledge of how the food and beverage industry reconceptualized itself to take advantage of the changing social fabric following the turbulent 60s. Here we find details of how the changing role of women, the influx of new immigrant communities, and the focus on nouvelle cuisine combined in unique ways to create a thriving dining industry rich in talent and celebrity. Delicious and irresistible, this social history of New York will please anyone whose tasted the specialties of Chinatown, had a steak at Keen's or basked in the luxuries of the Rainbow Room.

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