Feasting at the street booths on July 4th in 19th century New York City

A post that appeared for the first time in this space on the 4th of July in 2022. We have all been here before, unless we haven’t. Happy Independence Day from everyone at Food & Dining Magazine.

As Archie Bunker once crooned, “those were the days.”

Before microwave ovens, food trucks and UPS-airlifted fish; before Lite beer, ABC permits and uniform drinking ages; and before Viagra, penicillin and Rolaids — before a great many aspects of modernity as we regard it today, although not before the “chaos and destruction of bonfires, fire-crackers, guns, pistols, rockets, Roman candles, fire-balloons, and every other possible contrivance for making a blaze and a noise,” if you wanted to celebrate the nation’s birthday with food and drink, there were collections of booths out in the street, these being the pretext for revelry far exceeding the scale of college football tailgating parties, and if any further proof is needed that these 4th of July booths comprised a cherished institution for the enjoyment of the common man, they also inspired an “anti-booth”...Read more