I was not at all surprised to find lots of information about tea in New York, and I especially had fun discovering a few of the more obscure things about the Empire State!
• Tea Island on Lake George, New York, is a historic resort area that once had a tea house on it. According to the 1868 book "Lake George" by B. F. DeCosta, "Two miles down the lake, on the west side, close to the shore, is the first island which we pass. It is called Tea Island, and is a perfect gem. In 1828 a 'Tea-house' was kept there to accommodate visitors, which fact accounts for its present name." And you can still visit Tea Island today! Click here if you'd like to see its modern incarnation.
• Some "society women" of a hundred years ago poured tea in New York City for the "motor men of Street Railway." This is one of those wonderful old Library of Congress images that raises more questions than it answers. Its title is simply what the photo reads up top, "Society women pouring tea for motormen of Street Railway." The photo, which is from around 1908, is part of the George Grantham Bain Collection. Who was Bain? He was a New York City photographer known as "the father of foreign photographic news." I can't help wondering whether Bain took this photo himself (those two men at right and that "society woman" closest to them look a bit, um, unimpressed, shall we say). "Motor man" appears to be a term for those who conducted trains and trolleys. So that's helpful, I guess, but why were the "society women" pouring tea for them? Motormen Appreciation Week, maybe? And did you notice the little candlestick lamps/lights on the table? Interesting. And isn't it funny that a century may pass, but we still need the basics of white tablecloths and stacks of plates and cups and a nice, big tea urn!
• New York City is home of the Russian Tea Room, which is perhaps one of the most legendary tea rooms in the country.
Go here if you'd like to see more photos and their Afternoon Tea offerings.)