Changing Tastes

The main observation deck at the Empire State isn’t the very top, the 102nd floor. That’s a basically a drum with windows. The main observation deck is the 86th floor, where there’s an outdoor terrace and indoor space. The last time I was there – admittedly, some years ago – there was a souvenir stand and some nosh for sale. Certainly not a tea room. Here’s the menu:

A few items jump out at me. First, the tourist destination is maintaining a neutral attitude towards the question of Coke versus Pepsi. Second, ginger ale is a soda while cola is an iced drink. “White Rock” is a brand, so I’m not sure what type of soda that’s meant to be…possibly seltzer. Or maybe ginger ale and, like cola, people’s brand preferences were being catered to. You wouldn’t see tongue and liverwurst on a similar menu these days. And while I might eat a peanut butter sandwich, that seems a bit odd.

The biggest change is the rubber stamp announcing beer. The observation deck open on May 2, 1931. This menu is from 1933, and the 21st amendment, repealing Prohibition, was ratified on December 5, 1933. So it would appear that this menu was printed earlier and rather abruptly modified. Taking the elevator up to the observatory is thirsty work.

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