“I’ll Have What She’s Having”: The Jewish Deli

“I’ll Have What She’s Having”: The Jewish Deli is on view at New-York Historical Society from November 11 through April 2, 2023.

By Elazar Abrahams

New-York Historical Society’s new exhibit about Jewish Delis and the greatest city in the world is the most fun I’ve had at a museum in a while. The tastefully focused walkthrough is a celebration of nosh and kibitz culture and clearly curated with a lot of love for the subject matter.

Classic foods such as a bagel and schmear, matzo ball soup, and pastrami on rye are displayed like historical objects, with nameplates and descriptions. Of course, they are really there to bring focus to NYC’s rich history of Jewish immigration, and the big apple’s status as the epitome of the great American melting pot. Classic diner uniforms are showcased, as well as models and memorabilia from iconic delis like Katz’s (who actually catered the media breakfast for journalists previewing the space) and 2nd Avenue Deli. The end of the exhibit touches on the impact of delis in pop culture. A TV plays relevant Curb Your Enthusiasm scenes and costumes from The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel are on display.

The Jewish Deli is great for adults interested in the subject matter but is also very kid-friendly. There’s a family activity guide booklet to pick up at the entrance, and several interactive elements, like a design your own celebrity sandwich screen, will keep anyone engaged.

NYHS is often overshadowed by the Museum of Natural History which is just down the block, but next time you’re on the Upper West Side, make time for this hidden gem, which is the oldest museum in the city.

Find out more, and grab your tickets HERE.