Hidden History

Forgotten Foods of New York

From bread lines to automats, milkmen to soda fountains, five senior citizens look back on the NYC culinary traditions of their youth.

Forgotten Foods of New York

Left: A pushcart fruit vendor at the Fulton fish market (Photo by Gordon Parks,  courtesy Library of Congress); Above right: Men waiting in a bread line on the Bowery (Courtesy George Grantham Bain Collection, Library of Congress).
Left: A pushcart fruit vendor at the Fulton fish market (Photo by Gordon Parks,  courtesy Library of Congress); Above right: Men waiting in a bread line on the Bowery (Courtesy George Grantham Bain Collection, Library of Congress).

In this ongoing audio project, longtime New Yorkers recall family cooking traditions, foods from home that were lost to immigration, and NYC’s bygone era of milkmen, wandering produce sellers, automats, and soda fountains. These stories celebrate the food traditions that have fallen by the wayside, as well as the elderly voices among us who keep them alive in their memories. More subtly, the series conveys the experience of aging and immigration in a city driven by relentless change.

Clockwise from top left: Hilda Baumol, Paul J. Hintersteiner, Hilda Baumol & Monte Malach, Monte Malach, Paul J. Hintersteiner & Debra Klaber, and Olga Colon. (Photos by Emon Hassan)
Clockwise from top left: Hilda Baumol, Paul J. Hintersteiner, Hilda Baumol & Monte Malach, Monte Malach, Paul J. Hintersteiner & Debra Klaber, and Olga Colon. (Photos by Emon Hassan)