The New York Public Library has, among other treasures, a great collection of menus. These have become part of the impetus for a new online and in-person exhibit, “Lunch Hour NYC.” The Automat is there, as is the power lunch. The breadline too. The “iconic foods” section includes hot dogs, naturally, and pretzels, a penny a piece sold by this pretzel woman in this great image from by a NYTimes photographer in 1923 (a short story captured in a single frame).
Predictably, but possibly accurately, the exhibit asserts that New York not only perfected lunch, but invented it!
Nice piece on the exhibit by Alexandra Lange at Design Observer as well, with her photo of a wall of 1970’s lunch boxes. I remember them well.