In the News: The city’s social history, told through its restaurants

It’s so worth reading this massive Grub Street round-up on the “social history of the city, told entirely through its restaurants” over the last century. It is packed with anecdotes from the famous and not, and makes for a super fun trip down memory lane, even if you never were able to elbow your way into Elaine’s.

The former City Hall gets a shout-out for “Where Political Power Wheeled and Dealed” in the 2000s, which Henry Meer opened in 1998 at 131 Duane. It closed in 2016. “I remember the scene a lot better than the food,” Bloomberg’s former deputy mayor Howard Wolfson tells New York magazine.

And Delmonico’s is remembered as the spot in 1905 “Where Mark Twain Threw a Rager” for his 70th birthday. From Grub Street: “The guests ultimately numbered 170, and it was a true A-plus list of literary, powerful, and just plain rich New Yorkers. On the night of the dinner, Andrew Carnegie spoke. So did William Dean Howells, the novelist and Atlantic Monthly editor routinely called “the Dean of American Letters.” President Theodore Roosevelt couldn’t make it, but he sent a message to be read.”

And then there’s the entry for “Where JFK Jr. Ordered Oatmeal Next to His Stalkers”: Bubby’s. The magazine’s restaurant critic says Kennedy popped into Walker’s as well, but he was a regular at Bubby’s and ate his last breakfast there before his plane crash in 1999. From Grub Street: “He came in on the second day that we were open,” Ron Silver told the magazine. “’I would be reading the New York Post, some sort of John-John story, and I would feel, like, hot air on my neck,’ Silver says. It was Kennedy, reading over his shoulder. Silver would tell him, ‘Dude, there’s a fucking paper right over there.’…At the restaurant, ‘there might be a stalker,’ Silver concedes. ‘I wasn’t going to throw them out just for being stalkers — I felt a responsibility to try to manage it.'”