Celebrating Poetry and Lunch New York City Style

Tutor.com’s headquarters have been in New York City for more than a decade. Our original offices gave us breathtaking views of the Brooklyn Bridge. And now we walkacross the street to be greeted by the New York Public Library’s (NYPL) iconic lions.  Not too shabby.  We were lucky enough to enjoy two unique and very different cultural experiences in our old stomping grounds and new neighborhood this month. We celebrated poetry with a walk across the Brooklyn Bridge and celebrated lunch at the NYPL.  One event had Bill Murrary, the other had automats. Check out the details below!

Poetry Walk: an annual fundraiser hosted by Poets House. On Monday, June 11th, Poets House hosted its 17th Annual Poetry Walk Across the Brooklyn Bridge and celebrated their 25th anniversary. Tutor.com’s CEO George Cigale is on the Board of Directors and invites several employees to accompany him on this cultural walk each year.

The weather was windy and chilly for a June night, but the walk and the poems kept us feeling warm. Kicking off in Manhattan, poems were read prior to the Brooklyn Bridge, at the first and second arch, and then the final poem was read overlooking the bridge in Brooklyn. For all 17 years the final reading of Whitman’s “Crossing Brooklyn Ferry” has been done beautifully by Galway Kinnell, and this year he was honored Mr. Galway was honored with the Poets House’s Elizabeth Kray Award.

The walk was followed with a dinner and reception at Bubby’s Brooklyn restaurant. While the attendees settled into their seats, started digging into their meals and made friends with others at their table, everyone’s attention soon turned back to poetry. The night continued on with readings from Marie Howe, Thomas Lux, Sharon Ods and Tracy K. Smith. The special guest of the night, Bill Murray, cracked a joke before reading some more poems. The night then drew to a close with a video discussing the inspiring history of Poets House. We want to thank all of the staff members from Poets House that worked to put together such a great event! Check out this great article on the whole evening from the Wall Street Journal.

Lunch Hour: 2012 exhibition at New York Public Library. On June 21 the New York Public Library launched its 2012 exhibition detailing the history of lunch in New York City. The exhibit runs through February 17, 2013.

Did you ever stop to think about the history of lunch? No, we hadn’t either. But New York Public Library’s new exhibit makes you wonder why you hadn’t. From Horn & Hardart’s automats to the history of the power lunch, there was a wealth of information on the meal that keeps you going in the middle of the day. Some of our favorite takeaways were:

  • Dinner was originally served in the middle of the day and lunch was a small snack between that and breakfast. Initially, a lunch was defined as much food as one hand can hold.
  • Oysters were sold in carts on the street and were just 6 cents for “all you can eat” in the 1820s.
  • Thomas Downing, a free African American man raised in Virginia, ran the most famous oyster cellar in NYC. Once he shipped some of his oysters to Queen Victoria in London and she was so pleased she sent him a gold watch as a thank-you.
  • In 1900 peanut butter was considered an elegant treat to serve at teatime or an evening reception. Unlike most fancy foods, however, peanut butter was cheap, just 20 cents per pound and it appeared just as often on economical menus as it did in upper-class meals.
  • Hot dogs were named so because “hot” was a term for something good and “dogs” because they weren’t quite sure what was inside of them. When they first debuted mothers often forbad their children to have a taste.
  • Since 1960, the cost of a subway ride and a slice of pizza has been nearly the same.
  • There was a group of people at the 1939 NY World’s Fair called the “Exalted Order of Hot Dog Fananciers” who wanted to make the hot dog a meal, not just a frowned upon snack.
  • In 1917 21% of NYC School children were estimated to be underfed. In 2011-2012, 20.7% of NYC School children, K-8th grade, are obese.
  • Some popular slang terms for food in the 1940s included: axle grease for butter, belly wash for soup, dress one pig for a ham sandwich, and graveyard stew for milk toast.
  • New York Public Library has one of the largest menu collections in the world. You can help them transcribe the menus at menus.nypl.org.

Stop by the exhibit to find out plenty of more interesting historical facts about lunch! Just have something to eat before you head over.



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