New Year’s Day dinner on the Bowery

Fried rabbit on toast, canned Oyster Bay asparagus, hot mince and pumpkin pie—these and other delicacies were on the menu at M.F. Lyons’ Dining Rooms on the Bowery for New Year’s Day dinner in 1906.

And yep, those prices are in cents. I wonder what kind of residents showed up for this meal.

“Mike” Lyons’ restaurant has an interesting history. It was the sight of dinners featuring corrupt Tammany Hall politicians such as “Little Tim” Sullivan. 

Opened in 1872, it met its end in 1907, long after the Bowery’s heyday as an entertainment district.

“From 1,200 to 2,000 people were fed every night,’ a 1907 New York Times article reported. “At 3 in the morning there was a man back of every chair waiting to grab it, on special occasions, and the police patronage which had always been considerable increased.

“There was one class of patrons who continued faithful to the Lyons standard. This was the Lyons food line, composed exclusively of women, who at 5 in the morning were at the doors now closed with baskets,” the article continued.

“The left-over food was given to them without question or discrimination. These will mourn the passing of Lyon’s.”

The menu comes from the New York Public Library’s menu collection.

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6 Responses to “New Year’s Day dinner on the Bowery”

  1. Sean Says:

    Are you sure it is “Little Tim” and not “Big Tim” who ate there?

    Big Tim was more famous and powerful. Kenmare St was named after his mother’s hometown in Ireland and he was the father of the Sullivan Law that prohibited handguns in NY. He also made Columbus Day a holiday.

    “E.g. Sullivan, by the way, was a Tammany Hall luminary around the turn of the century—the 19th to 20th century. One of his political colleagues was “Little Tim” Sullivan. Big Tim is remembered as one of the first large-scale political bosses”

  2. wildnewyork Says:

    Yep, it’s Little Tim who ate there. A New York Times story from February 1906 ran the headline “Little Tim the Guest of His Italian Friends.” The story chronicled Alderman “Little Tim” Sullivan’s dinner with a bunch of political cronies and Italian neighborhood reps at Lyon’s restaurant. The article makes the dinner sound like a hugely corrupt lovefest, which I’m sure it was.

  3. Nabe News: December 28 - Bowery Boogie | A Lower East Side Chronicle Says:

    […] the New Year’s Day dinner menu at M.F. Lyons’ Dining Rooms on the Bowery back in 1906.  This particular restaurant often fed […]

  4. Your New Year’s Menu | drm Says:

    […] Your New Year’s Menu via […]

  5. Mike Lyons Says:

    This was my Great Grandfather’s place. Both my Grandfather and my father had always told us about this restaurant. However, I never knew any history about it.

    Thanks for this as it brings additonal history to us about our family.

    Mike Lyons
    San Antonio, TX

  6. wildnewyork Says:

    Thanks for writing in. Your great grandfather ran a legendary restaurant!

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