Then and Now: What’s Become of New York’s Old Restaurants? (Gallery)

The NY-Historical Society digs in the archives to provide a look at the city's ever-changing streetscape.

  • William J. Roege, Guffanti's Restaurant, Seventh Avenue between 25th and 26th Street, New York City, ca. 1920. New-York Historical Society, Photographs of New York City and Beyond
  • William J. Roege, Lion d'Or Restaurant, West 24th Street, New York City, showing no. 57-61 West 24th Street, undated. New-York Historical Society, Photographs of New York City and Beyond
  • William J. Roege, Nassau Cafe and Restaurant, Seventh Avenue and 32nd Street, New York City, 1916. New-York Historical Society, Photographs of New York City and Beyond
  • William J. Roege, Child's Restaurant and Hong Kong Low Chinese Restaurant, 21-27 Park Row, New York City, undated. New-York Historical Society, Photographs of New York City and Beyond
  • Frank M. Ingalls, New York City: Lafayette Terrace buildings, Lafayette Street, including the Conte Restaurant at 434 Lafayette, 1907. New-York Historical Society, Photographs of New York City and Beyond
  • Eugene L. Armbruster, Bushwick: Trommer's Restaurant, Bushwick Avenue and Conway Street, undated. New-York Historical Society, Photographs of New York City and Beyond
  • William J. Roege, Stark's Restaurant, Lafayette Street and Reade Street, New York City, undated. New-York Historical Society, Photographs of New York City and Beyond
  • William J. Roege, Alt Heidelberg Restaurant and Tavern, 130-132 Third Avenue, west side, north of 14th Street, New York City, 1914. New-York Historical Society, Photographs of New York City and Beyond

Welcome to “Eating History,” a new series in which Jaya Saxena of the New-York Historical Society mines the vast archives of the museum and library in search of vintage images and ephemera that offer a look into how New Yorkers used to dine. Follow the museum @NYHistory for more.

New York City restaurants come and go, but complaining about what used to be at a given intersection is a time-honored tradition. New York has a long culinary history—from the oysters that once lined our bays, to immigrants bringing meatballs and lo mein to the tenements, to Cronuts. But the sad truth is that at some point, everyone’s favorite restaurant closes. Sometimes, it’s replaced by a newer, better one. Most of the time it’s replaced by a chain.

This was as true in 1913 as it is now, so we took a look through the New-York Historical Society’s collections at New York’s restaurants of the past, and what those intersections look like now.

Click through the gallery above to see what’s become of New York restaurant facades from the early 20th century. Be sure to sing along with Joni Mitchell—”They paved paradise to put up a parking lot!”—while you do.

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