Fashionable women at a Chop Suey restaurant

Edward Hopper’s 1929 painting Chop Suey is a reminder of a much older New York, when this dish was advertised in neon outside Chinese restaurants around the city.

“These fashionable women are dining at a modest Chinese restaurant not unlike one the Hoppers frequented,” writes the National Gallery of Art.

“Characteristically, Hopper depicts a moment before or after the main event—here, the meal—takes place. Also typical is the isolation and ambiguous relationship between the figures: it is not clear whether the dining companions are even looking at or conversing with one another.”

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7 Responses to “Fashionable women at a Chop Suey restaurant”

  1. Jim Says:

    “All I ever wanted to do was paint sunlight on a wall….” – Edward Hopper

  2. wildnewyork Says:

    Great and appropriate quote

  3. Bob_in_MA Says:

    I’ve seen several references to chop suey places as dicey places. In the article from the NY Tribune (link below) there is a line “This owner of assignation houses, chop suey ‘joints’ and poolrooms”…
    (Poolrooms at that time usually refer to illegal gambling parlors, often times they didn’t even have pool tables. 😉

    http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83030214/1903-10-25/ed-1/seq-2/;words=chop+suey?date1=10%2F26%2F1900&date2=12%2F31%2F1903&searchType=advanced&lccn=&proxdistance=10&state=New+York&rows=20&ortext=&proxtext=&phrasetext=chop+suey&andtext=&dateFilterType=range&page=2&index=2

    In “City of Eros”, Timothy Gilfoyle quotes someone as saying that prostitutes in the upstairs “chop suey parlor indulged in various forms of lovemaking …in the semi-privacy of booths.”

    The footnote isn’t clear, but I think that’s from the Committee of Fourteen, ca. 1914.

    That’s a great book if you haven’t read it. As is his other one on NY, “A Pickpocket’s Tale”.

    One other thing, I came across a map with S. Greenfield. It’s a topographical map from 1898. It also illustrates how sparse the buildings were in that area.

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