When you read this headline, your mind likely goes to many things. Depending on your vantage point and what you enjoy, there are plenty of New York staples. If you’ve been following us over the years, you likely have learned that our mind always goes right to food. So, when we think of New York staples, its things like pizza and bagels aka the New York cuisine. It’s what brings people here, right? And, of course, it’s the water that’s different. Well, how about the deli? Also, a New York staple that produces our favorite sandwich – the bacon, egg and cheese. Yum! Now, what about a Jewish Deli? That is historically significant and something we can’t get enough of! For that, we are very excited to tell you about the new exhibit at the New-York Historical Society Museum & Library!
Organized by the Skirball Cultural Center, “I’ll Have What She’s Having”: The Jewish Deli examines how Jewish immigrants, mostly from Central and Eastern Europe, imported and adapted traditions to create a uniquely American restaurant and reveals how Jewish delicatessens became a cornerstone of American food culture.
The exhibition explores the food of immigration, the heyday of the deli in the interwar period, delis and Broadway, stories of Holocaust survivors and war refugees who worked in delis, the shifting and shrinking landscapes of delis across the country (this makes us sad), and delis in popular culture. On display are neon signs, menus, advertisements, deli workers’ uniforms, and video documentaries. The local presentation is enriched with artwork, artifacts, and photography from New-York Historical’s collection along with restaurant signs, menus and fixtures from local establishments, mouthwatering interactives, and a Bloomberg Connects audio tour. Co-curated by Skirball curators Cate Thurston and Laura Mart and Lara Rabinovitch, renowned writer, producer, and specialist in immigrant food cultures. It was coordinated at New-York Historical by Cristian Petru Panaite with Marilyn Kushner, curator and head, Department of Prints, Photographs, and Architectural Collections.
Visit the exhibit and treat yourself to a sandwich. We’ll see you in line! For more information, visit https://www.nyhistory.org/exhibitions/ill-have-what-shes-having-the-jewish-deli