Image from page 54 of "The meccas of the world; the play of modern life in New York, Paris, Vienna, Madrid and London" (1913)
Authors: Cranston, Ruth
Publisher: New York, John Lane company
Contributing Library: The Library of Congress
Digitizing Sponsor: Sloan Foundation
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is not elegant, butneither is the act, as one sees it in process at the mam-moth restaurants. Far heavier and more prolongedthan mere eating and drinking is this serious cult offood on the part of the average Manhattanite. Ithas even led to the forming of a distinct set, chris-tened by some satirical outsider: Lobster Society. Here are met the moneyed plutocrat and his ex-uberant lady friend, the mauve-waistcoated sport-ing man, the society dcclassee with her gorgeous jew-els and little air of tragedy, the expansive Hebrewand his chorus girl, the gauche out-of-town couplewith their beaming smiles and last seasons clothes:all that hazy limbo that hovers on the social boundary-line, but hovers f utilely—and that seeks to smother itsdisappointment with elaborate feasts of over-richfood. It is amazing the thousands of these people thatthere are—New York seems to breed them fasterthan any other type; and the hundreds of restaurantsthey support. Every hotel has its three or four huge 30
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IN REHEARSAL 31 dining-rooms, its Palm Garden, Dutch Grill, etc.;but, as all these were not enough, shrewd Frenchmenand Germans and Viennese have dotted the city withcafes and brauhausen and Little Hungaries, to saynothing of the alarming Egyptian and Turkish abor-tions that are the favourite erection of the Americanrestaurateur himself. The typical New York feeding-place from theoutside is a palace in terra cotta; from the inside, avast galleried room or set of rooms, upheld by roseor ochre marble pillars, carpeted with thick red rugs,furnished with bright gilt chairs and heavily da-masked, flower-laden tables— the whole interspersedand overtopped and surrounded by a jumble of foun-tains, gilt-and-onyx Sphinxes, caryatids, centaurs,bacchantes, and heaven knows what else of the super-fluous and disassociated. To reach ones table, onemust thread ones way through a maze of lions couch-ant, peacocks with spread mother o pearl tails, andopalescent dragons that turn out to be lights: pro
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