Thursday, Nov. 25, 2010


The New Yorker formally called them New York State dinners in 1939. What started probably in the early 19th century was a tradition of bowling and fishing clubs, political machines, lodges and labor unions to cook giant pieces of meat and eat them in social settings — to the exclusion of women. The meat was sometimes sneaked from slaughterhouses along the East River into the local saloons where these groups held their meetings. By 1920, Suffragists had called enough attention to the slight to make the beefsteak bashes a two-gender affair. The events slowly disappeared from the New York scene, but have recently been revived in hipster enclaves in Brooklyn and parts of New Jersey as a nod to the old days when massive amounts of meat meant a grand ol' time.