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Uniquely New York City (NYC)


New York City (NYC)
Beefsteak Party

Beefsteak Party
Photo Credit: BrooklynBeefsteak.com
The last Beefsteak Party was held in Brooklyn— on Sunday, June 14th, 2015.
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The Beefsteak (Beefsteak Party or Beefsteak Banquet) is an exercise in gluttony. The main edible is beef, but the partygoers also gorge on lamb chops, bacon-wrapped lamb kidneys and possibly seafood of various sorts, all washed down with copious amounts of beer. It’s all you can eat for a modest price; men only; no utensils of any kind; maybe some bread; not your best suit because it will accumulate greasy food stains; held typically in a saloon; sometimes crates instead of tables and chairs. In the ‘fancier’ parties, napkins will be provided. Otherwise you wipe your hands on an apron.

The Beefsteak’s origins date back to the late 18th century in New York (Manhattan) and Brooklyn to promote a political party or person or to celebrate a personal event. The Beefsteak reached its greatest popularity and frequency in the late 19th century into the early 20th. Prohibition, when beer was “prohibited,” diminished its popularity.

The Beefsteak has spread to Long Island and northern New Jersey. While fewer in number now, some are still held and have retained their gusto. As in the past, most will offer musical entertainment, jokes and testimonials. The party is typically raucous.

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An unpublished paper by William E. Wander of Bay Ridge, Brooklyn