Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Child's Restaurant

Childs Restaurant, Coney Island Boardwalk. One of my favorite old New York City buildings. I'm posting these photos today because Tugster Will did a post entitled Stone Ships , which showed a range of nautically-themed architectural ornamention, closing by asking for readers' favorite stone ships. Well, there's a lovely galley on one of those medallions on the front. The day I took these, I rather liked the way it looked like Neptune was holding off that pigeon with his trident, so I did not actually have a picture of that galley here at home - but I'd found one to link to in my comment over there.

I love the decorations on this building so much, I just had to put them up again. It's funny, too - it's landmarked, but no one's found a use for it yet, and it's down past the busier part of the boardwalk - but it's generally the far end of my walks on the boardwalk, because I enjoy looking at it so much.

BTW, I'd actually recommend clicking on these pictures to see the full-sized original versions - you'll get a better idea of just how rich the detail is that way. I'm so glad this building got landmarked.

Excerpt from a New York Times article by Diane Caldwell posted at Wired New York:

Childs, which started in Lower Manhattan, grew to become one of the largest restaurant chains in the country and pioneered the self-service cafeteria.

The restaurants were outfitted with white-tiled walls and floors and white marble countertops, and the employees dressed in starched white uniforms to convey a sense of cleanliness, the designation report said. A Childs menu from 1900 featured wheat cakes with maple syrup for 10 cents, creamed oyster on toast for 15 cents and roast beef hash with mashed potatoes for 20 cents.

The chain ran into some financial trouble in 1927 when William Childs began serving only vegetarian meals, but the meatless policy was eventually reversed.

A kind of early take on fast-food restaurants, they became icons of elegance and quality at reasonable prices, and Childs was awarded the food service contract for the 1939 World's Fair (more than 16 million hot dogs sold).

The rest of the article can be read here.

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