Archive for the FOOD & DRINK CULTURE Category

This Weekend: Don’t Miss the Koney Island Krampus Krawl

Posted in BROOKLYN, Christmas, Coney Island, FOOD & DRINK CULTURE, PLUGS, SOCIAL EVENTS with tags , on December 5, 2016 by travsd


Hearken All Ye New York Scots, It’s St. Andrews Tomorrow and This is The Only Place to Spend It

Posted in FOOD & DRINK CULTURE, HOLIDAYS/ FESTIVALS/ MEMORIALS/ PARADES, PLUGS, SOCIAL EVENTS, St. Andrews Day/ Tartan Day with tags , , on November 29, 2016 by travsd


Yesterday’s W.C. Fields History Walk

Posted in Broadway, Comedians, Comedy, EXHIBITIONS & LECTURES, FOOD & DRINK CULTURE, Jugglers, Vaudeville etc., W.C. Fields with tags , , , , on November 20, 2016 by travsd

It was a lovely day in NYC for yesterday’s W.C. Fields History Walk, led by Kevin Fitzpatrick, which focused on the places where W.C. Fields lived, worked and recreated in the Broadway district. It’s all part of Fields Fest, our two-month celebration of Fields’ life and career. Here are some of the places we stopped.


Trav S.D. and Kevin Fitzpatrick, prior to starting the tour in Shubert Alley.


Fitzpatrick educates the throngs about the Great Man.


This building was formerly the Hotel Markwell, the last place where Fields lived with his wife Harriet and infant son Claude in 1905 before the pressures of show business finally drove a wedge through the marriage. Today it is an assisted living facility.


The Palace Theatre, the flagship of bigtime vaudeville, then and now. Fields appeared here on a bill with Sarah Bernhart in 1913 when he was still a juggler.

fe882de16fa4db322b38c0a40c65bb1e images

The New Amsterdam Theatre, home to the Ziegfeld Follies, then and now. Fields appeared in the 1915, 1916, 1917, 1918, 1920, 1921 and 1925 editions of the Follies, as well as the 1919 edition of Ziegfeld’s Midnight Frolic and the 1920 edition of Ziegfeld’s Nine O’Clock Revue. Learn more about these and Fields’ other Broadway shows here. 


The uptown facade of the Lyric Theatre, currently comprising the former Lyric and Apollo Theatres. The Apollo was the site of Fields’s smash hit show Poppy. 


Formerly the Astor Hotel, where showfolk like Fields bent an elbow after the show.


The Globe Theatre (now called the LuntFontanne), where Fields appeared in George White’s Scandals of 1922.


Hammerstein’s Theatre, site of Fields’ last Broadway show Ballyhoo (1930). Today it is the Ed Sullivan Theatre, where The Late Show with Stephen Colbert is produced. If Fields had lived just two years longer, Sullivan could have presented him on his television show.


This was just a cool stop along the way. I must have walked by here a thousand times without ever noticing it. Israel Miller was shoemaker to the stars at the turn of the last century. In 1929 a contest was held in which participants voted on the four most beloved American actresses. Statues of the winners (Ethel Barrymore, Marilyn Miller, Mary Pickford and Rosa Ponselle) were created by Alexander Stirling Calder (father of the better known modernist sculptor) and installed in the building’s facade.


The tour stopped at Flute Midtown, site of Texas Guinan’s Speakeasy and former home of Wit’s End, where your correspondent rewarded himself with the house’s signature champagne cocktail, which is infused with ginger and known as the “Intime” in honor of Guinan’s club. It’s a tough job, but someone’s gotta do it! And anyway, we said a toast to W.C. Fields! For information about upcoming Fields Fest events go here.

Look for more on this tour in coming weeks on the Classic Movies and More web show, hosted by Rob Medaska. 

Charles Feltman: Inventor of the Hot Dog

Posted in Amusement Parks, Coney Island, FOOD & DRINK CULTURE with tags , , , , on November 8, 2016 by travsd


Today is the birthday of Charles Feltman (1841-1910), Coney Island entrepreneur, restaurateur, inventor of the hot dog. To be much more accurate (as few seldom are) he is the inventor of the hot dog roll. His was the idea of placing the sausages of his native Frankfurt on long buns so you could eat them while walking around. The concept is so fundamental to us now we can’t imagine a world in which they didn’t exist.

Feltman made a fortune on his invention. Then one of his employees, Nathan Handwerker made a fortune of his own by selling a cheaper hot dog and calling it Nathan’s. Hard to tell which is the more American story!

The Feltman’s brand was revived a few months ago. Their web site is here.

Earlier this year, I was strolling around Green-wood Cemetery and came upon this, and that is the genesis of this post:


The Green Fairy Spreads Its Wings Tonight

Posted in FOOD & DRINK CULTURE, PLUGS, SOCIAL EVENTS with tags , , , , on October 6, 2016 by travsd


Famous Nathan

Posted in Amusement Parks, BROOKLYN, Coney Island, CRITICISM/ REVIEWS, FOOD & DRINK CULTURE, Jews/ Show Biz, Movies with tags , , , , , , on January 17, 2016 by travsd


We were in a doc-watching mood the other night, yet not in the mood for anything too time-consuming or heavy. Thus, much in the same way as when you’re looking for something for something better than a candy bar, but not a seven course meal, you might choose to eat a hot dog…we chose Famous Nathan (2014). And ya know what? It turned out to be better than a hot dog! Even a Nathan’s hot dog!

Okay enough with the hot dog metaphors. We’ll leave that to y’all Freudians. Famous Nathan is of course a documentary about Nathan Handwerker, the entrepreneurial force behind Nathan’s Famous hot dogs, who came to the U.S. as an immigrant from Eastern Europe, began working for Coney Island’s original hot dog man Charles Feltman, then struck out with an innovation of his own: the nickel weenie. He established Nathan’s in 1916 — a century ago — and it is still going strong. (Stronger than ever. Nathan’s was sold in 1987, and now there are hundreds of restaurants bearing the name all over the world).

But for the first 71 years it was strictly a family operation, run by Nathan himself until the mid 1960s, and then by his son Murray, who oversaw the first expansion. The film Famous Nathan is by Nathan’s grandson Lloyd Handwerker, who had access to amazing material: audio interviews with Nathan himself about the early years; lots of black and white film footage from the classic era, including film interviews from the early 1960s; video interviews with the key remaining players shot in 1984; and some more recent interviews. Edited together with still photos and other material, it becomes a wonderful, textured Coney Island cole slaw depicting a time, a place and a culture. You meet lots of hilarious Handwerkers, occasionally backstabbing, occasionally admiring, occasionally at each others throats. (And occasionally in their house coats). You learn about the great LSD-in-the-mustard scare of the late 1960s. And above all you encounter a WORK ETHIC that scarcely exists in this country anymore. Nathan, a peasant from what is now Poland, built his empire nickel by nickel. He instilled in all his workers (including his family) an almost maniacal standard of speed and service — one I’d frequently love to impose upon contemporary servers with a cattle prod.

But what is the main takeaway from this movie? I’ve found that watching it makes you very, very hungry.

Coney Island 2016: Pizza Hut Express Signs Lease on Coney Island’s Surf Ave

Posted in Amusement Parks, BROOKLYN, Coney Island, FOOD & DRINK CULTURE with tags , on January 11, 2016 by travsd

Source: Coney Island 20

16: Pizza Hut Express Signs Lease on Coney Island’s Surf Ave

As always Amusing the Zillion has the latest scoop on Coney!

%d bloggers like this: